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This initiative represents an important milestone in efforts to support local livestock farmers and promote youth employability in the agricultural sector. (Image source: ECOWAS))

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently inaugurated a new drilling project, aimed at improving employment opportunities for youth through improved dairy and fodder production 

Promising to transform the lives of members of the Luumo Kosam Dairy Cooperative in Chukun, Nigeria, the project which was initiated by the Value Chain Foundation with financial support from ECOWAS and the Swiss Cooperation (DDC), is part of the Regional Programme for Support to Farmer Organisations (PRAOP)

The objective of the project is to improve the dairy and fooder production by enhancing local milk production through the establishment of family dairy farms and the management of cows and calves, increasing the availability and accessibility of feed and forage, and facilitating knowledge sharing among dairy farmers and stakeholders. This in turn improves employment opportunities for youth. 

At the end of its implementation, the project is expected to create 22 direct jobs, produce 400 tons of fodder, train 600 youths from 100 households and 10 young individuals, connect 100 households to inputs and services such as feed, forage, medications, veterinary services, and artificial insemination, and link 100 households to governments, development partners, milk supply, with an additional production of 300 liters of raw milk per day and an increase in beneficiaries’ income by about 200%.

The handover of the drilling to the Luumo Kosam Dairy Cooperative and its members, who are primarily composed of livestock farmers, marks a significant step in promoting youth employability and improving the living conditions of cooperative members. The Chukun region, like many other rural areas in Nigeria, faces challenges in accessing clean water, which often hinders agricultural activities and limits development opportunities. 

Therefore, by providing a reliable and essential water source for cooperative members and livestock watering, the project will help improve their main source of livelihood, thus demonstrating ECOWAS’s commitment to sustainable and inclusive development in West Africa.

Dr Jason Wargent, BioLumic founder and Chief Science Officer, observing rice seedlings under UV light. (Image source: AgriZero)

Public-private partnership AgriZero has announced its investment of around US$3mn in agriculture biotechnology company, BioLumic to utilise ultraviolet (UV) light to develop a low emissions farm pasture with increased productivity gains 

AgriZero’s funding will enable BioLumic to apply its technology to ryegrass, the most common forage pasture on New Zealand farms. The goal is to increase fat content and subsequently reduce methane emissions from animals that consume it.

BioLumic’s founder and Chief Science Officer, Dr Jason Wargent said that the company was targeting wide scale use from 2027, with reduced regulatory barriers expected from the light treatment approach which will support a faster speed to market. Moreover, with this being AgriZero’s sixth major investment, McNee said the joint venture was aiming to have two to three emissions reduction tools in widespread use by 2030.

“Pasture is the foundation of the business for Kiwi farmers, so a pasture solution to curb methane and boost productivity will be an important option in their toolkit to reduce emissions,” said AgriZero chief executive, Wayne McNee. “BioLumic’s work is an exciting prospect to help secure the future of farming in New Zealand with the very thing that makes our agricultural sector unique and drives our competitive edge today - high quality grass.”

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This solution enables the feed advisors of Intraco’s distributors to assess raw materials and final feed in real time and advise local farmers to ensure that livestock is fed nutritionally balanced and cost-effectively. (Image source: Intraco)

Leading exporter of premixes, Intraco Ltd and leading mobile spectroscopy solutions provider and BASF subsidiary, trinamiX GmbH have announced their collaboration for mobile feed analysis

The objective of the partnership is to give Intraco and its distribution partners the opportunity to analyse the nutrient composition of feed with trinamiX Mobile NIR Spectroscopy Solution - a robust, handheld spectrometer, which comes together with a mobile app and customer portal. Besides enabling the feed advisors of Intraco’s distributors to assess raw materials and final feed in real time, the solution also advises local farmers to ensure that livestock is fed nutritionally balanced and cost-effectively.

Since the nutritional needs of livestock vary at different stages of life and health conditions, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the nutrient content in animal feed to ensure the quality of animal diets. Moreover, with the regular change of raw materials, diet modification becomes commonplace. The trinamiX Mobile NIR Spectrometer analyses a wide range of finished feeds, cereals, oilseed and expeller meals, extraction meals and byproducts, as well as forage, within seconds. This saves time on laboratory analyses or standard nutritional values that feed advisors and farmers were traditionally relying on. 

In addition, trinamiX Mobile NIR Spectroscopy Solution also offers valuable insights on moisture, protein, fat, and energy content, among other factors, without requiring samples to be sent to the lab. As a result, Intraco can conduct nutritional analyses of the local raw materials on site more quickly, enabling them to provide customised feed formulations directly to their clients.

“We are deeply impressed by the dedication and commitment of Intraco to offer the optimal feed solution to its distribution partners and their customers," said manager of Business Development & Sales IR Sensing at trinamiX, Miriam Suhren. "By combining their expertise and experience with innovative technology, they are unlocking further potential for optimizing rations and quality control of raw materials. We are excited that we can support Intraco with our solution to complement their well-established feed offerings, supporting and easing the daily work of farmers and feed advisors alike.” 

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The researchers built a reaction chamber and devised a method that simulates and greatly accelerates methane's natural degradation process. (Image source: Michael Skov Jensen, SCIENCE/KU)

A recent study led by the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) atmospheric chemistry professor, Matthew Stanley Johnson brought to the spotlight, a new method devised by researchers to eradicate low-concentration methane from air

A new Methane Eradication Photochemical System (MEPS) reaction chamber, comprising an elongated metal box with heaps of hoses and measuring instruments, was built. Using chlorine and energy from light, researchers were successful in removing methane from air at a greater speed and efficiency compared to its natural decomposition rate in the atmosphere. Inside the box, a chain reaction of chemical compounds takes place, which breaks down the methane and removes a large portion of the gas from air.

"Methane decomposes at a snail's pace because the gas isn’t especially happy about reacting with other things in the atmosphere," explained Johnson. "However, we have discovered that, with the help of light and chlorine, we can trigger a reaction and break down the methane roughly 100 million times faster than in nature."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has determined that reducing methane gas emissions—which are considered to be 85 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2—will immediately reduce the rise in global temperatures. 

With the development of their new MEPS reaction chamber, the researchers plan to connect the device to the ventilation system in a livestock barn, where it will behave as a methane cleaner. A 40 ft shipping container will soon arrive at the Department of Chemistry and will become a larger prototype of the reaction chamber that the researchers built in the laboratory. The UCPH spin-out company Ambient Carbon, started and now headed by Johnson is currently developing the MEPS technology and plans to make it available to society in the near future. 

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Key stakeholders in the animal health and livestock sector value chain in Zimbabwe attended the project’s launch. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

The 'Mitigating the Impact of Livestock Diseases' project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was recently launched by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), to boost household resilience to shocks by protecting their livestock assets

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