Promising forage options to enhance livestock production in Mediterranean climate agricultural systems
The increasing demand for food, fibre and animal products inevitably requires intensifying agricultural production worldwide. This can present a number of environmental and farming systems challenges in Mediterranean climate areas of the world. Developments of novel strategies, employing ecologically sound intensification practices, are crucial to enhance production in the Mediterranean agropastoral production systems. In this paper, we have discussed forage based systems that improve productivity, profitability, environmental quality and resilience of the farming systems. Key opportunities include better use and integration of diverse genetic resources, new agronomic techniques and the utilization of perennial forage plants that are adapted to land that may not be suited to traditional species. This article has a specific focus on the recent developments on forage based production options for the ecologically sound intensification and enhanced livestock productivity in the low to medium rainfall (< 500 mm/year) Mediterranean agropastoral production systems from the farming context of smallholdings of south Mediterranean countries (West Asia and North Africa; WANA) and large-scale farming systems of southern Australia.