Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nicaragua: Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Team Helps the Dairy Sector

A team of Farmer to Farmer volunteers traveled to Nicaragua to provide assistance to the dairy industry. Each volunteer had a separate assignment but they were in constant collaboration and took a real team approach to the issues at hand. The volunteers worked with dairy producers, extension agents from dairy cooperatives, and university faculty.The volunteers were:  Dr. Jerry Doll - Assignment in Weed Control; 
Dr. Gerald Nolte - Assignment in Animal Nutrition; and Dr. Anthony Jilek - Assignment in Animal Reproduction and Health. Please see below photos and excerpts from their trip report.

Left to Right: Jerry Nolte, Daniel (FTF field officer), and Tony Jilek talk with a producer about his forages.
Visiting a pasture in the Camoapa area. The grass is Brachiaria, an improved grass but showing a lack of nitrogen.
Jerry Doll (right) speaks with Carlos Ruiz, an agronomy professor about the quality of the grass and the weed pressure. 
Jerry Doll and Freddy Alemam, a key agronomist at UNA (an agricultural university) exchange ideas about weed management for forages in Nicaragua. Apparently, Freddy was impressed to meet Dr. Doll since he had been using his published works for years.   
A new cacao garden! The hardwood trees provide the main shade and the bananas the secondary shade. The ground cover is forage peanut, a legume, grown to capture nitrogen to feed the cacao plants.
In Nicaragua, this is advanced technology. A lot of milk still gets brought to the collection and processing plants by horseback. Farm bulk tanks are still in the future here.
On a side note - big thanks to University of Wisconsin River Falls and Wisconsin-Nicaragua Partners for donating and shipping computers to UNA.
 

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