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Mixed farming and intensification of animal production systems in Asia

C Devendra1 - 8, Jalan 9/5, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Salangor, Malaysia


Introduction
Economic importance of animals
Genesis of crop-animal systems
Animal production systems
Types of mixed farming systems
Relevance of integrated systems
Intensification of animal production systems
Priorities for research and development
References


1 Senior Associate, International Livestock Research Institute, PO Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Introduction

Mixed farming systems are the backbone of Asian agriculture (Devendra, 1983). These systems have many distinctive features including:

· diversification in the use of production resources:

· reduction in, and spread of. risk;

· small size of most farms;

· large populations of ruminants (buffalo, cattle, goats and sheep) and non-ruminants (chicken ducks and pigs);

· integration of crops and animals:

· multipurpose roles of crops and animals;

· low use of inputs and traditional systems;

· location in the three main agroecosystems (highlands, semiarid and arid tropics, and subhumid/humid tropics).

These integrated farming systems involve several subsystems including crops, animals and fish. Synergistic interactions have a greater total effect than the sum of the individual effects (Edwards et al, 1988). Ecological and economic sustainability is achieved when the natural resources of land, crops, animals and water are used to reinforce each other.

Mixed farming systems in the Asian region are varied. Farming practices have developed as a response to environmental dictates, especially temperature, rainfall, altitude, type and intensity of animal production and human intervention. Diversification of resource use spreads risk and provides stability. Farmers consciously diversify the use of the resources to produce a mix of activities that are economically rewarding. Within this broad variety of agricultural activities, opportunities are created that enable switching of practices within and between crops and animals. Diversification rather than specialization is the primary consideration.

The inclusion of animals is based on the consideration that they provide power, food, a supplementary income, insurance and a safe investment. Seldom are more than two species of ruminants reared together. Among the agroecosystems feed supplies are most abundant in the humid areas and here ruminants are valuable in converting feed to animal products that include meat, milk, fibre and power.

This paper describes the genesis of mixed crop-animal systems and their characteristics, the various types of mixed farming systems, major constraints to production in specific agroecosystems and the opportunities for research and development to increase productivity. It further discusses intensification of animal production systems and the role of ruminants and non-ruminants.

Economic importance of animals

The economic importance of animals in Asian mixed farming systems is considerable but is often underestimated. Their value increases with a shift from subsistence agriculture to market oriented economics and intensification of production. Within mixed systems the economic contribution of animals becomes ever more significant when these types of changes, including increased sustainability, occur.

The annual value of crop, livestock and forestry output in developing countries has been estimated at US $ 605 billion, to which livestock contribute 19 per cent (TAC/CGIAR, 1992). Asia accounts for 59 per cent of the total value (Table 1). The priority ecoregions of the semiarid tropics and subtropics with summer rainfall and the warm humid and sub humid tropics and subtropics contribute 43.4 per cent of total value (Table 2). In these regions about 22.5 per cent is from the warm humid and subhumid tropics and subtropics where traditional mixed farming systems predominate. These figures are certainly underestimated as they do not include the major contributions of draught power and manure.

The concentration of domestic animals varies across agroecological zones (Table 3). Small ruminants are found mainly in the rainfed lowlands and the upland areas and are especially valuable for fibre and meat, and also for transport, in the Hindu Kush and Himalayan highlands. Large ruminants are more heavily concentrated in the irrigated lowlands where their value is mainly for draught and haulage.

Table 1 Shares of crops, livestock and trees in total agricultural output (US $ billion/year) in developing regions, 1987-1889

Commodity group

Region

Total

Per cent share

Asia

SSA

LAC

WANA

Crops

222

35

74

33

364

57

Livestock

64

10

36

12

122

19

Trees

73

19

25

2

119

19

Total

20

2

10

1

33

5

Per cent share

59

10

23

8



Source: TAC/CGIAR, 1992

Table 2 Contribution (per cent) to total value of livestock output by developing regions and agroecological zones, 1988-1989

Agroecological zone

Developing region

Total for zone

Asia

SSA

WANA

LAC

Warm arid and semiarid tropics

7.8

4.2

-

2.3

14.2

Warm subhumid tropics

3.4

1.2

-

4.5

9.2

Warm humid tropics

4.7

1.0

-

4.6

10.3

Cool tropics

-

1.6

-

5.2

6.8

Warm arid and semiarid tropics (summer rain)

12.0

-

-

1.8

13.8

Warm subhumid tropics (summer rain)

4.6

-

-

0.8

5.5

Warm/cool humid subtropics (summer rain)

10.9

-

-

4.6

15.5

Cool subtropics (summer rainfall)

9.2

-

-

4.6

13.8

Cool subtropics (winter rainfall)

-

-

10.0

0.9

10.9

Total for region

52.6

8.0

10.0

29.3

100.0

Total value (US $ billion)

63398

9718

12175

35593

121424

Source: TAC/CGIAR, 1992

Table 3 Distribution of domestic livestock by ecosystem and subregion in Asia

Subregion

Agroecosystem and livestock species

Lowland irrigated

Lowland/upland rainfed

Semiarid and arid

Highlands

Buffalo/ cattle

Goat/ sheep

Non- ruminant

Buffalo/ cattle

Goat/ sheep

Non- ruminant

Buffalo/ cattle

Goat/ sheep

Non- ruminant

Buffalo/ cattle

Goat/ sheep

Non- ruminant

China

***

*

***

**

***

***

*

***

*

**

***

*

Hindu Kush

***

*

**

**

***

*

*

-

-

*

***

*

South Asia

***

*

**

**

***

**

*

***

-

*

*

*

Indochina

***

*

***

**

**

***

**

*

-

*

*

*

Southeast Asia

***

*

***

**

**

***

*

**

*

*

*

*

Source: Devendra, 1994

Genesis of crop-animal systems

Crop-animal systems have evolved and developed over many centuries. The principal determinants of the type of crop and animal systems in a particular location are the agroecological conditions (Duckham and Masefield, 1970; Spedding, 1975; Ruthenberg, 1980; Sere and Steinfeld, 1994). Climate and, to a lesser extent, soil affect natural vegetation and determine what crops can be grown. These in turn determine the feed base and its quantity, quality and distribution. The feed base, together with the disease challenge, governs the development of potential animal production systems. Feed resources provide a direct link between crops and animals and the interaction of the two largely dictates the development of such systems (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Genesis and types of animal production systems in Asia

Animal production systems

Animal production involves both non-ruminants and ruminants and a variety of systems integrated with crops. Systems vary as a function of agroecological zone and intensity of farming operations. Development of these systems has considerable potential, the benefits being associated with the complementary interactions of the subsystems, the products being additive. Two examples of such integrated systems, their economic benefits and their contribution to sustainability are pig-duck-fish-vegetable systems in Indochina, Indonesia and the Philippines; and small ruminant-tree cropping systems throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific (Devendra, 1993).

Ruminant production systems are of three main types: extensive systems; systems combining arable cropping including roadside, communal and arable grazing systems, tethering or cut and carry feeding; and systems integrated with tree cropping

These systems are unlikely to change in the for-seeable future. New systems and the returns from them would have to be demonstrably superior to present ones and supported by massive capital and other resources (Mahadevan and Devendra, 1986; Devendra, 1989). It can be predicted, however, that there will be increasing intensification and a shift from extensive systems to ones including arable cropping. These changes will be induced by population growth and because population density and land use intensity are positively correlated (Boserup, 1981). This situation is increasingly likely with the decreasing availability of arable land that will occur in many parts of Southeast Asia. The principal aim should therefore be improved feeding and nutrition to maximize the use of available feed resources, especially crop residues, low quality roughages and leguminous forages.

Types of mixed farming systems

Two broad categories of mixed farming systems can be identified:

· systems combining animals and annual cropping in which there are two further subtypes

· systems involving non-ruminants, ponds and fish
· systems involving ruminants; and

· systems combining animals and perennial cropping in which there are again two subtypes

· systems involving ruminants
· systems involving non-ruminants.

Five distinct types of mixed farming systems are found in Asia in the various agroecological zones (Table 4). The length of the growing period is indicative of the combined effects of rainfed soil moisture and temperature and is defined as the period in days during the year when rainfed available soil moisture supply is greater than half the potential evapotranspiration.

An important element of mixed farming systems, and especially the contribution of animals to viability and stability, is the use of draught in the Philippines and Thailand. Of particular significance is the fact that for farm sizes of up to 2 ha both manure and animal power were important, but the role of the latter was more significant than the former. Only 2.3 per cent of farms use mechanical power (Table 5).

Development in the past has tended to focus on lowland irrigated systems which are now overcultivated. As increased productivity is the main objective, research and development efforts in the future must shift to the lowland rainfed areas which have large numbers of animals. These areas are generally more fragile and complex so research will be more challenging and become increasingly mutidisciplinary and holistic.

Rainfed temperate and tropical highlands (MRT)

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region is an excellent example of mixed farming involving both animals and subsistence crops. Yaks are multipurpose animals for tillage, transport, milk, meat and hair. Sheep and goats provide meat, milk and fibre and some pack services. The main crops are potatoes, barley, wheat, millet and fruits. Feed conservation is essential because of the short growing period.

Table 4 Agroecological zones and mixed farming systems in Asia

Agroecological zone

Growing period (days)

Crops

Animal

Mixed farming benefits

Rainfed temperate and tropical highlands

< 110

Barley, millet, potatoes, fruits

Yak, cattle, sheep

Traction, transport, manure, reduced risk, surval

Rainfed humid and subhumid tropics (MRH)

180-365

Maize, rice, wheat, sugar cane, plantation crops

Buffalo, cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks

Traction, transport, income, manure, crop residues

Rainfed arid and semiarid tropics (MRA)

75-180

Sorghum, rice, millet, groundnuts soya beans, pigeon, pea, cotton

Camels, donkeys, cattle goats, sheep, chickens

Traction, transport, income, manure, reduced risk, survival

Irrigated humid/subhumid tropics (MIH)

180-365

As MRH

As MRH

As MRH

Irrigated arid/semiarid tropics (MIA)

75-180

As MRA

As MRA

As MRA

Source: Devendra, 1984

Table 5 Sources of farm power (per cent) on various sized farms in the Philippines and Thailand

Farm size (ha)

Total farms

Source of power

Hand

Animal draught

Mechanical

Mechanical + animal draught

< 1

896

40

55

2

3

1-2

1374

19

75

2

4

2-5

1957

14

76

2

8

> 5

1149

7

74

3

16

Total

5376

18

72

2

8

Source: adapted from FAO, 1993a

Rainfed humid/subhumid tropics (MRH)

The system includes mainly annual cereals, soya beans and vegetables, ruminants and non-ruminants. Cattle and buffalo are the most common ruminants. There are fewer sheep and goats due to higher rainfall and humidity. Pigs and chickens are common and thrive on crop by-products. In upland areas tree crops such as coconuts, oil palm and rubber are becoming common. In much of Southeast Asia the native herbage under trees enables integration of livestock, especially small ruminants, and the development of a sustainable animal production system (Devendra, 1991; 1993). Many types of small farm systems are found here and operate at variable levels of intensity.

Rainfed arid/semiarid and subtropics (MRA)

Rainfall is much lower in this zone, this being a major constraint to crop growth. The main crops are millets, sorghum and date palm. This is the natural home of small ruminants and camels which provide security and survival for very poor farmers and landless peasants. Limited crop growth is associated with reduced feed availability. In South Asia, northeast Thailand and eastern Indonesia, where this ecosystem is common, increasing human and animal population pressures have resulted in severe resource degradation. Animal production is usually more extensive than in the previous agroecological zone.

Irrigated humid/subhumid tropics (MIH)

This high rainfall area is the heartland of intensive cropping. Most swamp buffalo and, to a lesser extent, cattle are found here and are closely associated with draught and transport operations. Buffalo are worked on about 110 days per year in these areas (Chantalakhana and Banyawechewin, 1994). Farmers are generally wealthier than in other agroecosystems. Increasing labour productivity and affluence are reflected in more use of tractors for cultivation. Ducks do well in this environment and pigs and poultry thrive on the abundant crop residues. Animals and intensive crop production in this ecozone are an illustration of a successful integrated and sustainable agricultural system.

Irrigated arid/semiarid tropics and subtropics (MIA)

These areas are mainly in South Asia and animals are of secondary importance. Large and small ruminants subsist on crop residues and limited grazing. Irrigation allows increased fodder production which reduces the feed deficit and promotes dairy development especially in periurban areas.

Relevance of integrated systems

The relevance and potential importance of integrated systems is associated with the complementarily of the crop and animal subsystems resulting in increased total productivity. In this context there are eight major advantages of integrated systems:

· diverse and efficient resource use;

· reduced risk;

· better use of farm labour for higher productivity and increased income;

· improved use of space:

· efficient use of biological and chemical energy in the system and less dependence on external inputs;

· development of sustainable systems that use recycling, involve no pollution and are consistent with environmental protection;

· increased economic output; and

· development of stable farm households.

Systems combining animals and annual cropping

Three-strata forage system (Indonesia)

The three-strata forage systems (TSFS) is a way of producing and conserving the feed requirements of cattle and goats without degradation of the environment. In dryland farming areas such as eastern Indonesia and South Asia the system combines production of food crops, including maize, groundnuts, cassava and pigeon pea, with shrubs and trees to supply year round feed for stock (Nitis et al, 1990). Highlights of the system, whose concept and technology are now becoming institutionalized, are:

· increased forage production allows higher stocking rates and live weight gains (3.2 animal units equivalent to 375 kg/ha/yr in the TSFS compared to 2.1 units or 122 kg/ha/yr in the non-TSFS;

· 19 per cent more live weight gain by cattle to reach market weight 13 per cent earlier;

· farm income raised by 31 per cent (addition of goats to the system raises income further);

· soil erosion reduced by 57 per cent by introduction of forage legumes and increased soil fertility; and

· production of 1.5 m.t. of fuel wood, meeting 64 per cent of annual needs, from 2000 shrubs and 112 trees logged twice a year.

Rice-fish-duck system (Indonesia)

The success and rapid expansion of the rice-fish system in particular (and the inclusion of ducks in Indonesia) is an example of the efficiency of integrated natural resource use and its economic benefits.

Net returns from a rice-fish-duck system (Table 6) were more than double than from rice alone. Fish production, at 185 kg/ha, was also much higher than the yield from traditional systems. The ratio of the net returns on inputs per year in the rice-rice-fallow and rice-rice-fish were 115-125 per cent whereas in the (rice + fish) - (rice + fish) - fish they were 173 per cent (Yunus et al, 1992). Income from fish was able to meet 20-59 per cent of the total cost of rice production in the rice-rice-fish and (rice + fish)- fish systems.

Table 6 Returns over one year to a rice-fish-duck system and rice monoculture at Sukhamandi Experiment Station, Indonesia

System

Physical performance

Financial performance (US $)

Rice (kg)

Eggs (N°)

Fish (kg)

Costs

Output

Net returns

(Rice + fish + ducks)-(Rice + ducks + fish)-Ducks

11708

17031

185

1632.6

3692.3

2059.7

Rice-rice-fallow

11268

-

-

812.5

1762.3

949.8

Source: Suriapermana et al, 1988

Similar economic benefits in integrated fish-duck-goat systems are reported from the Philippines (Cruz and Shehadeh, 1990), Malaysia (Mukherjee et al, 1992), China (Chen, 1992), Vietnam (Le Hong Man, 1992), Thailand (Little et al, 1992) and Bangladesh (Huque, 1992).

Pig-fish integration (China)

Two types of approach have been used to develop integrated pig and fish systems. One is the use of ponds in which several species (polyculture) of fish fingerlings are raised with pigs. The other is the use of water reservoirs for pig-fish systems. In both systems the integration of pigs, fish and ducks, and even vegetables, is a very efficient and intensive system of using natural resources (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Flows through an integrated pig-fish-duck-vegetable system

An example of the first system concerns polyculture of fish stocked at 10000-20000 fingerlings/ha combined with 40-60 pigs with an average initial weight of 20 kg per hectare. Best results were obtained with 60 pigs and 20000 fish/ha to produce 1.9 m.t. fish/ha/90 days and 60 pigs with a total live weight gain of 2.2 m.t./90 days. Three cycles of 90 days produce 3.9 m.t. of fish and 6.7 m.t live weight gain of pig (Cruz and Shehadeh, 1990).

In the reservoir system several species of fish were raised with pigs and pearl grass at a number of locations in Zeijiang province. Pig manure was fermented before use or put into biogas digesters to eradicate pathogenic bacteria and parasites to prevent fish diseases (Lee and Zhen, 1990). Fish yields of 6.5-14.5 m.t./ha/yr were recorded.

Crop-animal system (Philippines)

In the rainfed lowland areas of Pangasinan in the Philippines, rice-mung bean has replaced rice-fallow. Intercropping with siratro and incorporation of the herbage as green manure from the last cutting two weeks before replanting into the soil resulted in higher yields of the succeeding crop (Table 7).

Table 7 Yields of rice and intercrops in Pangasinan, Philippines

Cropping system

Yield (m.t./ha)

Rice

Mung bean

Rice-fallow-rice

3.0

-

Rice-mung bean-rice

3.7

1.0-1.5

Rice -(mung bean + siratro)- rice

4.5

1.0-1.5

Cattle fed rice straw as the basal feed supplemented with siratro and mung beans, rice bran and urea generally had better weight gains and lowered weight loss. The technology has now been widely adopted. The benefits of this system are:

· increased yield of rice and farm income;

· 50-70 per cent reduction in dependence on and cost of organic fertilisers;

· increased forage biomass;

· increased cattle carrying capacity;

· availability of feed for cattle calving a the end of the wet season and the start of the dry season when feed deficits are a major constraint to production;

· development of all year round feeding systems; and

· increased output from animals.

Combined animal and perennial crop systems

Integrated oil palm-ruminants system (Malaysia)

The integrated tree cropping-ruminant system has not been adequately exploited in view of its considerable benefits. The potential for this system derives from an estimated area of 535 million ha (FAO, 1993b) under forests and woodland of which a high proportion is coconuts, oil palm and rubber. A study of the effects of grazing with cattle and goats compared to no grazing in young and mature oil palms showed that grazing resulted in increased yields of 2.2-5.2 m.t./ha/yr of fresh fruit bunches (Table 8). In view of the total area under oil palm and the value of fresh fruit bunches per tonne the economic advantage is substantial. Similar results are reported for integration of small ruminants with rubber or coconuts in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Table 8 Effects of mixed cattle and goat grazing on fresh fruit bunch yields (m.t./ha/yr) of oil palm in Malaysia

Year

System

Difference

Grazeda)

Ungrazed

1980

30.55

25.61

4.94

1981

17.69

15.87

1.82

1982

25.12

22.97

2.15

1983

23.45

18.29

5.16

Mean

24.20

20.29

3.51

Note:
a) Cattle only in 1980 and 1981, cattle and goats in 1982 and 1983

Source: Devendra, 1991

Crop-animal systems (Sri Lanka)

In the upland areas in central Sri Lanka crop production involves trees (coconuts and fruits), root crops and herbs in stratified layers. Livestock, mainly dairy cattle, goats and poultry, are integrated into about 20 per cent of these farms. Economic analyses for 1985-1992 for farm sizes of 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 acres show that dairying contributes most to gross profits at 31, 63 and 69 per cent for the three farm sizes. Crops were the next most important enterprise (29, 37 and 19 per cent), followed by poultry (22,0 and 9 per cent) and goats (18,0 and 3 per cent). Dairy cattle and goats gave the greatest returns among livestock. Animals made a major contribution to soil fertility through manure and biogas production (de Jong et al, 1994).

Intensification of animal production systems

Types and processes

Intensification of animal production systems in Asia differs for ruminants and non-ruminants in respect of species, breeds, scale, extent and impact.

Intensification in ruminant systems is associated with supplies of low cost roughages for which the land base must be adequate. An adequate land base can be achieved through: more intensive use of existing land such as rice bunds in lowland irrigated areas; intensification of crop/forage production systems to form a food-feed system: expansion in land area by use, for example, of lowland rainfed areas and uplands; resettlement; and reallocation of the land use patterns on existing farms. The first three of these options have varying degrees of potential. Expanding land use to include lowland rainfed areas, uplands and even the highlands is possible where there are large concentrations of animals. Increased crop production and therefore feed availability is a major way of intensifying and maximizing animal productivity.

Non-ruminants are less location specific than ruminants and have less reliance on the land base. This subsector is especially important in Southeast and East Asia where there are large capital intensive advanced industries and strong private sector participation. As much as 95.8 per cent of the total volume of pig meat produced in Asia is from China. Vietnam and Indonesia. China, Thailand and Malaysia produce 83.5 per cent of the poultry meat. This level of production is associated with fast economic growth, rapid population increase, demographic shifts (especially urbanization), improvement in socio-economic indicators and demand for animal proteins. The last is reflected in large projected demand over existing supplies. From 1987 to 2006 demand for meat is expected to increase 2- to 5-fold from a base of 31 million tonnes, there will be a 3-to 10-fold increase in demand for eggs from 9 million tonnes, and a 3- to 6-fold increase for milk from a base of 64 million tonnes (ADB, 1991).

Growth, intensification end expansion of the poultry and pig industries have been promoted mainly by market demand but also by financial and commercial forces, private sector participation and operations, access to modern technology and an ability to develop rapidly. The prerequisites for intensification are opportunities to intensify into large scale vertically integrated production, use of appropriate breeds and strains, feed quantity and quality, processing and storage facilities, good housing, disease control and assured markets both at home and abroad.

Vulnerability

Large intensive units are not without problems and are vulnerable to a number of factors. These include, inter alia, the cost of imported raw materials, tariffs, over-dependence on imported technology, breeding stock tied to franchise companies overseas, imported vaccines and regional and international competition in the export trade. The dependence on imported feeds is a particularly important constraint. The cost of feed is increasing in several countries and it is not certain how long the industry will be able to maintain its profitability in the face of this.

Some intensive systems in Asia

Intensive animal production systems in the Asian region include:

· ruminants

· buffalo and cattle dairy production (India)
· beeflots (Philippines)
· sheep fattening (Pakistan, Indonesia);

· non-ruminants

· pigs (China, Vietnam, Indonesia)
· poultry (China, Thailand, Malaysia)
· integrated pig-vegetable-duck-fish

Unlike the intensive single commodities such as beef or pig meat the last example reflects intersectoral production systems which are equally intensive. Detailed results from such systems are not yet generally available but evidence is emerging of their economic viability and sustainability (Congyi et al, 1993). The research involved comparison of conventional fish culture with an integrated crop-pig-fish system containing three subsystems of crops (barley and rapeseed cake to feed pigs and fish), fish (for food) and cultivated forage (feed for herbivorous fish). The system was tested at intensive, semi-intensive and extensive levels. The main results were:

· semi-intensive systems had the highest net profit per unit cash input;

· efficiencies of energy and nitrogen use were highest in semi-intensive systems;

· output was 2.6 times production costs;

· positive interactions in the subsystems, recycling of nutrients and economic viability of the integrated system were demonstrably sustainable;

· integrated systems were especially appropriate for resource poor small farms, efficient use of low inputs and development of sustainable agriculture.

One aspect of intensification worthy of comment concerns the use of animal germplasm for pig and poultry production. Breeds now being used are mainly if not exclusively of exotic origin but there could be more effort devoted to indigenous pig, chicken and duck breeds and to traditional systems. Native chickens are favoured locally, often command premium prices and there is an expanding market for their meat. A similar situation exists for duck meat and eggs. The Chinese experience suggests that pigs and ducks have a very important function in integrated systems in humid Southeast Asia and in the development of sustainable production systems.

The second aspect of intensive production systems is related to the implications of the GATT agreement. Opportunities to increase production for the export market will become more attractive with the removal of subsidies. Beef from Philippine feedlots, for example, will have potential markets in Hong Kong, Japan and elsewhere. Key determinants of success, however, are efficiency of the production process, an ability to keep the cost of production to a minimum, and maintenance of strict animal health and hygiene standards.

Priorities for research and development

Opportunities for research and development to overcome existing constraints are enormous and the contribution of animals can be greatly enhanced. In order to achieve this, however, a reorientation of programme focus and direction is necessary, using multidisciplinary strengths in target agroecological zones. Such programmes have the potential to demonstrate sustainable production systems, increased productivity and environmental protection.

Mixed farming systems

In general, holistic research on mixed farming systems involving crops and animals is weak and most past research in Asia has been on cropping systems. The inclusion of animals in mixed farming systems research began as recently as 10 years ago in some countries. Some progress has been made in the development of methodologies to understand the interactions between subsystems but much of the work has been sporadic and has not yet been tested on a large scale. Observations relevant to research on mixed farming systems are:

· there is a paucity of information on methodologies and results;

· there has been limited work focused on specific agroecological zones;

· there are inadequate methodologies for crop-animal systems compared to crop systems and mixed systems research is relatively new;

· non-ruminants have had less attention in integrated systems because of the priority given to ruminants by most governments;

· strong multidisciplinary efforts are a prerequisite to research and development of mixed farming systems;

· increased focus needs to be given to rainfed agroecological zones in view of the complexity of these areas and the natural resource management issues; and

· increased investments for research on mixed farming systems in priority agroecological zones will provide major benefits and contribute to development of sustainable agriculture.

Research requirements in support of crop-livestock-tree systems in Asia are suggested to be: baseline studies to quantify energy flows; simulation studies to identify possible coefficient changes in the system; field testing of possible interventions and new technologies; and "test marketing" of proposed developments on representative subpopuations within the region. It is further suggested (Timor, 1992) that such studies need to be carried out across national boundaries within ecoregions.

Better use of animal genetic resources

Better use of animal genetic resources is necessary to maximize productivity. Animal development programmes in most countries have tended to emphasize one or two sectors. Dairy production has received major attention in almost all countries mainly because of its ability to generate quick income for poor people and produce precious animal proteins. Dairy development has had varying degrees of success but is hampered by yield-reducing environmental stresses, inadequate feed production and poor nutritional management, high capital costs; limited market size, low cost of competing imports and product perishability. Investment in these programmes has been enormous but returns are essentially short term and long term viability is very doubtful. An associated inability to sustain breeding and maintenance of crossbred animals to support these programmes is a further problem.

Such massive use of resources has diverted attention from more balanced development and use of other species to increase protein production. Notable in this regard are beef cattle, swamp buffalo, goats, sheep and ducks. Implicit in this observation is that many potentially important breeds have never been adequately used and in many cases are destined for extinction. Ironically, FAO's global animal genetic data bank indicates that Asia possesses 38-84 per cent of the total number of breeds in various species (63 buffalo, 200 cattle, 147 goats, 231 sheep and 142 pigs) but it is doubtful if most of these are fully used in commercial terms. Future development of currently underutilized areas, such as the rainfed ecosystems, must involve concurrent and more effective use of many of these breeds.

Intensive utilization of feed resources

Increased intensification end efficiency in the use of feeds is most important. Feed is the principal constraint among the non-genetic factors affecting productivity. Ruminant feed resources are greatly underused. Feed availability from native and cultivated grasses and roughage by-products in Malaysia is about four times in excess of requirements (Devendra, 1982). More recent calculations for the Philippines indicate that the available feed can support six times the current ruminant population. The situation is similar throughout Indochina. Better use of available feed is hampered by low animal numbers, inadequate intensification of the production system and poor technology delivery and use.

In areas such as Mongolia where livestock are the basis of the economy and the production system is largely pastoral, increased fodder production is necessary as are corrections to problems of mineral deficiencies. Research into these and other constraints provides a major challenge for rangeland ecology and national livestock production (Falvey and Leake, 1993).

Within different ecosystems different types and quality of feed are available but the general principles of feeding and management are the same. The approach should be towards a balanced feed supply, with balanced energy/protein ratios and correction of critical deficiencies with low cost supplements.

Improved technology and use of research results

Inadequate, inappropriate and inefficient use of the available technology is a major limitation to increased animal production. Technology application at farm level is particularly weak and is related to a combination of poorly formulated development programmes that often preclude strong interdisciplinary team effort and concerted on-farm use. The use of research results therefore merits very high priority. Large scale on-farm testing is needed and will involve a major shift to participatory development. Intensification and efficient resource use will determine the extent to which traditional systems can be transformed into market oriented enterprises with their attendant benefits.

Research investment in rainfed areas

Investment in agricultural research usually produces high rates of return. The benefits from high yielding cereals is one example. Parallel evidence for animal production systems is scanty but this imbalance needs to be corrected through increased investment. Focusing research on commodities is no longer enough and it should now be expanded to crop-animal systems especially in rainfed areas. Because of the complexity of research and development in the rainfed lowlands and uplands resource management will need to be more holistic. Costs will be higher but returns for the contribution of livestock are likely to be much greater in the future.

Animal diseases

Disease reduces animal productivity and causes economic loss. Important diseases of ruminants are foot and mouth, rinderpest, haemorrhagic septicaemia and anthrax. Swine fever is the main disease of pigs and Newcastle diseases is a serious problem for poultry. Tick-borne diseases including theileriosis, anaplasmosis and babesiosis are endemically stable in indigenous Asian animals but cause loss and mortality in imported and improved stock. It is estimated that tropical theileriosis causes an annual loss of US $ 800 million in improved cattle in India.

Other infectious and non-infectious diseases also lower animal productivity. These include internal parasites such Fasciola gigantica in all ages of buffalo and cattle and Haemonchus contortus and Trichostrongylus spp. in small ruminants. Other diseases include brucellosis, contagious pneumonia and mineral deficiencies.

Animal health services account for about 80 per cent of Government support to the livestock sector and there is substantial donor aid in this field (ADB, 1993). As most endemic diseases are under workable control, the main role of governments should in vaccination and prevention of epidemic diseases such as rinderpest. Training of farmers in basic animal hygiene should also repay investment.

Institutional issues

Key institutional requirements are:

· commitment to interdisciplinary research, a systems approach and sustainable development, these being especially important for integrated research and development in specific ecosystems;

· formulation of research programmes with production and postproduction components and community based participation in response to the real needs of farmers;

· institutional and structural commitment that are programme-led and programmes that are needs-led; and

· promoting effective interinstitutional coordination and collaboration for decision making, management, dissemination of practical technical information and resolution of feedback issues.

Policy framework

Successful implementation of projects needs strong policy support. A reorientation of animal production programmes is required to deal with more complex multisectoral and multidisciplinary projects that address natural resource use and management and that provide for environmentally sustainable development. Some factors to be considered include watershed management, nutrient recycling, biodiversity, changing socio-economic conditions and attitudes, and consumer preferences.

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