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'Grassroots action' in livestock feeding to help curb global climate change
Date:9/14/2013

ts have also just gathered evidence that a maize crop grown after Brachiaria humidicola pastures gave acceptable yields with only half the amount of nitrogen fertilizer normally used, because more nitrogen was retained in the soil, thus reducing nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching. The researchers determined that BNI had boosted nitrogen-use efficiency by a factor of 3.8.

  • In addition, scientists have developed hybrids of Brachiaria humidicola and delivered these, with support from the German government, to farmers in Colombia and Nicaragua for productivity and quality testing. Previous grass hybrids have increased milk and meat production by several orders of magnitude, compared to native savanna grasses, and by at least 30 percent, compared to commercial grass cultivars. Based on evaluation of the new hybrids and with the aid of simulation models, researchers are studying where else the hybrids can be introduced and on how large a scale.

    "Livestock production provides livelihoods for a billion people, but it also contributes about half of agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions," Peters explained. "BNI is a rare triple-win technology that's good for rural livelihoods as well as the global environment and climate. It defies the widespread notion that livestock are necessarily in the minus column of any food security and environmental calculation."

    "The problem is that today's crop and livestock systems are very 'leaky,'" said Subbarao. "About 70 percent of the 150 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer applied globally is lost through nitrate leaching and nitrous oxide emissions; the lost fertilizer has an annual estimated value of US$90 billion."

    "BNI has huge possibilities for reducing nitrogen leakage," said CIAT scientist Idupulapati Rao. "Grassland pastures are the single biggest use of agricultural landcovering 3.2 billion hectares out of a global total of 4.9 billion. In Brazil alone, 11 million hectares of
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  • Contact: Susan Tonassi
    stonassi@burnesscommunications.com
    301-280-5712
    Burness Communications
    Source:Eurekalert

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