New study uncovers source of mystery neurological disease devastating Tanzanian sheep and goats

by Vanessa Meadu, SEBI

Pastoralist livestock keepers in Tanzania knew for some time that their sheep and goats were succumbing in large numbers to a neurological disease known locally as ormilo, but until recently this threat had gone largely unnoticed by the scientific community and the veterinary services. Now, researchers, from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (IBAHCM) and the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), have identified the culprit as the dog tapeworm Taenia multiceps, opening the door for potential solutions.

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Livestock data community zeroes in on big challenges

Report back from LD4D meeting, 28-30 November

In November 2018 the Livestock Data for Decisions (LD4D) Community of Practice met in Hanoi, Vietnam, to discuss big questions in the livestock data sphere, assess progress to date on collaborative working groups, and map out next steps.

Meeting documentation

Access all presentation and session recordings

Download hi-res group photo

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Big Data approaches offer hope for improved livestock analysis

By Louise Donnison, Karen Smyth and Vanessa Meadu

LD4D members report back from the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture Convention, which took place 3-5 October in Nairobi, Kenya.

How can data-driven approaches improve the sustainability and resilience of food systems? And can these approaches be successfully applied in the livestock sector? In October, members of the LD4D community met in Nairobi to participate in the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture Convention, which brought together agriculture and data scientists from around the world to share their innovative tools and approaches. Due to its unique role in bringing together livestock data producers and users, LD4D also acts as the CGIAR’s Big Data in Agriculture livestock data community of practice. The convention presented plenty of ideas which could offer inspiration to the LD4D community. Read more

Large increases in goat meat production are possible in Ethiopia and India, says new study

by Jeda Palmer and Vanessa Meadu

Small ruminants such as goats are an important source of income for smallholder farmers in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. The LiveGAPS project, led by CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) work investigated potential for different intervention packages to increase yields and profitability of goat meat production in Ethiopia and India. The results are published in a new paper, “Closing yield gaps in smallholder goat production systems in Ethiopia and India“.  Read more

What livestock and where? Q&A with Timothy Robinson on Gridded Livestock of the World 3.0

by Vanessa Meadu

New data on global livestock distribution to help sector along sustainable pathways

Today, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and other partners, releases a new, 10 km global dataset of livestock distributions: the Gridded Livestock of the World, version 3.0 (GLW3), published in Nature Scientific Data.

GLW3 has a reference year of 2010 and includes global distributions of cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, chickens and ducks at a spatial resolution of 5 minutes of arc.

The digital maps in geotiff format are freely available for download via FAO’s Livestock Systems website, which also provides data on production systems and links to resources related to sustainable livestock sector development.

Timothy Robinson, Livestock Policy Officer at the FAO, who co-led GLW3, answers a few questions about this new data.

Q: Why map livestock? Read more

Agriculture and climate change: Scientists and stakeholders break down walls in Berlin

by Gareth Salmon

I recently returned from Berlin, where I attended the first International Conference on Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security (#AgriGHG) The agricultural sector contributes significantly to human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change. Responding to this, the conference brought together scientists and stakeholders (policy makers and advisors, farmers’ organisations and the food industry) to discuss the challenges and opportunities for emissions mitigation within the sector. Read more

Livestock fact check: climate change, yield gaps and more

The LD4D community has released four new factsheets that dig into the data and evidence behind commonly held livestock facts. The latest factsheets investigate claims relating to livestock and climate change, the multiple functions and uses of livestock in Low and Middle Income Countries, the impacts of disease on livestock productivity and the gaps between current and potential yield from livestock.  Read more