Dual-purpose crops, which produce both high grain yields and nutritionally-rich crop residues for livestock, allow combined production of food and fodder from the same land and using a similar amount of water and labour.
Such crops particularly benefit smallholders with mixed livestock-crop farming systems, addressing common problems such as poor availability of quality livestock feed and strong competition for land. Much research to improve the feed value of fodder in recent decades has emphasized post-harvest treatment of crop residues.
In contrast, ILRI and its partners have focused on crop breeding, to develop improved crop cultivars that better match farmers’ needs for both grain and nutritious residues. In India, for example, research has shown that improved sorghum residue, combined with feed fortification, could more than triple average daily milk yields from 4 to 15 litres per animal.
Download a brief that illustrates how ILRI and its partners are developing highly productive dual-purpose crops and presenting a strong case for further, stronger collaboration between national and international crop and livestock institutions.