Feed Baskets - working group

Photo: Georgina Smith (CIAT)

Improving data about what animals eat 

Animal diets (feed baskets) are diverse and variable both spatially and temporally. However, there is a lack of reliable feed basket data. Feed-basket composition is a major determinant of the environmental impact of livestock, including both the production of feed and the impact feed quality and quantity has on animal productivity.  Better data would allow for more accurate assessments of the overall impact of the sector, as well as for a more nuanced representation of different production systems in different contexts. At the same time, a more accurate representation of what animals are currently eating would improve our ability to predict feed requirements and design strategies to improve feed supply, as well as to make projections for possible evolutions of the sector. 

Aims of the working group

LD4D is responding to these challenges by setting up a new working group to discuss current data challenges and explore potential ways forward. The working group will be led by researchers from Cornell University’s Food Systems and Global Change program. We will invite different stakeholders to join the group, including data collectors and data users, from both the policy and research arenas.

The objectives of the working group are to:

  1. Do a stock-take of available feed basket data;
  2. Highlight data gaps;
  3. Fill data gaps and provide data that is useful for funders and policy makers in a usable format;
  4. Explore the mechanisms that would lead to the formulation of better feed basket data and the opportunities and outcomes that this could support.

Next steps

Later in 2024, the working group will host a virtual ‘show and tell’ event inviting organisations and individuals working on feed basket data to highlight their improvements and innovations. This will inform a preliminary report on feed-basket data challenges and key decision makers in the field. LD4D members will have an opportunity to learn about these interim findings and discuss these via a follow-up webinar in the Spring.

The working group will prepare a final report outlining the needs for feed basket data, identifying barriers to progress, and highlighting promising solutions. This report will inform a proposal for a new LD4D Solutions Group, which can work on addressing a specific data challenge for decision-making.

Stay in touch!

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