Use of legumes in livestock systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: cooperation platform
The use of legumes in the livestock can produce improvements in animal productivity, the biological fixation of N, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and soil carbon sequestration.
Context of the story
Despite the great distances that separate the participating countries, and together with them their climatic, edaphic, economic, social and even cultural peculiarities, we find in this project some important elements in common. One of them is that livestock is an important economic activity of the intervening countries. Also, most of them carry out the cattle raising in field grazing, and in addition in all the regions there are legumes that can improve the quality of the forage and the productivity of the herds. To this we must add the importance of investigating about producing more meat with less GHG emissions, that is, a lower amount of C equivalent/meat produced.
The use of legumes can help us produce more meat emitting less greenhouse gases?
The implemented initiative
The cooperation platform seeks to improve livestock production systems in LAC through the introduction of legumes in pastures. It is made up of Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, being coordinated by INTA (Arg). It addresses issues related to the use of forage legumes and their relationship with the biological fixation of N, the sequestration of C, the Emission of Greenhouse Gases and the impact on animal productivity.
An important part of the project is dedicated to Knowledge Management and training. Another key activity of the component is the dissemination of the progress of the knowledge generated, with methodologies and forms of expression that are available to different types of audiences.
Partnering, cooperating and sharing knowledge: the key to making livestock production in the region more efficient
The technological solution
The countries of the region, even with their wide geographic dispersion and edaphoclimatic variations, have in common that the activity of beef production is very important for their economies. Currently, it is not only important to increase the kg meat/ha, but to do it efficiently, and one of these efficiency indicators is a lower amount of C equivalents released per kg of meat produced.
All intervening countries have the possibility of using legumes as a forage resource, very different from each other, but with common characteristics, such as the ability to fix N in the atmosphere. This supply of N, in addition to being a saving of fertilizers in those countries in which this practice is carried out, is an important contribution of N for plant nutrition and to contribute to the sequestration of C from the soil, and in this way, it can mitigate the emission of gases that occurs from the soil, excreta and enteric fermentation.
An area of ??collaboration and capacity complementation is the framework that regulates this program, training human resources.
"Moderate increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration could lead to significant global warming."
A cooperation platform will be built to improve livestock production systems in Latin America and the Caribbean through the introduction of legumes in pastures. This platform will have data on: the biological fixation of N; edaphoclimatic variables; N2O and CH4 emissions from soil; enteric CH4 emissions; and the impact of the inclusion of legumes on animal production.
Technical-scientific capacities will be strengthened through the completion of theses, internships, workshops and courses.
Regarding positive environmental problems, the use of agrochemicals is expected to be reduced, GHG emissions will be reduced, carbon sequestration in the soil will be favored, and nitrogen leachate will be reduced. In turn, as social problems, higher profitability, an increase in employment in rural movements and an improvement in the family diet are estimated.