Friday, April 12, 2024
General Agriculture

Definition and Management of Native Pastures

Established Pastures are categorized into different classes for easy identification and use. Native pastures established themselves naturally in most cases. However, livestock farmers may decide to establish them either by seed or through vegetative means.

Native pastures are found in the natural rangelands. These pastures suffer mismanagement by users, which leads to many social problems in our societies. In this unit, you will learn some basic information about native pastures and how to manage them efficiently.

Definition of Native Pastures

Native pastures are otherwise known as natural grasslands. They could be natural or derived from slashed or burnt bushes.

Derived natural pastures occur when forests or bushes are cleared for crop production purposes. They may consist mainly of indigenous species or in some situations introduced (exotic) species.

Examples of natural pastures include Eragrostis turgida (Toad’s wheat), Eragrostis ciliensis (Vomiting of a cat), Indigofera conjugate (Indigo), Isoberlinia doka (Black Doka), Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle Plant), Pennisetum pedicellatum (Kyasuwa Grass). Native pastures are low in quality, especially when harvested at a late stage of growth.

Read Also: Recommended Pastures for your Livestock Grazing

Management of Native Pastures

Definition and Management of Native Pastures

Native pastures can be managed in different ways depending on the farmer’s choice. However, these pastures are usually managed through various methods either directly or indirectly based on the location of the pastureland.

Where livestock production is considered a serious business, management of this pasture includes the following methods:1.

1. Grazing: This involves the use of livestock to reduce the amount of biomass produced by these pastures within a given period of time.

Livestock such as ruminant animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats, alpacas, etc) depend on pastures to acquire the necessary energy for normal physiological activities.

Therefore, grazing of native pastures by livestock help to facilitate pasture growth and reduce the amount of water loss from the shoot. Moreover, grazing helps the pastures to utilize the sunlight energy from the sun faster through the young and fresh re-growth as a result of grazing.

2. Burning: This is mainly done in order to eliminate the dead and lignified leaves and stems/branches that fall on top of the soil in the natural rangelands. The pasture growing in such locations is completely burnt to ashes.

Thereafter, new vegetative material comes up immediately after the first rain. Pastures will not be eliminated due to burning because they have underground stolons and rhizomes, which help them to survive such fires, and also, the ash generated from the process serves as a good source of mineral nutrients to the pastures.

3. Slashing with cutlasses or mower: This can be done either manually using cutlasses or mechanically using a mowing machine. The main idea here is that when these pastures are cut at a certain height, the biomass density of the shoot reduces thereby creating more spaces for sunlight to penetrate the remaining portions left.

This will make them photosynthesize faster and deposit more carbohydrates and nitrogen for good livestock performance. Also, the livestock mainly in the form of conserved forage utilizes the pastures better. This will also help to improve farmers’ income.

Read Also: Definition and Classification of Pasture Plants

4. The division into paddocks or large fences demarcated with barb wires and angle irons: This is a situation whereby the native pastures are completely demarcated with barb wires and angle irons in order to improve the grazing efficiency of the pastures by livestock.

A certain number of livestock is allowed to graze a paddock without over/under-stocking the pastures. The fencing can be cheaply done using other materials such as Jatropha curcas or Gliricidia sepium plants. However, these plants are less effective than barbwire fencing, although barbwires and angle irons are expensive to purchase.

5. Sod seeding: This refers to the process of planting seeds of improved pastures in existing native pastures. This can be done by some artistic designs to be decided by the manager of the rangeland or pastures.

Sod seeding of native pastures is hardly done because the rangelands are under the jurisdiction of the government rather than individuals or communities. Sod seeding helps to improve the productivity of pastures.

6. Fertilization: This involves applying organic or inorganic fertilizers to native pastures for improved biomass production and quality.

Grasses require nitrogen fertilization more than legumes. This helps them to accumulate more carbohydrates and energy thereby making them better forage materials for livestock.

7. Frequent defoliation: This refers to the systematic cutting of pasture species in the field through the use of a mowing machine or cutlasses. The defoliation is done frequently at fixed intervals, such as two weeks intervals, etc. This will help to facilitate the re-growth of the existing native pastures thereby improving their productivity.

Limitations of Native Pastures

The following limitations have been identified in native pastures:

They have shorter growing seasons than improved pastures especially in low rainfall areas because they are adapted to the environment;

They have low nutritive values compared to improved species. This is due to the accelerated maturity as a result of high temperatures and rainfall in humid areas;

Native pastures are highly unstable due to climatic fluctuations, evolution, migration of species, weed invasion, and fires.

In summary, native pastures occur naturally without anybody’s effort to raise them in the rangelands. They can be managed through different methods which could be determined by the farmer or farm manager only

Native pastures are constrained by some limitations, especially as regards their growth habit and quality.

Read Also: Common Forage Crops used in Livestock Feeding

Read Also: Biological Characteristics of Natural Water

Agric4Profits

Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: 1. Agric4Profits.com - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. WealthinWastes.com - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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