Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Trade-offs around the use of biomass for livestock feed and soil cover in dairy farms in the Alaotra lake region of Madagascar. Special Issue: Biomass use trade-offs in cereal cropping systems: Lessons and implications from the developing world
Naudin, K. ; Bruelle, G. ; Salgado, P. ; Penot, E. ; Lubbers, M.T.M.H. ; Ridder, N. de; Giller, K.E. - \ 2015
Agricultural Systems 134 (2015). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 36 - 47.
cropping systems - conservation agriculture - physical-properties - zero-tillage - south-asia - residue - africa - maize - rice - productivity
Conservation agriculture (CA) is promoted as a promising technology to stabilize or improve crop yields in Africa and Madagascar. However, small-scale farmers face difficulties to retain soil cover, mainly because of competing uses for the biomass produced, especially to feed cattle. To explore the relation between dairy production and CA we developed an optimisation model at farm level. Our aim was to explore trade-offs between CA practices and the size of dairy cow herds. Our model includes three main components: the farm, the crops and the cattle herd. The optimisation was made on the total net income for three years. Biomass produced by cropping activities can either serve as mulch or to feed cows. We applied a constraint on the minimum soil cover % to keep at the end of each year for CA fields: from 30% to 95%. We simulated two scenarios of milk market: a small milk market with low forage price and an open milk market scenario with higher price of forage. Three prototypes of farms were simulated with different proportion and size of four kinds of field. These three prototypes were: medium-sized farm with hillsides dominating, medium-sized farm with paddy fields dominating and small-sized farm with hillsides. Changing the degree of soil cover to be retained on CA plots did not significantly modify the total net farm income. It was more strongly influenced by the characteristics of the milk market. In case of a limited milk market it was not profitable to have more than seven cows because the expenses were not compensated by animal production. When setting minimum soil cover to 30% then all of the simulated results include biomass coming from CA cropping system even with 12 cows/farm. Conversely when setting this constraint to 95%, above 6/7 cows/farm forage come only from conventional fields. In all of the situations simulated even with 6 cows, with the current and twice the price for forage, it was possible to keep at least 50% of soil cover on 30–60% of the total farm area. CA was not feasible for farms with no irrigated paddy fields or when forage fetched a high price regardless of the constraint for % of soil cover to be kept on CA fields. Overall, CA systems can be beneficial for dairy cow farmers due to the forage produced, although the milk market and thus the value of biomass for forage, has a strong influence on CA practice at field level.
Understanding the impact and adoption of conservation agriculture in Africa: a multi-scale analysis
Corbeels, M. ; Graaff, J. de; Hycenth Ndah, T. ; Penot, E. ; Baudron, F. ; Naudin, K. ; Andrieu, N. ; Chirat, G. ; Schuler, J. ; Nyagumbo, I. ; Rusinamhodzi, L. ; Traore, K. ; Mzoba, H.D. ; Adolwa, I.S. - \ 2014
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 187 (2014). - ISSN 0167-8809 - p. 155 - 170.
crop residues - soil quality - productivity - zimbabwe - maize - yield - intensification - tillage - poverty - systems
Conservation agriculture (CA) is increasingly promoted in Africa as an alternative for coping with the need to increase food production on the basis of more sustainable farming practices. Success with adopting CA on farms in Africa has been limited, despite more than two decades of research and development investments. Through analyzing past and on-going CA experiences in a set of case studies, this paper seeks to better understand the reasons for the limited adoption of CA and to assess where, when and for whom CA works best. CA is analyzed and understood within a framework that distinguishes the following scales of analysis: field, farm, village and region. CA has a potential to increase crop yields in the fields, especially under conditions of erratic rainfall and over the long-term as a result of a gradual increase of overall soil quality. The impact on farm income with the practice of CA on some fields of the farm is far less evident, and depends on the type of farm. The lack of an immediate increase in farm income with CA explains in many cases the non-adoption of CA. Smallholders have often short-term time horizons: future benefits do not adequately outweigh their immediate needs. Another key factor that explains the limited CA adoption in mixed crop-livestock farming systems is the fact that crop harvest residues are preferably used as fodder for livestock, preventing their use as soil cover. Finally, in most case studies good markets for purchase of inputs and sale of produce – a key prerequisite condition for adoption of new technologies – were lacking. The case studies show clear evidence for the need to target end users (not all farmers are potential end user of CA) and adapt CA systems to the local circumstances of the farmers, considering in particular the farmer's investment capacity in the practice of CA and the compatibility of CA with his/her production objectives and existing farming activities. The identification of situations where, when and for whom CA works will help future development agents to better target their investments with CA.
CA2AFRICA: Conservation Agriculture in Africa: Analyzing and foreseeing its impact - Comprehending its adoption
Corbeels, M. ; Schuler, J. ; Ndah, H.T. ; Uthes, S. ; Zander, P. ; Apina, T. ; Koala, S. ; Triomphe, B. ; Mourid, M. El; Traore, K. ; Nyagumbo, I. ; Mrabet, R. ; Penot, E. ; Gomez-MacPherson, H. ; Graaff, J. de; Tittonell, P.A. - \ 2011
Impact and adoption of conservation agriculture in Africa: a multi-scale and multi-stakeholder analysis
Corbeels, M. ; Apina, T. ; Koala, S. ; Schuler, J. ; Triomphe, B. ; Mourid, M. El; Traore, K. ; Nyagumbo, I. ; Mrabet, R. ; Penot, E. ; Gomez-MacPherson, H. ; Graaff, J. de; Tittonell, P.A. - \ 2011
Introduction Conservation Agriculture (CA) is increasingly promoted in Africa as an alternative for coping with the need to increase food production on the basis of more sustainable farming practices. CA is specifically seen as a way to address the problems of soil degradation resulting from agricultural practices that deplete the organic matter and nutrient content of the soil. It aims at higher crop yields and lower production costs. Yet, success with adopting CA on farms in Africa has been limited (Kassam et al., 2009). The European Commission has recently funded a collaborative project, CA2Africa (www.CA2Africa.eu), that seeks to better understand the reasons for the limited adoption of CA in Africa by analysing past and on-going CA experiences, in order to assess under which conditions and to what extent CA can strengthen the socio-economic position of smallholder farmers in Africa. A better comprehension of where, when and for whom CA works best, and how CA should be configured in different settings will enable the identification of knowledge gaps for future research, development and promotion of CA in Africa.
How cropping and farming system modelling can help the extension of conservation agriculture? Cast study in Madagascar
Naudin, K. ; Penot, E. - \ 2009
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