Ecological benefit of strip grazing with a solar mobile fence grazing system

Author: D.C. Puga and M.A. Galina
Year: 2004
Issue: 5
Volume: 34
Page: 89 - 91

A study was conducted on 14 ha of Caducifolia thorny forest with an average total dry matter yield of 800 kg/ha/year. The area of study was divided into two 7 ha camps. Thirty-five Alpine goats were allocated to one of the camps in a continuous grazing system, called the free grazing (FG) camp treatment. Another 35 goats were placed in the other camp where strip grazing was controlled by means of a solar mobile grazing (SMG) system. A high (163 AU/ha) and a low (40.8 AU/ha) stocking rate, allocating 625 m2 and 1.250 m2, respectively, were applied in the SMG treatment. The number of goats varied to adjust stocking rate daily. The goats were allowed to graze five hours/day. Herbage utilization was measured, using as initial markers the grass length of 24 to 30 cm and number of leaves (156 ± 17) on selected shrub branches, 40 cm long. The botanical composition was determined at the beginning and end of the grazing period. Chemical analyses of forage selected by the goats were performed monthly. In the SMG treatment the average grass height changed from 37.1 cm in June to 65.2 cm in February, while percentage leaves changed from 18.4% to 5.9%, compared to changes of 41.4 cm to 42.3 cm and 16.3% to 0.91% in the FG treatment, respectively. In the SMG treatment the goats spent 80% of their time browsing in July and August and 100% of their time from December until March. It is concluded that the economical and social status of the rural community would be improved using the SMG system.

Keywords: : Growth, goats, nutrition, pasture, rangeland
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