The increased use of grain-based feed for livestock during the last two decades has contributed, along with other factors, to a rise in grain prices that has reduced human food security. This circumstance argues for feeding more forages to livestock, particularly in the tropics where many livestock are reared on small farms. Efforts to accomplish this end, referred to as the ‘LivestockPlus’ approach, intensify in sustainable ways the management of grasses, shrubs, trees, and animals. By decoupling the human food and livestock feed systems, these efforts would increase the resilience of the global food system. Effective LivestockPlus approaches take one of two forms: (1) simple improvements such as new forage varieties and animal management practices that spread from farmer to farmer by word of mouth, or (2) complex sets of new practices that integrate forage production more closely into farms’ other agricultural activities and agro-ecologies.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Almeida, R., C. Andrade, D. Paciullo, P. Fernandes, A. Cavalcante, R. Barbosa, and C. Valle. 2013. Brazilian agroforestry systems for cattle and sheep. Tropical Grasslands Forrajes Tropicales 1: 175–183.
Artiles, E., R. Van Der Hoek, R. Lima Orozco, C. Rodriguez, S. Hoede, P. Sarria, and S. Martens. 2012. Performance of pigs fed with fresh and ensiled forage of Vigna unguiculata CIAT 4555, Lablab purpureus CIAT 22759 and Cajanus cajan. Proceedings of the XVI international silage conference, Helsinki, Finland.
Cassidy, E., P. West, J. Gerber, and J. Foley. 2013. Redefining agricultural yield: From tonnes to people nourished per hectare. Environmental Research Letters. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034015.
CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture). 2012. More chicken and pork in the pot, and money in pocket: Improving forages for monogastric animals with low-income farmers. Final project report submitted to Bundesministerium für Wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ), Cali, Colombia.
Coffey, L. 2001. Multispecies grazing. Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA). Retrieved from http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/documents/other_animals/MultispeciesGrazing.pdf.
D’Alexis, S., D. Sauvant, and M. Boval. 2013. Mixed grazing systems of sheep and cattle to improve liveweight gain: a quantitative review. Journal of Agricultural Science. doi:10.1017/S0021859613000622.
De Groote, H., B. Vanlauwe, E. Rutto, G. Odhiambo, F. Kanampiu, and Z. Khan. 2010. Economic analysis of different options in integrated pest and soil fertility management in maize systems of Western Kenya. Agricultural Economics 41: 471–482.
Fisher, M., I. Rao, M. Ayarza, C. Lascano, J. Sanz, R. Thomas, and R. Vera. 1994. Carbon storage by introduced deep-rooted grasses in the South American savannas. Nature 371: 236–238.
Fligstein, N., and D. MacAdam. 2012. A theory of fields. New York: Oxford University Press.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2009. The state of food and agriculture, 2009: Livestock in the balance. Retrieved June 3, 2014, from http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i0680e/i0680e.pdf.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2014a. The use of concentrate feeds in livestock production. Retrieved April 15, 2014, from http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/lead/toolbox/Refer/fcrpsec1.pdf.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2014b. FAOSTAT. Retrieved April 15, 2014, from http://faostat.fao.org/.
Fujisaka, S., F. Holmann, M. Peters, A. Schmidt, D. White, C. Burgos, J. Ordoñez, M. Mena, et al. 2005. Estrategias para minimizar la escasez de forrajes en zonas con sequías prolongadas en Honduras y Nicaragua. Pasturas Tropicales 27: 73–92.
Haynes, R., and P. Williams. 1993. Nutrient cycling and soil fertility in the grazed pasture ecosystem. Advances in Agronomy 49: 119–199.
Herrero, M., P. Pavlik, H. Valin, A. Notenbaert, M. Rufino, P. Thornton, M. Blummel, F. Weiss, et al. 2013. Global livestock systems: Biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110: 20888–20893.
Jackson, F., M. Varady, and D. Bartley. 2011. Managing anthelmintic resistance in goats: Can we learn lessons from sheep? Small Ruminants Research 103: 3–9.
Jank, L., S. Barrios, C. do Valle, R. Simeáo, and G. Alves. 2014. The value of improved pastures to Brazilian beef production. Crop and Pasture Science. doi:10.1071/CP13319.
Khan, Z., C. Midega, D. Amudavi, A. Hassanali, and J. Pickett. 2008a. On-farm evaluation of the “push–pull” technology for the control of stemborers and striga weed on maize in western Kenya. Field Crops Research 106: 224–233.
Khan, Z., D. Amudavi, C. Midega, J. Wanyama, and J. Pickett. 2008b. Farmers’ perceptions of a “push–pull” technology for control of cereal stemborers and Striga weed in western Kenya. Crop Protection 27: 976–987.
Khan, Z., C. Midega, J. Pittchar, J. Pickett, and T. Bruce. 2011. Push–pull technology: A conservation agriculture approach for integrated management of insect pests, weeds and soil health in Africa. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9: 162–170. doi:10.3763/ijas.2010.0558.
Khan, Z., C. Midega, J. Pittchar, A. Murage, M. Birkett, T. Bruce, and J. Pickett. 2014. Achieving food security for one million sub-Saharan African poor through push–pull innovation by 2020. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. Biological Sciences 369: 20120284. doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0284.
Lambin, E., H. Gibbs, L. Ferreira, R. Grau, P. Mayaux, P. Meyfroidt, D. Morton, T. Rudel, et al. 2013. Estimating the world’s potentially available cropland using a bottom-up approach. Global Environmental Change 23: 892–901.
Lukuyu, B., S. Franzel, P. Ongadi, and A. Duncan. 2011. Livestock feed resources: Current production and management practices in central and northern rift valley provinces of Kenya. Livestock Research for Rural Development 23.
Maass, B., M. Katunga, W. Chiuri, A. Gassner, and M. Peters. 2012. Challenges and opportunities for smallholder livestock production in post-conflict South Kivu, Eastern DR Congo. Tropical Animal Health and Production 44: 1221–1232.
Montpellier Panel. 2013. Sustainable intensification: A new paradigm for African agriculture. London: Agriculture for Impact, Imperial College.
Notenbaert, A., M. Herrero, R. Kruska, L. You, S. Wood, P. Thornton, and A. Omolo. 2009. Classifying livestock production systems for targeting agricultural research and development in a rapidly changing world. ILRI Discussion Paper No. 19 (p. 41). Nairobi, Kenya.
Peters, M., C. Lascano, R. Roothaert, and N. de Haan. 2003. Linking research on forage germplasm to farmers: The pathway to increased adoption—A CIAT, ILRI and IITA perspective. Field Crops Research 84: 179–188.
Pitesky, M., K. Stackhouse, and F. Mitloehner. 2009. Clearing the air: Livestock’s contribution to climate change. Advances in Agronomy 103: 3–40.
Rao, I., M. Peters, A. Castro, R. Schultze-Kraft, D. White, M. Fisher, J. Miles, C. Lascano, et al. 2015. Livestock Plus: Sustainable intensification of forage-based systems for improving livelihoods and enhancing ecosystem services in the tropics. Tropical Grasslands—Forrajes Tropicales (in press).
Rivas, L., and F. Holmann. 2004. Impacto de la Adopción de Híbridos de Brachiarias Resistentes al Salivazo en Colombia, México y Centroamérica. Cali: CIAT.
Settle, W., and M. Hama Garba. 2011. Sustainable crop production intensification in the Senegal and Niger River basins of francophone West Africa. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 9: 171–185.
Sumberg, J. 2002. The logic of fodder legumes in Africa. Food Policy 27: 285–300.
Thomas, D., and J. Sumberg. 1995. A review of the evaluation and use of tropical forage legumes in sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 54: 151–163.
Thornton, P.K. 2010. Livestock production: Recent trends, future prospects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B: Biological Sciences 365: 2853–2867. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0134.
Torres-Acosta, J., M. Molento, and P. Mendoza de Gives. 2012. Research and implementation of novel approaches for the control of nematode parasites in Latin America and the Caribbean: Is there sufficient incentive for a greater extension effort? Veterinary Parasitology 186: 132–142.
Trostle, R. 2008. Global agricultural supply and demand: Factors contributing to the recent increase in food commodity prices. Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. WRS-0801, Washington, DC.
Vanlauwe, B., F. Kanampiu, G. Odhiambo, H. De Groote, L. Wadhams, and Z. Khan. 2008. Integrated management of Striga hermonthica, stemborers, and declining soil fertility in western Kenya. Field Crops Research 107: 102–115.
World Bank. 1998. Rural well-being: From vision to action. In Proceedings of the fourth annual World Bank conference on environmentally sustainable development. ed. I. Serageldin and D. Steeds, 434 pp. Washington, DC.
Funds from the U.S. National Science Foundation Grant #1009499 supported this research.
About this article
Cite this article
Rudel, T.K., Paul, B., White, D. et al. LivestockPlus: Forages, sustainable intensification, and food security in the tropics. Ambio 44, 685–693 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0676-2
- Livestock plus
- Sustainable intensification