Caribbean Livestock: improving health and nutrition
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CTA. 1991. Caribbean Livestock: improving health and nutrition. Spore 31. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45434
seminar held in Antigua in November 1990. The meeting, which was organized jointly by CTA and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), focused on the control of two tick-associated diseases, cowdriosis and dermatophilosis
Health and nutrition of livestock are major constraints on productivity, and their improvement in the Caribbean was the subject of a seminar held in Antigua in November 1990. The meeting, which was organized jointly by CTA and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), focused on the control of two tick-associated diseases, cowdriosis and dermatophilosis, and on the better utilization of locally available feedstuffs, including by-products of the two major crops in the region, sugarcane and bananas. Beautiful but lethal Cowdriosis, or heartwater, is carried by the beautiful but often lethal tick Amblyomma variegatum, which was introduced into the Caribbean with cattle from West Africa. As well as acting as a vector for cowdriosis the tick also suppresses the immune response of infested cattle, which facilitates infection by the bacterial skin disease dermatophilosis. Both diseases cause serious loss of productivity even when animals recover but, where stock are of susceptible types (exotic and cross-brads) and where nutrition is poor, mortality can be high. When A. variegatum infested St Kitts 75% of the cattle died and the livestock industry has not recovered. All the Caribbean islands except Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago are now infested to some degree and it is feared that unless appropriate action is taken on a regional basis the tick and its associated diseases will spread inexorably to the remaining islands and to the South, Central and North American mainland. Participants at the seminar included the leading international authorities on A.variegatum, cowdriosis and dermatophilosis. Presentations were given by Professor G Uilenberg (IEMVT, Paris), Dr N Barre (INRA, Guadeloupe), Professor H Williams (UVI, Trinidad), Dr C Yunker (Veterinary Research Laboratory, Zimbabwe), Dr D Lloyd (Royal Veterinary College, London) and Dr d E George (USDA, Kerrville, Texas). The discussions that followed led participants to conclude that eradication of the tick is possible, as experience in Puerto Rico has shown, but that re-introduction inevitably occurs from surrounding countries. Therefore the seminar participants recommended that all the governments in the region should introduce a coordinated regional policy for eradication of A. variegatum as a matter of great urgency. They also recommended that CARDI and CTA request FAO to help in coordination and liaison between relevant agencies and countries in setting up a regional programme. This should include surveillance, reporting outbreaks, training in diagnostic and treatment procedures and the development of suitable acaricides. A new pour-on acaricide is proving successful in controlling Amblyomma and a system of 'baiting' was described where animals are grazed on infested pastures and regularly treated with the acaricide to kill the ticks that have become attached. After a short period land is completely cleared of the ticks. Cane for feed and forage The seminar also discussed a variety of ways of using bananas and sugar cane and their products as feed energy sources for ruminants and monogastric livestock. The conclusion was that their potential, and that of several other crops and by-products, has yet to be realized. Participants from Colombia, Cuba, Honduras and Venezuela were invited to share their experiences with those from the anglophone Caribbean. Dr T R Preston, consultant to the Convenio Inter-instituticional pare la Produccion Agropecuaria en el Valle del Rio Cauca (CIPAV) in Colombia, described a system for which he had just received an international award (see Newslines) and which can yield about 3000kg of meat/ha/year based on two perennial crops, sugar cane and nitrogen-fixing trees. The cane stalks are fractionated into cane juice and bagasse using a simple animal-powered 3-roll mill. The cane juice is a complete replacement for cereal grains and the basis (75%) of a high quality diet for pigs. The cane tops are fed to sheep while the tree leaves provide protein for pigs and sheep. From Trinidad the Director of the Sugarcane Feed Centre, Floyd Neckles, described their work which has proved the value of whole chop ped sugar cane as the basis of a feed of large and small ruminants. Again a leguminous tree (Leucaena in this case) can pro vice the protein. Although bananas are another major crop in the region, Dr Marco Esnaola of the Pan American School of Agriculture pointed out that they are perishable and also bulky, and thus expensive to transport. However, where cattle or pigs can be fed close to a source of waste bananas they can be an economical feed either fresh or cooked, though ripe bananas give better results than green fruit Other crops and by-products reviewed included cassava, sweet potato, rice residues, citrus pulp, coconut meal, brewers grains, poultry litter and abattoir wastes. 11 was also pointed out that there is considerable potential for the improvement of pasture grasses and legumes and there was considerable debate as to whether pastures should be planted with forage trees as a more high yielding system for feeding ruminants. With imports of livestock products and feeds for livestock accounting for more than half (53%) of all import costs in the anglophone Caribbean there is obviously great potential for improving productivity of farm animals in the region. As the conclusions and recommendations of this seminar showed, this could and should be done by taking immediate steps to implement policies that will eliminate disease and make better use of locally available feed resources.