19 November 2009

What the rest of the world already knows

Just discovered a new, to me, but 20 years grown, resource for sustainable livestock management, Livestock Research for Rural Development, "The international journal for research into sustainable developing world agriculture." 

It is truly an international journal, the latest issue November 2009, includes such varied articles as "Use of redworms (Perionyx excavatus) to manage agricultural wastes and supply valuable feed for poultry" contributed by the Hanoi University of Agriculture, to "Effect of minimal supplemental feeding with lucerne during late gestation on pre-weaning performance of goats" contributed by the Department of Agriculture, South Africa, to "Indigenous knowledge and its relevance for sustainable beekeeping development: a case study in the Highlands of Southeast Ethiopia", contributed by Mada Walabu University, Ethiopia. 

Nearly all of the articles and research in this journal originate in the Global South, and Developing Nations, which makes them all the more applicable to our own First World subsistence, urban and smallholder farming initiatives.  I have found a rather large gap in relevant research available to subsistence and small farms.  The "how to" books and websites for backyard livestock cover basic handling, housing and feeding, but all of the first-rate University research, from Industrial nations, has been directed at large scale commercial livestock operations.  Even the Organic livestock research has been biased toward commercial operations, which differ greatly from smallholder and subsistence livestock systems.  A subsistence livestock system will include a more varied, seasonal and bio-regional approach to feed, and an integrated approach to waste and nutrient management, for instance. 

As local food collectives take hold in North America, this research gap will close, especially with the innovation of the Open Science and Creative Commons platform for equal access and distribution of information.  In the meantime, I will glean relevant research from the LRRD journal, and marvel at what the "Developing World" is able to do.

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