Cereal by-products will play an increasing role in building sustainable livestock futures across the developing world, says the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The aim is to treat cereals like straw from fine grain crops such as rice, wheat and teff and stover from coarse grain plants such as maize, to release their sugars, “thereby turning these crop residues into nourishing feed for ruminant farm animals – cows, water buffaloes, goats and sheep”, said Michael Blummel, ILRI Deputy Programme Leader for Feed and Forage Development.
Blummel said the development was significant given crop residues are the major feed resources for livestock in low and middle income countries, comprising about 70% of feed. Even in specialised and commercialised urban and peri-urban dairy systems, crop residues usually contribute more than 50% of the feed resources.
According to ILRI, the ammonia fiber expansion (AFEX) technique, a second generation biofuel technology, seems to be the most promising and is being piloted in India.