Original Articles

The Potch System: An approach to the management of semi‐arid grasslands in southern Africa

DOI: 10.1080/02566702.1991.9648286
Author(s): R.H. DrewesDepartment of Agricultural Development, Republic of South Africa

Abstract

A host of grassland management systems have been published and recommended. Whereas earlier approaches to grassland management emphasized the systematic resting aspect, the systems published since 1966 have tended to stress the degree of utilization of the grassland sward. In an attempt to accommodate the periodic dry periods that are so typical of the semi‐arid grasslands of western Transvaal, the Potch system of management was evolved. It aims at the development of a fodder reserve, firstly by delaying the commencement of summer grazing, and secondly, by allowing prolonged periods of absence in the grazing rotation. High utilization grazing within the concept of controlled selective grazing is prescribed. This approach was tested and demonstrated over a period of five years in an experiment comprising 240 beef breeding cows. It appeared that generally, summer grazing only commenced after the third week of November, and that the mean period of occupation amounted to 20 days, with a period of absence of 87 days. A conception rate of 85% of all the cows and heifers mated, was achieved. A stocking rate of 0.53 LSU ha−1 could be maintained in an area where the general grazing capacity is 0.33 LSU ha−1.

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