Learning Event No. 3, Session 2: Blummel - Crop Improvement. ARDD2012 Rio

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Presentation by Michael Blummel at the 2012 Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) in Rio de Janiero, Learning Event No. 3, Session 2: Key Findings from Research Aimed at Enhancing the Feed Value of Crop Residues through Multi-Dimensional Crop Improvement. http://www.agricultureday.org

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Learning Event No. 3, Session 2: Blummel - Crop Improvement. ARDD2012 Rio

  1. 1. Key Findings from Research Aimed at Enhancing the Feed Value of CropResidues through Multi-Dimensional Crop ImprovementMichael Blummel, Team Leader and Animal Nutritionist, International Livestock Research Institute(ILRI)The residues of crops, such as wheat and rice straw and maize stover, are major feed resources forlivestock in developing countries. Given the widespread shortage of arable land and water, theimportance of these crop residues is likely to increase in the coming decades. The InternationalLivestock Research Institute (ILRI) has worked with partners from national and international cropimprovement programs to improve the fodder value, in terms of both quantity and quality, of cropresidues. This work has involved multidimensional crop improvement, which includes fodder traits incrop selection, breeding, and criteria for the release of new cultivars. Key cereals and legumes arecovered, and both conventional and molecular breeding techniques are employed. Further value isadded to improved crop straws and stover through interventions in fodder trading and feedprocessing done in collaboration with fodder traders and feed processors and using value chainapproaches within an innovation systems framework.The following are key findings from these collaborations:  Among existing cultivars, nutritionally significant variations exist in crop residue fodder value, which can be exploited through simple phenotyping without detriment to primary crop traits such as grain and pod yields.  Simple food/feed/fodder nutritional phenotyping techniques were established, such as Near-Infrared Spectroscopy platforms, which support whole-plant crop improvement paradigms and programs.  Fodder value can be further increased through conventional crop breeding (such as recurrent selection) and molecular crop breeding (such as QTL identification and back crossing).  In mixed crop-and-livestock agricultural production systems, the rates of adoption of new crop cultivars improved for both food and feed/fodder traits appear to better than for new cultivars improved for food traits only.  Participants in fodder value chains for straw and stover profit from superior straw and stover.  Further improvement of superior straw and stover can be achieved through options in feed processing, such as supplementation, fortification, and densification. Productivity with such processed but largely by-product-based feed systems can be four or more times greater than current levels.  Increasing current levels of production – for example, by doubling the average 3.6 kg of milk produced daily on an across-herd basis (buffalo as well as cross-bred and local cattle) in India – would have a dramatic impact on greenhouse gases, decreasing methane emissions from dairy production by more than 1 million tons per year.There are good prospects for mainstreaming such multi-dimensional crop improvement outputs.New CGIAR Research Programs (such as those on maize, rice, dryland cereals, and grain legumes)have already adopted the approach and have incorporated fodder value as priority traits.

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