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PASTURE AND RANGE MANAGEMENT

MEANING OF PASTURE, FODDER AND FORAGE CROPS

Pasture is a piece of land on which grasses and/or legume crops are naturally found or deliberately grown for feeding livestock. Another definition, pasture refers to an area of land covered with forage crops which are usually grasses and legumes that are grazed or fed on by livestock such as goat ,sheep and cattle .FORAGE CROPS are plants cultivated for their vegetative portions and used in fresh or preserved forms for feeding livestock. Forage may therefore be growing grass, legumes , shrubs , hay or silage. FODDER is any coarsely chopped grass or legume in dry or fresh form that is cut , carried and fed to farm animals usually cattle sheep goats pigs camels donkeys, horses etc.

Importance of pastures

  1. Source of feed for ruminant animals
  2. Conservation of soil moisture
  3. Legumes serves as cover crops to prevent erosion
  4. Serves as green manure
  5. Serves as bedding materials.
  6. Legumes fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil.
  7. Roofing materials e. g Spear grass.
  8. Some pasture crop are used in control of nematode.
  9. Some pasture crop have medicinal value.

Qualities of a good pasture

  1. Ability to regeneration
  2. Ability to withstand trampling effects of the grazing animals
  3. High nutritive value.
  4. Moderate moisture and high dry matter.
  5. High ability to compete adequately well with weeds for soil nutrients, moisture and air.
  6. High leaf to stem ratio.
  7. High seed viability and profuseness and propagation by vegetative means.
  8. High persistency i. e .regularly available and regenerate, ability to regrow after defoliation, resistance to trampling, drought, pest and diseases.
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