Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tropical Forage Management in Nicaragua

Group of CONAGAN participants
Dr. Yoana Newman and Dr. Rocky Lemus are tropical forage production specialists that volunteered with Farmer to Farmer in Nicaragua September 14-26, 2012. Dr. Newman and Dr. Lemus worked with the National Agrarian University (UNA) at their demonstration farm in Camoapa (114 km from Managua).  Camoapa is the largest cattle producing region in Nicaragua as a result the local industry is focused in cattle raising, trading, and dairy.

Forage management is an important issue in Nicaragua because feed intake and availability are major constraints for the local dairy cattle industry especially during the dry season, which lasts from December to May. Silage and hay can be used to provide fodder during this period to maintain a diet high in nutrients for the dairy cattle. Dr. Newman and Dr. Lemus worked with both students, university staff and local producers to make silage from locally available resources. They made a one and two ton silage supply that local producers can replicate in their farms and use during the upcoming dry season.

Local youth helps make silage
Together with the National Cattleman's Association (CONAGAN) the team was able to hold both theoretical and practical trainings with producers, agricultural students and technicians on the management of improved pastures and soils. They will also be putting together a forage calendar for 2013 that will be available to participating producers in Spanish and with local contextual information.

Dr. Newman is an Assistant Professor in the Agronomy Department at the University of Florida, this is her second Farmer to Farmer trip to Nicaragua, the first was in June 2010. Dr. Lemus is an Assistant Extension/Research Professor in the Plant and Soil Science Department at Mississippi State University Extension Services. 

Group showing silage depository

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