Activity 3: Acquisition of knowledge on production systems, resources, and biomass and nutrient flows; design of shared database and indicators.

The third set of activities of BIOVA consists of acquiring new reliable knowledge on production systems, resources and biomass and nutrient flows and creating and sharing databases and indicators. This activity aims to assemble, structure and collect data in the field.

Obtaining updated and reliable knowledge and creating standardized and structured databases correspond to the stages prior to any initiative aimed at improving the existing production systems (Activity 4). The aim is to create, within a network of crop-livestock farms representative of the diversity of fields and managements, a watchdog on crop yields, livestock production, soil fertility and quality of fertilizing resources which will allow the characterization of stocks and flows of biomass and nutrients within the farm.

The general objective of Activity 3 is to acquire knowledge on mixed farming systems, transfers (flows) and rules for biomass allocation within these systems and their variability according to management and local knowledge (local knowledge of crop-livestock farmers on the management of organic inputs, seeds and crop rotation). This activity involves spatial (plot, farm) and temporal (daily, seasonal) scales both diverse and complementary. It aims to create a regional and shared database (at the farm scale) on the characteristics of resources (plants, animals and soils) and to calculate relevant, synthetic, robust and reliable technical-economic indicators for monitoring farms and for evaluating the improvement actions to be implemented during activity 4. These indicators will also be essential for a comparative analysis on the technical and economic efficiency of agricultural production systems (DEA method).

The diagnosis of the agronomic and zootechnical constraints associated with the management of farm resources will allow the formulation of new technical approaches that will be tested and validated in the research laboratory or in the field during Activity 4.

The process includes several steps:

  • characterization of production systems and their variability. Production systems are relatively well known in both target countries. In each area studied, the additional surveys carried out on a large sample of crop-livestock farms will allow the establishment of a typology of production systems characterizing their technical and socio-economic diversity;
  • census of data available in each area/country. It will identify/inventory exhaustively the existing databases on agricultural production systems combining agriculture and livestock (at plot and farm level);
  • development of an experimental protocol for monitoring production systems. Each field will contribute to the acquisition of new references on the stocks and flows of biomass and nutrients on a common protocol base;
  • design of a common database for all partners. This activity aims to standardize the methods of entry and aggregation of data collected at different levels (plot, farm) and in each area in order to create a single and shared database. This DB will expand the “catalogue” of existing information at each partner level and will allow the use of common indicators (quantitative and qualitative, performance, vulnerability, etc.) for comparative analysis. A web interface will be developed for data entry and remote enquiry, and to edit synthetic dashboards;
  • implementation of field monitoring for data acquisition and calculation of indicators, using the tools produced in activity 2. The collection of additional data on management methods will be based on the institutions that supervise livestock and on surveys conducted among farmers (nutrition strategies, biomass allocation rules, fertilization practices). The characterization of organic biomass stocks (crops, manure, etc.) and soils will be based on the implementation of spectrometry in the near and medium infrared from calibrations developed in Activity 2;
  • comparative analysis of data from different production systems. The data collected will allow the calculation of efficiency indicators for biomass and nutrient transfer between the different segments (plant-animal-soil) of the production systems. The knowledge obtained on the plots, herds and farms will be enhanced thanks to nutrient network analysis that allow the calculation of different synthetic indicators at a farm level: the degree of nutrient autonomy vis-à-vis the exterior, the recycling rate, and the level of crop-livestock integration. This knowledge will also help to develop bio-economic models at the farm level that simulate the impact of innovative technical itineraries on profitability and environmental dynamics (linear programming models developed under GAMS). These innovative technical techniques promote a wider use of animal and plant resources produced locally and greater exchanges between crop and livestock activities.


BIOVA Project

« Recyclage des BIOmasses Végétales et Animales dans les systèmes d’agriculture élevage »
Andranomanelatra Antsirabe 110, Madagascar
Tel : + 261 20 44 99 139 (fixed) – + 261 33 01 83 154 (mobile)

BIOVA project contact person: Vololoniaina Lalatia RAMALANJAONA
E-mail address of contact person:
E-mail address of FIFAMANOR: