Advancing sustainable forage-based livestock production systems in Colombia

Researchers at the School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, led by Dr Brian Barrett, and the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine are working with collaborators at Aberystwyth University, International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the University of Antioquia to increase the use of forage-based feed resources by livestock farmers in Colombia to improve production efficiency, reduce the environmental impact of livestock farming and increase the economic returns to the farmers.

Agriculture and livestock production have historically been one of the major components of Colombian economic development and it is one of the top countries in the world in terms of greatest agricultural land expansion potential.

Agriculture is a critical source of employment in rural Colombia and is one of the sectors most affected by climate and climate change, so solutions to challenges affecting the productivity and sustainability of pastures and the livestock sector are required.

The specific objectives of this collaborative project are to:

  • develop co-designed work-flows for acquiring, processing and analysis of multi-dimensional multispectral and radar data for trial sites at CIAT headquarters
  • investigate operational functions for extraction of grass growth and quality metrics from combined airborne/spaceborne/in situ datasets and develop a framework for a forage management decision support system
  • investigate methodologies for engagement with smallholders and determine attitudes to and potential barriers of incorporation of such technologies and their outputs into practice

This research has received funding from the BBSRC, Newton–Caldas Fund, and Scottish Funding Council.

First published: 30 July 2019