Skip to cookie consent
Joy in Nigeria grows different types of crops using sustainable agricultural techniques taught by Tearfund partner Rurcon.

From: Farming for the future – Footsteps 110

Strategies farmers can use to maintain healthy ecosystems and productive farms

Traditional cattle farms in Colombia, which occupy 80 per cent of agricultural land, often remove all the trees and bushes to grow grass. 

Over time, the soil loses its fertility, less grass grows and the cattle have to walk further to find enough to eat. Every step damages the soil and makes the situation worse. As the pasture dries up, the cows produce less milk and calves grow more slowly. When it rains, the damaged soil is washed into the rivers. 

Research conducted at the Colombian Centre for Research in Sustainable Systems of Agriculture (CIPAV) has found that when cows are able to graze high-protein fodder trees and bushes, there are many benefits for the animals, the farmers and the environment. The trees and bushes help catch rain so more water soaks into the soil. They also absorb more carbon dioxide than grass pasture and are resilient to periods of drought. Trees improve soil quality and provide valuable shade. Cooler cows eat throughout the day, moving around and depositing their valuable manure more evenly. 

Cows farmed in this way produce more milk and calves grow faster, so are ready for slaughter sooner. The change in diet helps digestion so the cows produce less methane which is a major contributor to climate change. According to CIPAV, using this system cattle ranchers can produce the same amount of dairy, meat and timber products in half the land area, with no need for expensive irrigation, fertiliser or herbicides. 

www.cipav.org.co

Similarly Tagged Content

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Sign up now to get Footsteps magazine

A free digital and print magazine for community development workers. Covering a diverse range of topics, it is published three times a year.

Sign up now

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.