Sustainable fodder development plan for livestock systems
Dear readers, sustainable development is a model that, contextualized to the reality of the agroecosystems of each region, could generate a positive impact for the planet in terms of the survival of the human species, since it is imperative to conserve biological diversity, reduce the impact of climate change and avoid the contamination of agricultural and livestock areas with the indiscriminate use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
In this sense, the agricultural sector plays a leading role in social development, food security and sustainable development of rural sectors; therefore, based on the theory of systems, through Agrotechnology, some productive strategies have been proposed for the livestock area of South Lake Maracaibo-Venezuela. Considering that the cultivation of pastures and fodder tends to generate the imbalance of ecosystems, mainly due to the practice of deforestation, a series of practices that could mitigate its impact on the areas destined for livestock are shown.
Below, we list a series of practices that can be implemented.
- Diversification of production units: The first purpose would be to promote the diversification of livestock farming systems, in which there is a variety of animal and plant species that can generate synergy in the agroecosystem, from the biological point of view, this model is oriented to sustainability, due to the multiple interactions that are generated producing inter-specific reactions. In addition to the environmental benefit, income can be increased by the production of other species that can be marketed.
- Implement agroforestry and grazing systems: Through this system, we seek to include forage shrubs, mainly from the leguminous family, in order to provide a greater amount of biomass of high nutritional value for livestock, in addition to other benefits they provide, such as improving the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil and providing protection against erosion, availability of timber resources, providing a microclimate to reduce the impact of high temperatures, among others.
- Gramineae and legume associations: the interaction generated in grazing areas between grass and leguminous species is of great value, since they could increase meat and milk production with an adequate management of locally available resources.
- Construction and operation of pedestals:the pedestals are formed with metallic structures, which serve as support for creeping leguminous plants, in which the consumption is facilitated to the bovine. This technology can be developed with the purpose of implementing protein banks with creeping legume species, since productions are based on a high availability of legumes and grasses, with a high nutritional value in a stable manner throughout the year, which allows supporting high animal load and productivity per hectare. The pedestals serve as support for climbing legumes, protecting the growing and rooting points that can be affected by animals.
|Planning and organization of paddock rotation systems|
In order to carry out an adequate and sustainable management of pastures, rational management practices must be adopted in which the biological cycles of both plant and animal species are respected, according to the following aspects:
- Design and process. Planning in the geographic space of the production unit through a plan and design of a grazing system, based on the potential capacity of agro-ecological conditions and investment, knowing the carrying and carrying capacity, knowing the species of pasture available for planning, identifying strengths and weaknesses to facilitate better management and use of them.
- Grazing method: ideally, systematic rotational grazing should be implemented, starting from the basis of uniformizing the size of the paddocks. It is a technical way to make more efficient use of the pasture and to organize the grazing of the herds according to their nutritional requirements, being these systems of greater control in their maintenance. It consists of dividing the paddocks into equal areas, making intensive use of the pasture, controlling the periods of occupation and rest of the pasture in each paddock, moving the animals synchronized from one paddock to another until they return to the same paddock after the pasture recovers satisfactorily.
- Support infrastructure: this infrastructure refers to adequate animal access to water sources, protein banks, forage associations, pedestals, and management facilities, which should be common to the grazing areas, in order to reduce investment costs.
- Maintenance: this maintenance basically refers to pasture and livestock protection practices, pasture fertilization, management and control of pests, diseases and weeds.
- Follow-up: to implement this monitoring, a digital registry of all the paddocks within each of the modules must be implemented. This implies keeping track of paddock utilization, established maintenance practices and agro-productive variables.
Dear readers, these are some options and management that can be implemented in tropical livestock ecosystems, but also the issue of training is central to the production processes, for this it is important to create a research center to apply technological innovation to increase and efficiency of meat and milk production considering the environmental impact, genetic improvement of herds and improvement of animal nutrition. Promoting the link between the University - State Institutions - Producers.
In this sense, research lines can be generated on agroecological planning and values, agroecological management of soils for livestock use, ecological control of insects, diseases and spontaneous vegetation, evaluation of seeds and organic fertilization.
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