Impact of Two Grazing Strategies on Rangeland Basal Cover and Beef Production in the Sourish Mixed Bushveld
Keywords:Rotational Grazing, Calving Percentage
The sustainability of beef cattle producers in South Africa is greatly dependent on the availability of natural resources. The aim of the study was first to evaluate the effect of two different strategies in the utilisation of rangeland over four years (2011/12 – 2014/15) on the basal cover—secondly, the study compared animal production results from the two extensively managed rotational grazing strategies. Grazing strategies include a traditional rotational system (TRG), where approximately 60% of fodder was utilised, compared with light selective grazing (LSG), where about 30% of fodder was used. Basal cover for TRG ranged from 19% (2011/12) to 15% (2014/15) and for LSG from 18% (2011/12) to 16% (2014/15). The calving percentage varied between 62% and 73%. The calving percentage and cow and calf weight did not differ between the two grazing strategies, although differences between years were observed. Both grazing systems can be implemented successfully in the Sourish Mixed Bushveld without negatively affecting the rangeland. However, basal cover may be more vulnerable during drought conditions under a TRG system. The study further indicates that mainly small-scale farmers, where utilisation levels of rangelands are usually high, are more vulnerable to drought conditions.
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Copyright (c) 2023 S.M. Grobler, H.C. Van der Westhuizen, H.A. Snyman, M.M. Scholtz, F.W.C. Neser, J.P.C Greyling, L. Morey, M. Trytsman
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