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!