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Decision support tools

Livestock and Environment Toolbox

The Livestock and Environment Toolbox is an electronic decision support tool for policy makers, planers and project leaders, to enable them to assess interactions between livestock and the environment. It helps the decision makers to identify appropriate technology and policy interventions within the domain of animal production-environment interactions.

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Participatory land use planning

Sustaining communities, wildlife and livestock: A guide to participatory land use planning is a decision support tool designed is designed to help communities and policy-makers at local and national levels make informed choices regarding land use, business ventures, and public policy in pastoral areas, particularly the Maasai Steppe and other semi-arid parts of East Africa.

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The Livestock Development Planning System

The Livestock Development Planning System (LDPS2) is a computer based planning and training tool designed for livestock development planners. It aims at supporting decision-making in livestock development planning by helping to:

  • identify and quantify the herd/flock composition and size required to meet the given demand of meat and milk
  • identify and quantify the feed and livestock constraints in meeting demand
  • assess various livestock development programmes or projects on different scales (farm, watershed, region, country)

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Manure management options for confined pig production in rapidly growing economies

Pig production has expanded dramatically in recent years. A high pressure to environment has accompanied this increase. As major environmental impacts result from livestock excreta, special care has to be given to manure management. If there is plenty of manure management techniques available, they are often only known locally. Besides, the farmer or the decision maker most often insufficiently knows the economic, environmental and public health implications of these technical options.

To fill this gap, the LEAD Initiative is preparing a Decision Support Tool (DST) on manure management to facilitate the identification, evaluation and selection of manure management options for confined pig production in rapidly growing economies.

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Nutrient Balance Model

The Nutrient Balance calculation program developed for the AWI project is an Excel-based tool to calculate the nutrient fluxes and balance for a farm or a region. Based on data on the livestock production and manure management technique (feeding, housing and manure storage systems etc.; especially pigs and poultry), the program calculates the nutrient excretion of the livestock as well as the amount and composition of different types of manure before and after storage and compares the nutrients and heavy metal content in manure with the nutrient demand and uptake of crop production. For routine and regional applications the model can be run with default values for standard conditions (only livestock numbers and crop surfaces must be entered) established by national or regional experts. For specific calculations all the relevant parameters can be adjusted to the specific conditions.

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Fossil Fuel in Livestock Systems

Fossil Fuel in Livestock Systems is a predictive computer model to calculate direct and indirect consumption of fossil fuels for the various steps required for the production, processing, marketing and cooking of products of animal origin. The model includes separate routines for poultry (meat and eggs), swine, dairy, beef and sheep production. For each species, the entire production chain is included, the rationale being that even though the reproductive and growing phases may take place on different farms, all must be accounted for in the production system. The model can used to calculate fossil energy costs of animal products in various systems.

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Global livestock densities

The concentration of animals and the related concentration of nutrients are the core factors of water, soil and air pollution related to livestock production. Spatial analyses based on nutrient balance calculations and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), allow to screen whole continents and predict areas where pollution of land and water is probable. Specifically, the "hotspot maps" display areas location where livestock is likely to be the main contributor to nutrient overload on crop land. Livestock distribution maps are also useful to give a clear overview on the spatial trends of global livestock densities for the main species : cattle, small ruminants, pigs and poultry.

This information tool is intended for policy makers, planners, researchers and teachers, and is presented in Microsoft Powerpoint format for easy access and display. Meta data is also available.

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