To achieve effective development of many tropical countries, livestock production must have a high priority. The recurring widespread droughts in many regions have clearly indicated that the production of forages for support of livestock often dominates the situation. Even in humid regions, forage production is generally deficient. Without adequate supplies of feedstuffs, the other management measures for efficient production, as well as for protecting animal health, improved animal husbandry, animal improvement, and marketing, are made ineffective.
The necessity of having adequate feeds to meet nutritional requirements of livestock must be recognized, not only for the seasons when rainfall fosters growth of herbage on grazing lands, but also for the dry periods when forage growth ceases. Ensuring adequate reserve supplies of feed in seasons when little or no plant growth is possible has long been recognized as a prime requisite for productive animal enterprises in the temperate zones of the world. There, the feed reserves include hay, silage and dry fodder for feeding during the winter period.
The comparable principle for the tropics and subtropics should recognize that livestock feeds must be provided for dry seasons when plant growth ceases. These dry season feeds may include protected grazing reserves, or feeds that have been harvested and stored for support of stock in these seasons. Unfortunately, violation of this principle is widespread in the tropics and subtropics to the great detriment of agricultural development.