Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences

Excellence and Timeliness


Change Language


Greener Journal of  Agricultural Sciences Vol. 4 (6), pp. 252-257, July 2014.

 ISSN: 2276-7770 

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 011714045


Influence of Communal Area Grazing System on Cattle Performance and Vegetation Parameters in a Semi-arid Area of Zimbabwe


Tinoziva Hungwe


Department of Livestock, Wildlife and Fisheries, School of Agricultural Sciences, Great Zimbabwe University, P. O. Box 1235, Masvingo, Zimbabwe.



A study was conducted to determine the impact of grazing management system on cattle performance and vegetation parameters in a semi-arid area of Zimbabwe. Two areas, where traditional grazing management and grazing schemes were practised, were selected for the study. The performance of cattle was determined through body condition scoring of the animals. The assessments were done at the end of the rainy season, after the cattle had spent five months under either traditional grazing system or grazing scheme. Body condition scores were higher (P<0.05) for cattle under the traditional system than those from grazing schemes. Vegetation parameters analysed in the grazing areas included basal cover, species composition, plant vigour and the overall veld score. Under both grazing management systems, overall veld ratings were poor. Grazing schemes have not resulted in improved basal cover, plant vigour and species richness. These findings suggest that grazing schemes tended to compromise performance under poor range conditions, possibly due to limited range resources. The ability of cattle under traditional grazing management system to switch effectively among the different range resources might have enhanced their body condition going into the dry season.

Keywords: body condition, range resources, grazing scheme, vegetation parameters, grazing management.

Return to Content    Views: [Full Article - PDF]

[Full Article - HTML]              [Full Article - EPUB]


Abel, NOJ. and Blaikie, P.M. (1989). Land degradation, stocking rates and conservation policies in the Communal rangelands of Botswana and Zimbabwe. Land degradation and Rehabilitation. Volume 1

Anderson, DM (1988). Seasonal stocking of tobosa managed under continuous and rotational grazing. Journal of Range Management 41: 78-83.

Bonham, CD (1984). Sampling and Statistical considerations in Range resource inventories. In: Developing strategies for range management. National Research Council. Westview Press. Pp773-787.

Campbell, B And Shackleton, S. (2002). Organizing for community-based natural resources management. The Zimbabwe Science News 36: 5-12.

Cousins, B (1987). A survey of the current grazing schemes in communal lands of Zimbabwe. Centre for Applied Social Sciences, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Cousins, B (1988). Evaluation of pilot grazing schemes. Harare, EEC and Agritex.

Cousins, B (1996). Collective decision making in communal area grazing schemes. PhD. Thesis, University of Zimbabwe. Pp591.

Danckwerts, JE and Tainton, NM (1993). Range management. Optimising forage production and quality. In: Baker, M.J. (ed.). Grasslands for our World. SIR Publishing, New Zealand. Pp 264-270.

DeRouen, SM, Franke, DE, Morrison, DG, Wyatt, WE, Coombs, DF, White, TW, Humes, PE and Green, BB (1994). Prepartum body condition and weight influences on reproductive performance of first-calf beef cows. Journal of Animal Science 72: 1119- 1125.

Edmondson, AJ, Lean, IJ, Weaver, LD, Farver, T and Webster, G (1989). A body condition scoring chart for Holstein Dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 72:68-78.

Gillen, RL, McCollum, TF, Hodges, ME, Brummer, JE and Tate, KW (1991). Plant responses to short duration grazing in tall-grass prairie. Journal of Range Management 44 (2): 124r -128.

Gomez, KA and Gomez, AA (1984). Statistical procedures for Agricultural Research. 2nd Edition. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Hungwe, T, Mugabe, PH, Mutisi, C and Gandiwa, E (2013a). Influence of communal area grazing management system on the nutritive value of forages selected by cattle in a semi-arid area of Zimbabwe. Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences 3(9): 663-668.

Hungwe, T, Mutisi, C, Mugabe, PH, and Gwazani, R (2013b). Influence of communal area grazing management system on the foraging behaviour of steers in a semi-arid area of Zimbabwe. Greener Journal of Agricultural Sciences 3(12): 787-793.

Ivy, P (1969). Veld Condition Assessments. In: Proceedings of Connex Veld Management Conference, Bulawayo. Government Printer. Pp 105- 112.

Jones, WM, Fraser, H and Curtis, J (2010). Plant community functional shifts in response to livestock grazing in Inter-mountain depressional wetlands in British Columbia, Canada. Biological Conservation 1 (144): 511-517.

Kundhlande, G and Mutandi, R (1989). Experiences of the CARD programme in Gutu in relation to improving livestock and grazing production. In: Cousins, B. (ed). People, Land and Livestock. Proceedings of a workshop on the socio-economic dimensions of livestock production in communal lands of Zimbabwe. Harare, GTZ and CASS, University of Zimbabwe. Pp 397- 416.

Lewis, JK, Walker, SS, Lacey, JR, Gibbons, R, Heintz, T, Herndon, J and Blome, L (1977). Effect of range condition on steer gains. South Dakota Agriculture experiment Station Bulletin 77:14.

Manley, WA, Hart, RH, Samuel, MJ, Smith, MA, Waggoner, JW and Manley, JT (1997). Vegetation, cattle and economic responses to grazing strategies and pressures. Journal of Range Management 50: 638-646.

McCollum, FT, Gillen, RL, Karges, BR and Hodges, ME (1999). Stocker cattle response to grazing management in tall-grass prairie. Journal of Range Management 52:120-126.

McFarland, AMS, Kothmann, MM and Blackburn, HD (1992). Calibrating a diet selection model for sheep grazing rangelands. Agricultural Systems 39:361-368.

Morris, CD and Tainton, NM (1996). Long-term effects of different rotational grazing schedules on the productivity and floristic composition of tall Grassveld in KwaZulu-Natal. African Journal of Range and Forage Science 13(1):24-28.

Morrison, DG, Spitzer, JC and Perkins, JL (1999). Influence of prepartum body condition score changes on reproduction in multiparous beef cows calving in moderate body condition. Journal of Animal Science 77: 1048- 1054. 

Pitts, JS and Bryant, FC (1987). Steers and vegetation response to short duration and continuous grazing. Journal of Range Management 40: 386.

O’Reagain, PJ and Turner, JR (1992). An evaluation of the empirical basis for grazing management recommendations for rangeland in southern Africa. Journal of the Grasslands society of southern Africa 9:38-49.

SAS (2003). Statistical Analysis System (vers. 9.1) for Windows. SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA.

Savory, A (1978). A holistic approach to range management using short duration grazing. In: D.N. Hyder (ed.). Proceedings of the 1st International Rangeland congress. Society for Range Management. Denver, Colorado. Pp555- 557.

Scoones, IC (1990). Livestock foraging: Exploiting a patchy environment. PhD Thesis. University of London.

Scoones, IC (1995).  Exploiting heterogeneity: habitat use by cattle in dryland Zimbabwe. Journal of Arid Environments 29(2): 221-237.

Thurrow, TL, Blackburn, W.A .and Taylor C.A. (1988). Some vegetation responces to selected livestock grazing strategies, Edwards Plateau, Texas. Journal of Range Management 41: 108-114.

Call for Articles/Books

Call for Scholarly Articles

Authors from around the world are invited to send scholary articles that suits the scope of this journal. The journal is currently open to submissions and will process and publish articles daily, immediately they are ready.

The journal is centered on quality and goes about its processes in a very timely fashion. Seasoned editors/reviewers will be consulted to review each article(s), profer quality evaluations and polish the articles with expertise before publication.

Use our quick submit button to submit or simply send your article(s) as an e-mail attachment to or

Call for Books

You are also invited to submit your books for online or print publication. We publish books related to all academic subject areas.    Submit as an e-mail attachment to


Login Form

Other Journals