Sustainable intensification of crop– livestock systems through manure management in eastern and western Africa: Lessons learned and emerging research opportunities

Bationo, A and Nandwa, S M and Kimetu, J M and Kinyangi, J M and Bado, B V and Lompo, F and Kimani, S and Kihanda, F and Koala, S (2001) Sustainable intensification of crop– livestock systems through manure management in eastern and western Africa: Lessons learned and emerging research opportunities. In: Sustainable crop–livestock production for improved livelihoods and natural resource management in West Africa, Proceedings of an International onference, 19–22 November 2001, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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In the mixed farming systems that characterise the semi-arid zones of eastern and western Africa, low rural incomes, the high cost of fertilisers, inappropriate public policies and infrastructural constraints prevent the widespread use of inorganic fertilisers. As population pressure increases and fallow cycles are shortened, such organic sources of plant nutrients as manure, crop residues and compost remain the principal sources of nutrients for soil fertility maintenance and crop production. In this paper, the effect of manure on soil productivity and ecosystem functions and services is discussed. This is followed by highlights of the management practices required to increase manure use efficiency. We end with a discussion of emerging new research opportunities in soil fertility management to enhance crop–livestock integration. Although the application of manure alone produces a significant response, it is not a complete alternative to mineral fertilisers. In most cases the use of manure is part of an internal flow of nutrients within the farm and does not add nutrients from outside the farm. Furthermore, the quantities available are inadequate to meet nutrient demand on large areas. Research highlights have shown that efficiency is enhanced by different management practices including the timing and methods of manure application, its sources and integrated nutrient management. Research opportunities include analysing and understanding the ecosystem functions and services of manure use, the establishment of fertiliser equivalency for different manure sources, the assessment of the best ratios of organic and inorganic plant nutrient combinations, the crop–livestock trade-offs required to solve conflicting demands for feed and soil conservation and the use of legumes to enhance soil fertility and for animal feed. The establishment of decision support system guides and assessment of the economic viability of manure-based technologies in farmer-focused research are presented as powerful management tools intended to maximise output while preserving the environment in the mixed farming systems of the semi-arid zones.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: Others
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cattle; Crop–livestock; Manure; Phosphate rock; Sustainable Agriculture
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 09:05
Last Modified: 28 May 2015 09:05
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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