Good practice options

Description of Good Practice

Introduction of improved barley varieties for winter fodder production

Sowing fodder for winter feeding was a completely new concept to the herders of the project area. Demonstrations were conducted successfully to grow selected oat varieties (all hulled forms of Avena sativa), for hay production, in walled sheep pens in summer. Improved storage facilities, techniques for hay production and locally managed emergency fodder stocks were also promoted. 

Strengthening the veterinary services and vet laboratory

The state veterinary service is established at grassroots level. However, due to lack of skills and insufficient township and village veterinarians, vaccination and diseases treatment is not of high quality. Lack of equipment and medication, as well as herders' unwillingness to pay for treatment, or state the correct numbers of livestock, are obstacles to ensuring healthy and resilient livestock. A group of herder technicians was trained to enhance local ownership and assist the government veterinarians in livestock health services and care. A veterinary laboratory was established and equipped. 

Herder cooperatives established and capacitated to manage local DRM planning and implementation

Herder cooperatives have been established and capacitated to take on roles and responsibilities to improve their members' livelihoods. This included awareness raising, local planning for DRM measures, replication of good practice demonstrations, coordination of community grassland management to avoid soil degradation, and especially in mediating resource utilization conflict. Other roles suggested as coordinating wholesale purchases of concentrates, the development of fodder markets, breeding programs and joint transportation. 

The construction of multi-purpose animal shelters

The construction of improved animal shelters with glass roofs have been demonstrated in the coordination with the government led four counter measures programme. The main purpose was to improve protection of small stock during winter, in particular during blizzards and extreme frost. The shelters were also used for roof water collection (for drinking water and irrigation of vegetables), and dung collection (for fertilization of hay fields). In addition the glass houses were used as green houses to
initiate vegetable production in early spring (extending the growing period). 

Resource Assessment for Pastoral Systems (RAPS) tool to analyze land and forage resources

The project introduced and tested a software system (RAPS) for Pastoral system modeling. The RAPS model primarily uses Metabolisable Energy as the forage-livestock integrator. For each land and forage unit, the main parameters incorporated in land and forage databases are: area; annual DM yield; utilization level; seasonal patterns of growth and herbage quality; herbage production variability both within and between years, and; managerial constraints affecting forage availability and timing of use. For the livestock component, estimations of forage requirements for each livestock class are based on: livestock type; herd or flock composition; profiles of live weight change (annual and seasonal); changing physiological condition, relating particularly to pregnancy and lactation; allowances for environmental conditions characteristic of the site; and managerial policies and constraints and trained staff in its use.

The RAPS methodology avoids limitations of the traditionally used techniques in Qinghai of assessing carrying capacity, and brings the methodology in line with GIS, GPS and remote sensing technologies which are also available to the project. RAPS showed great promise in the project area for grassland advisory work and risk forecasting along with the already existing practices of monitoring and decision-making. When made fully operational, RAPS can provide data on fodder availability, livestock demand, and potential winter-spring shortfall.

More information on RAPS

last updated:  Wednesday, April 27, 2011