PASTURE: Pasture is an area of land covered with forage crops which are usually grasses and legumes that are grazed or fed on by livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats.
FORAGE CROPS: They are plant cultivated for their vegetative portion and used in fresh or preserved forms for feeding livestock.
USES OF FORAGE CROPS
(i) It is used for livestock feeding.
(ii) As cover crops to prevent soil from losing it nutrients to erosion.
(iii) For the conservation of soil moisture.
(iv) As green manure.
(v) As bedding materials.
TYPES OF PASTURE
(i) Artificial Pasture: Artificial pasture is an area of land covered with forage grasses and legumes which are purposely planted by man to feed livestocks.
(ii) Natural Pasture: Natural pasture is an area of land covered with forage grasses and legumes which are not planted by man.
Common grasses and legumes used for grazing livestock
|SN||COMMON NAME||BOTANICAL NAME|
|1.||Elephant grass||Pennisetum purpureum|
|2.||Guinea grass||Panicum maximum|
|3.||Giant star grass||Cynodon plectostachyum|
|4.||Carpet grass||Imperrata cylindrical|
|5||Bahama grass||Cynodon dactylon|
|SN||COMMON NAME||BOTANICAL NAME|
|3||Kudsu or puero||Pueraria Phaseoloides|
|6||Sunn hemp||Crotalaria Juncea|
FACTORS AFFECTING THE DISTRIBUTION OF PASTURE
1. Climatic Factors: Pastures grow better in areas where there is adequate rainfall with regulated temperature while pastures are scarce in areas that have desert related climate.
2. Soil or Edaphic Factors: Land areas that are rich in nutrients provide a good pasture for grazing.
3. Biotic Factors: Biotic factors are the influence of human, pathogens and disease outbreak. When man encroaches on areas with pastures for other purposes like building, pastures will be negatively impacted.
FACTORS AFFECTING THE PRODUCTIVITY OF PASTURE
- Persistence: This is when an area of land with pasture is consistently grazed on, the area will soon become infertile to continue providing legumes.
- Aggressiveness: When a piece of land is aggressively grazed upon, it will quickly run out of grasses and legumes for further grazing.
- Resistance to Trampling: A pasture with high resistance to trampling such as marching and grazing will quickly resuscitate while one with low resistance will die off easily.
- Pest and Diseases: The outbreak of pests and diseases will reduce available pasture for grazing leading to overcrowding of farm animals on available pastures.
- Good Management: Pastures will be available for grazing when it is properly managed.
ESTABLISHMENT OF PASTURE
- Adaptation of Pasture: The climatic factor of the environment must be considered if the pasture will adapt to such environment.
- Palatability: It should be assured that such pasture will be pleasurable to the intended grazing livestock such that required nutrients will be gained.
- Compatibility: Compatibility is to ensure that such grasses will be compatible for the intended livestock. This is necessary because different animals feed on different forage grasses and legumes.
- Time of Maturity: Pasture with a short time of maturity will provide quick and timely forage grasses for livestock while pasture with a longer time of maturity will not be dependable.
- Life Cycle of the Species: Species of forage grasses with long life cycle are desirable for livestock such as stubborn grass. They provide adequate food and nutrients for livestock.
MANAGEMENT PRACTICES OF PASTURES
- Burning: The pasture should be guided from bush fire. Bush burning eradicates pastures for livestock needs.
- Fencing: A good fencing will preserve pastures for animal grazing.
- Application of Fertilizer: Fertilizers as it is known helps to make the soil fertile. This will help the grasses to grow abundantly.
- Weed Control: Unintended grasses or legumes should be weeded from the farmland.
- Pest and Diseases: Measures should be kept in place to guide against the outbreak of pathogens.
- Irrigation: Proper irrigation should be constructed in the farmland for adequate photosynthesis of the grasses.
- Adequate Stocking: In cases where the grasses are overgrowing, the overgrown grasses should be stocked for periods when there will be shortfall.