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The value of rested sourveld in a communal grazing area in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Published in: African Journal of Range & Forage Science
Volume 37, issue 2, 2020 , pages: 191–195
DOI: 10.2989/10220119.2020.1744726
Author(s): Lynton J Dedekind, South Africa, Jon McCosh, South Africa, Terry M Everson, South Africa, Craig D Morris, South Africa, Dayle Trotter, South Africa

Abstract

The potential for forage accumulated during periodic long rests to provide valuable winter grazing for livestock in heavily stocked communal rangelands in sourveld was assessed. In a continuously-grazed commonage at Ntshiqo in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, we measured seasonal patterns of biomass accumulation and forage quality under a short season rest (October–January), a full summer rest (October–June), and an extended year rest (June 2014–October 2015). Forage quality was expected to decline with increasing biomass accumulation. The full season rest produced twice as much (almost 1 ton ha−1) biomass than the short season rest. Up to 1.5 tons ha−1 more forage accumulated in the exclosures in the extended year rest, compared with the surrounding grazed grassland, but about 15% of the standing dry matter was lost through frost and senescence from the rested areas during winter. Forage quality (crude protein, phosphorus) declined from summer to winter and was similar in all rested and grazed areas, except for 4% higher acid detergent fibre (ADF) for the full- versus the short-summer rest. For commonage in sourveld, periodic full season rests (spring to autumn), followed by winter grazing with a protein lick and a spring burn, are recommended.

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