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The use of silage has long been an integral component of temperate feeding systems worldwide, as a means to ensure year-round feed supply for high production animals. However, its use in the tropics has been restricted to isolated cases, usually involving higher-return enterprises, and particularly the dairy industry. What are the reasons for its apparent lack of application in the tropics? This electronic conference examined this question and various aspects of silage making in the tropics. In particular, it reviewed the potential for use of tropical silage for livestock production, with special reference to the smallholder situation.

The conference was structured around ten invited papers, each of which was supported by shorter poster papers (twenty-six in all) contributed by participants who were invited to present details of their experiences or results. The conference was moderated by Professor Len 't Mannetje from Wageningen University, with technical assistance from Hector Osorio, CIPAV, Colombia.

Altogether, there were some 355 subscribers from 68 countries, and the conference represented a very low cost and effective method of reaching many interested persons worldwide. The very active participation of the many subscribers is acknowledged, as it was their comments, observations and enthusiasm that contributed so much to the conference.

The contributions of Caterina Batello and Stephen Reynolds of the Grassland and Pasture Crops Group of the Crop and Grassland Service, Plant Production and Protection Division, Andrew Speedy of the Feed Resources Group of the Animal Production Service, Animal Production and Health Division, and Max Shelton, University of Queensland, towards the success of the conference, are acknowledged.

It is hoped that this publication will contribute towards and stimulate debate about the use of silage in tropical livestock production systems.

Marcio C.M. Porto
Crop and Grassland Service
Plant Production and Protection Division

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