Original Articles

Mixed livestock grazing in diverse temperate and semi-arid environments


The need for an annual increase of 2% in global food production demands knowledge on how best to use natural grazing land resources. Taken with the requirement to protect resources, this need creates conflicting demands on grazing land management. Concerns for product quality, uniformity and continuity and for animal welfare will increasingly drive production processes. In this paper, the potential of mixed grazing for higher output of quality animal products, within these constraints, is assessed under both temperate and semi-arid conditions. Complementary behavioural patterns between domestic livestock types, particularly in their dietary selection, appear to be the primary basis for development of improved grazing ecosystems. Many of these processes operate at the landscape scale. In addition to increasing animal output, mixed grazing can be used to modify the vegetation. This is of particular importance for manipulating woody species cover in semi-arid areas and hence for improvement of range condition. For rural development, identification with the system and confidence in the purveyor sets the basis for success.

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