African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6652

Full Length Research Paper

Investigating the effects of different grazing ratios and stocking rate of cattle and goats under mixed-species grazing on different plant species

Daniel Maposa1*, Philimon Nyamugure2, ‘Maseka Lesaoana3 and Nyasha Nyahwema2
[1]School of Business and Economics, Monash South Africa (A campus of Monash University, Australia), Private Bag X60, Roodepoort, 1725, South Africa. 2Department of Applied Mathematics, National University of Science and Technology, P.O.Box AC939, Ascot, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. 3Faculty of Science and Agriculture, School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga, 0727, South Africa
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 22 February 2012
  •  Published: 12 March 2012

Abstract

The study focused on investigating the effects of different grazing ratios and stocking rate of cattle and goats under mixed species grazing on different species of plant. The experimental site was Matopos Research Station farm in Zimbabwe. This study was confined to the commonest grass species and forbs at the experimental site. Treatments spanned a period of eight years; from 1999 to 2007. Generally, heavy goats stocking rate resulted in low productivity of browse biomass while heavy cattle stocking rate resulted in low herbaceous biomass productivity. The present results do not support existence of a linear relationship between herbaceous biomass productivity and annual rainfall. Rather, a quadratic relationship existed, suggesting that there might be other factors in addition to rainfall that accounted for biomass productivity. Grazing ratios and stocking rate of cattle and goats, year and their interactions affected the productivity of plant species in the rangeland. Finally, farmers are encouraged to practice mixed-species grazing at an optimal grazing ratio of 4 cattle and 36 goats per 20 ha of rangeland.

 

Key words: Mixed-species grazing, stocking rate, grazing ratio, cattle, goats, biomass.