Feeding leucaena to dairy cows in intensive silvopastoral systems in Colombia and Mexico
Keynote paper presented at the International Leucaena Conference, 1‒3 November 2018, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
The demand for milk and dairy products globally is expected to grow in future decades, leading to an increase in the global dairy cattle population. Therefore it is important to identify production options that both improve efficiency and help reduce negative effects on the environment. Intensive silvopastoral systems have been proposed as a sustainable strategy in the tropics to increase the availability and quality of forage throughout the year for milk production from cattle. This paper reports the effects of silvopastoral systems that include leucaena at the farm level on milk production and on the environment in both Colombia and Mexico. Evaluation of different milk production systems has shown that the leucaena-based systems increased milk production both per cow and per hectare, increased the production of milk solids, improved the fatty acid profile in the milk and resulted in environmental benefits when compared with conventional systems.