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Feedipedia: An on-line encyclopedia of animal feeds

Feedipedia is an open access information system on animal feed resources that provides information on nature, occurrence, chemical composition, nutritional value and safe use of nearly 1400 worldwide livestock feeds. It is managed jointly by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO.

The main objective of Feedipedia is to provide extension and development workers, planners, project formulators, livestock farmers, science managers, policy makers, students and researchers with the latest scientific information to help them identify, characterize and properly use feed resources to sustainably develop the livestock sector.

This is particularly important in emerging and developing countries where feed resources available locally are often under-utilized due to lack of information. Providing global knowledge on feed resources, including unconventional and lesser known ones, contributes to the development and use of innovative and appropriate feeding options and strategies.

Feeds datasheets contain the following information:

  • Feed names, including vernacular and scientific names
  • Description of the plants or plant parts/products used as feed
  • Feeding recommendations for the main livestock species: cattle, sheep, goats, camels, poultry, pigs, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
  • Tables of composition and nutritive value
  • Illustrations, including photos and processing charts
  • Distribution and basic agronomic information
  • Forage management
  • Processes for improving nutritional value
  • Potential constraints such as presence of anti-nutritional and toxic factors
  • Environmental impact of the production and use of feeds

Broadening horizons

By Harinder Makkar, FAO, Rome, Italy

Feed is the foundation of the livestock production, with feed costs generally accounting for up to 70% of the cost of production. Feed prices have been increasingly volatile due to negative impacts of natural disasters and climate change, as well as from increasing competition in the use of grains for feed, food and bio-fuel. Increasing demand of livestock products impose a huge demand on feed resources. Bio-physical factors such as scarcity of land, soil and water, food-fuel-feed competition, ongoing global warming, and increasing competition for arable land and non-renewable resources such as fossil sources and minerals are challenging the sustainability of feed production systems.

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