Reducing uncertainty in nitrogen budgets for African livestock systems
Livestock is poorly represented in N budgets for the African continent although some studies have examined livestock-related N flows at different levels. Livestock plays an important role in N cycling and therefore on N budgets including livestock-related flows. This study reviews the literature on N budgets for Africa to identify factors contributing to uncertainties. Livestock densities are usually modelled because of the lack of observational spatial data. Even though feed availability and quality varies across seasons, most studies use constant livestock excretion rates, and excreta are usually assumed to be uniformly distributed onto the land. Major uncertainties originate in the fraction of manure managed, and emission factors which may not reflect the situation of Africa. N budgets use coarse assumptions on production, availability, and use of crop residues as livestock feed.