The current study was aimed at assessing selected soil properties of forage gardens and perceptions of small-holder dairy farmers to newly introduced improved forage in Southern highlands, Tanzania. A total of 101 respondents were randomly sampled and interviewed on the issues relating to management, preferences, and adoption challenges of different pasture varieties. Some surveyed households (38) were purposefully chosen for soil sampling and analysis, since they had pasture plots >256 m2 (~0.1 acres) and established Brachiaria hybrid, cv Cayman and cv Cobra, as well as Pennisetum purpureum cv Ouma and cv ILRI 16835 in their plots at the time of this survey. Results showed that total soil nitrogen was sufficient, exchangeable potassium was on the borderline between medium and low, and available phosphorus was below the required amount for optimum pasture production. The soil in some farms was acidic (pH<5.5) which could inhibit phosphorus uptake and other cations availability. Little land was allocated for pasture cultivation and household income from dairy production was moderate. It was concluded that improving access to planting materials and dairy marketing could encourage farmers to intensify pasture and dairy production, hence, improving pasture farms’ soil condition and their livelihoods.
Key words: Sustainable dairy production, pasture perception, pasture production challenges, pasture pests, soil fertility, soil pH.
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