Foliage from agroforestry systems as animal feed

Created by Janos Wack & Isabel Haberkorn | |   News

As part of the new agroforestry demonstration project "FuLaWi", a multidisciplinary consortium of scientists, practitioners and consultants is developing utilization concepts for foliage from agroforestry systems. The aim of the project is to provide a year-round, species-appropriate diet for small ruminants in order to improve digestibility and mineral supply as well as to reduce methane emissions.

The project with the full title "Utilization and conservation methods for forage foliage from agroforestry systems to improve nutrient supply and reduce methane emissions in small ruminants" (FuLaWi) pursues the goal of promoting sustainable animal nutrition with positive environmental and climate impacts. Agroforestry offers great potential for this due to its multifunctional positive effects on agroecosystems. It contributes to increasing biodiversity, enables adaptation to climate change, and at the same time provides active climate protection.

Practical research on farms
The FuLaWi project not only focuses on grazing in agroforestry systems, but also develops innovative harvesting and preservation methods for broadleaf forage. These processes aim to improve digestibility and mineral nutrition of livestock as well as reduce methane emissions. To meet these objectives, real agroforestry systems are established on farms in addition to laboratory and feeding trials. This approach ensures a practical development of the concepts.
The data basis for the project will be created through extensive feeding and conservation trials in the field and laboratory, as well as through the careful collection and analysis of farm and empirical data. The findings will be used for broad-based educational and public outreach.

Four partners in the network, funding by the BLE
The FuLaWi collaborative project is being carried out by four key players: the Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology Dummerstorf, Georg August University Göttingen, Lignovis Hamburg and Triebwerk from Meißner. The project will run from June 2023 to May 2026. The project is funded by the German Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) in the amount of 970,000 euros as part of the research and development project to ensure sustainable nutrition for farm animals under changing climatic conditions in Module A "Improving the environmental and climate impact of livestock farming through sustainable animal nutrition".
The Research Institute for Farm Animal Biology Dummerstorf (FBN) contributes significantly to the project implementation. Feeding trials with different poplar and pasture species will investigate digestibility, methane emission reduction potential and mineral balance. The diet composition for sheep and goats will be varied to achieve optimal results. These trials include comprehensive analyses of dry matter, energy and nutrient contents, and bulk and trace elements. Special attention is paid to pregnant and lactating animals, where calcium and selenium supply and antioxidant stress are studied. Respiratory measurements are used to determine individual methane emission and metabolic heat. 

The FuLaWi project represents an important step toward sustainable animal nutrition and agroforestry. It illustrates the opportunities for a balanced symbiosis between agriculture and climate protection.

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