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Managing grasslands for
productivity and environmental
performance in Uruguay: a public –
farmers initiative
4th Agenda MSP meeting
15 to 17 October 2013 Ottawa, Canada
Walter Oyhantcabal
Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and
Fishery
• Uruguay is a livestock and cropland country
with an economy strongly based on the
agricultural sector (70% of all exports).
• Climate change (CC) is increasing the variability of
climate and may increase frequency of extreme
events so our systems need to build resilience.
Challenges
Increase in beef demand:
Environmental impacts (FAO, 2006)
1.7-1.5% per year (FAO, 2008)
• Water consumption (8% world)
• Biodiversity
• Land use change (26% area)
FAO, 2013
• GHG emissions (14,5% global)
Increase production
?
Biomes “Campos and Pampa”
•500,000 km2
•65 million beef heads
•800 species of grasses and 200 legumes
•430,000 livestock farmers
•Diversity of landscapes:
Pajonales, Short grass, Flechillares (Arg); Basalto, Sierras del este and
Areniscas del noreste (Uy); Central Brazil and Uruguayan–southern
Brazil (Br)
Challenges and opportunities
Increase in beef demand:
1.7-1.5% per year (FAO, 2008)
Increase production
Ecological
Intensification
in
Pampa/Campos
Environmenmtal impacts (FAO, 2006)
• Water consumption (8% word)
• Biodiversity
• Land use change (26% area)
FAO (2013)
• GHG emissions (14.5% global)
Rangeland ecosystems
•C sequestration
•Less emissions intensity (per kg
beef)
•Maintain biodiversity
•Control soil erosion
Ecological intensification pathway
Only
management;
no inputs
Límite de los sistemas ganaderos basados en campo natural
Carvalho et al., 2008
BAU livestock production is very
much below the potential in
Uruguay and sustainability is
threatened
60 kg LW beef /ha
FUCREA farmers average 120 kg (using
suplementation and and sown grasses)
ANNUAL EVOLUTION OF THE AMOUNT OF FORAGE
BASELINE: OVERGRAZING, LOW NPP, LOW FORAGE SUPPLY
AUTUMN
WINTER
SPRING
SUMMER
PROJECT SCENARIO: HIGH LEAF AREA, HIGH NPP AND FORAGE SUPPLY
AUTUMN
WINTER
SPRING
SUMMER
Reasons for a dominant inefficient and
degrading mgmt of rangelands are:
•
•
•
•
Prices instability during decades.
Inflation
Animal as «bank account» for smallholders.
Low land price
• Consequence: trend to accumulate animals to
increase capital accepting a trade-off with
productivity and income.
Less
SOC
Rebuilding
SOC
Effects of grazing intensity on SOC
Soli
organic
matter
Exclusion
of grazing
Moderate
grazing
Overgrazing
Network of measurements in
Pampas/Campos
UFRGS (Carlos Nabinger)
AACREA
Faculty of Agronomy of
Uruguay
INIA project: Rangeland
restoratioin in 5 farmers
INIA Co-innovation project: 7 farmers
Monitoring already started in
Uruguay with farmers associations
PHYSICAL OUTPUT OF A PILOT FARM CHANGING GRASS
MANAGEMENT IN YEAR 4
Carga animal y producción de carne según ejercicio
1
150
130
UG/ha
0,9
120
110
0,8
100
90
80
0,7
06-07
07-08
08-09
09-10
Producción carne equiv.
10-11
11-12
Carga animal
Red bars = beef production in kg/ha
Blue line = stocking rate in LU/ha
12-13
Kg carne equiv. / ha
140
ECONOMIC OUTCOMES OF THE SAME PILOT FARM DURING 7
YEARS (US$)
Resultado económico según ejercicio
250
U$S/ha
200
150
100
50
0
06-07
07-08
08-09
09-10
10-11
11-12
Producto Bruto Green = Gross
Costos income INGRESO NETO
Light blue = Cost
Red line = Net income
12-13
Goals for a pilot sustainable proposal
• To integrate grassland and animal management
technologies at pilot scale, to obtain high animal
productivity through a more efficient use of
natural resources (ecosystem services of
rangelands) while preserving the environment.
• Evaluate the economical, social and
environmental impacts of the alternative
management compared to the baseline in order
to scale up the proposal.
Expected outcomes
• 1. Technologies successfully demonstrated,
deployed, and transferred
• 2. Enabling policy environment and
mechanisms created for technology transfer
• 3. Good management practices in Agriculture
and LULUCF adopted within grasslands
• 4. Restoration and enhancement of carbon
stocks in grasslands.
Expected outcomes
• 5. Human and institutional capacities enhanced,
including networking for better decision making.
• 6. Efficient use of natural resources
• 7. Reduced vulnerability and more resilience to
climate change impacts in the beef cattle sector.
• 8. Tools and models for MRV calibrated and
validated and preparedness to implement
already registered NAMA in agriculture (Climate
mitigation through sustainable and more
productive beef production in grasslands)
To obtain these outcomes…
• A pilot project is being prepared by MGAPFUCREA in collaboration with FAO/AGAL.
• The aim is to be one of the pilot actions
embedded in the Global Agenda of Action as it
fulfills at least two of its three areas goals:
- Close efficiency gaps in natural resources
use
- Restore value to grasslands
Criteria for selecting sites and location of sites
in the 10 million ha of rangelands (70% of the
country)
• Small and medium size
livestock farms producing
mostly on rangelands (≥
80% of the farm).
• Partially degraded land.
• Farmers working in
groups or willing to form
them.
• Prone to be involved in
knowledge management
processes.
Size and duration of the pilot project
Number of farmers: ~ 80 – 100
Hectares: ~ 50,000 – 60,000
Project duration: 10 years
Technical package / land use plan that we
envisage developing for the project
• Grassland management practices changes:
– Main one: increase forage availability, e.g. «work with
more grass».
– Measure forage availability and weight the animals
– Strategic suplementation with grains/forage in winter
• Changes in breeding and finishing practices:
improved body condition of cows at birth
early weaning of calves
mate of all heifers at 2 years
increase present low average calving rate (64 to 80%+)
decrease age of steers at slaughter to 2-3 years
Simple practices to adopt
CHAIN OF EFFECTS OF ALTERNATIVE GRASS MGMT
BASELINE: OVERGRAZING, LOW NPP, LOW LIVEWEIGHT GAINS, LOW
EFFICIENCY
AUTUMN
WINTER
SPRING
SUMMER
MGAP-FUCREA/FAO PROJECT: HIGH LEAF AREA , HIGH NPP, HIGH
SUPPLY PER HEAD, HIGH LIVEWEIGHT GAIN, HIGH EFFICIENCY
AUTUMN
WINTER
SPRING
SUMMER
Likely benefits in terms of productivity
and mitigation that we might expect.
• More productivity and higher and more stable income to
farmers (incentive to make te proposal sustainable)
• Reduced GHG emissions intensity of beef (25-30%) due
to higher productivity
• CO2 sequestration in soils (~ 1,2 ton CO2/yr).
• Benefits coming from knowledge application rather that
from more (fossil) inputs, which is enviromentally
friendly.
• More resilient agro-eco-systems to climate change.
To decrease GHG emisions intensity
• Main sources of GHG
emissions in L America
• Strategy:
– Land use change
(deforestation)
– No deforestation in
Uruguay.
– N2O emissions from
manure on the field.
– Speed animals growth
– Large breeding
overhead (breeding ~
68% of GHG)
– Better rangeland,water
and animals
management
Synergies with existing
pilots/programmes/policies
• Active participation in the GRA and in GA4SL.
• National carbon footprint studies for beef, dairy and
rice.
• Involvement of national research (INIA-University) and
technology transfer (IPA) institutions in MGAP policy
design and implementation.
• 100% of the cattle with traceability.
• Creation of the National Rangelands Board.
• Pilot project with NZ-Agresearch. Collaboration with
Agribenchmark.
• Mainstreaming of mitigation and adaptation to CC into
rural development programs and projects (WB, IDB,
Adaptation Fund)
Final message
It looks easy. It is not.
We cannot achieve it alone. We need
to build on collaborative initiatives.
GAA is a wonderful opportunity.
«We can work it out»
Thank you!