Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

A series of Forages for the Future newsletters, outlining some of the latest tropical and subtropical forage (TSTF) research and development impacts and expertise, has been published since 2016. Amongst the research highlights were Brazilian scientists’ focus on grasses such as Urochloa, Megathyrsus maximus, Paspalum and Cenchrus purpureus, and on legumes, especially Arachis and Stylosanthes. Argentinian researchers are similarly targeting Acroceras macrum and Setaria sphacelata; while Indian and ILRI (East Africa) researchers are using plant breeding to overcome disease constraints in Napier grass (Cenchrus purpureus and associated hybrids). Also demonstrated were successfully using genetic resources of Desmanthus, Leucaena leucocephala and Macroptilium bracteatum to improve Australian livestock production in varying farming systems on heavy-textured soils.

Amongst the most innovative forage-based development outcomes featured in the newsletters were the increasing role of Mucuna pruriens in crop-livestock systems of semi-arid Zimbabwe, and the enabling role that forage grasses and legumes play in the icipe-developed “push-pull”-system to control a range of pests in African maize farming-systems.

Some common threads stand out in these impact-delivering programs: longevity and ongoing institutional support, clear end-user focus, deep understanding of species adaptation and their phenotypic diversity and, how various species and ecotypes might be used.

These are just some of the successful research-for-development programs taking place across the tropics and subtropics; they provide an opportunity for strengthening TSTF research and development into the future. One missing ingredient is opportunity for teams from national, international centres and from the private sector to meet regularly to exchange results, ideas and challenges. International conferences and similar forums are expensive and too infrequent; but online options offer new communication approaches. The IGC in Nairobi is the perfect opportunity to discuss possible new collaboration forums and, if required, how they might operate to make for a better, well-informed and innovative international TSTF network.

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Rebuilding a Tropical Forages for the Future Network – A Call for Resuscitating Enthusiasm for a Commodity with Great Prospects and Innovation Potential

A series of Forages for the Future newsletters, outlining some of the latest tropical and subtropical forage (TSTF) research and development impacts and expertise, has been published since 2016. Amongst the research highlights were Brazilian scientists’ focus on grasses such as Urochloa, Megathyrsus maximus, Paspalum and Cenchrus purpureus, and on legumes, especially Arachis and Stylosanthes. Argentinian researchers are similarly targeting Acroceras macrum and Setaria sphacelata; while Indian and ILRI (East Africa) researchers are using plant breeding to overcome disease constraints in Napier grass (Cenchrus purpureus and associated hybrids). Also demonstrated were successfully using genetic resources of Desmanthus, Leucaena leucocephala and Macroptilium bracteatum to improve Australian livestock production in varying farming systems on heavy-textured soils.

Amongst the most innovative forage-based development outcomes featured in the newsletters were the increasing role of Mucuna pruriens in crop-livestock systems of semi-arid Zimbabwe, and the enabling role that forage grasses and legumes play in the icipe-developed “push-pull”-system to control a range of pests in African maize farming-systems.

Some common threads stand out in these impact-delivering programs: longevity and ongoing institutional support, clear end-user focus, deep understanding of species adaptation and their phenotypic diversity and, how various species and ecotypes might be used.

These are just some of the successful research-for-development programs taking place across the tropics and subtropics; they provide an opportunity for strengthening TSTF research and development into the future. One missing ingredient is opportunity for teams from national, international centres and from the private sector to meet regularly to exchange results, ideas and challenges. International conferences and similar forums are expensive and too infrequent; but online options offer new communication approaches. The IGC in Nairobi is the perfect opportunity to discuss possible new collaboration forums and, if required, how they might operate to make for a better, well-informed and innovative international TSTF network.