All things tropical forages

Great article on improved tropical pastures by Dan Charles on NPR’s The Salt yesterday. Here’s the money quote:

According to Michael Peters, who leads CIAT’s research on tropical grazing, pastures made up of these grasses can support three times more cattle, compared to typical tropical pastures today. The animals also gain weight twice as quickly. It translates into a six-fold increase in production per acre, and a dramatic cut in greenhouse emissions.

“These grasses” are Brachiaria species, but of course there’s much more than just those in CIAT’s forages genebank. And then there’s ILRI’s forages genebank too. And a global strategy to rule them all. And a newsletter to subscribe to if you want to keep up to date.

One Reply to “All things tropical forages”

  1. Brachiaria – species from Africa of vast use in S. America – bring it on. CIAT has stuff from all over the place so benefits from the “plant introduction boost” (as does Australia). ILRI has missed the boat – mainly concentrating on African species for Africa in the mistaken hope that they are somehow `locally adapted’: big mistake (and one made by ICRAF too).
    “If there was one thing that had been clearly shown by the experience of the nineteenth century, it was the potential value of crop introductions from one country to another. By 1900 this had become almost an article of faith rather than of policy, and this activity was the main preoccupation of many of the new Departments of Agriculture‚Ķ” Masefield, G.B. (1972) A History of the Colonial Agricultural Service. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 184 pp.
    One thing the British Empire (on which the sun never set) got right: they could and did move stuff all over the place without a Treaty in sight. Cocoa in West Africa, Oil Palm in Malaya, Sisal in East Africa, Cloves in Zanzibar, and all the rest (they messed up groundnut in what is now Tanzania).

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