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

 ISSN: 2276-7770 

Research Paper

Manuscript Number: 011714045

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15580/GJAS.2014.6.011714045

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


Tinoziva Hungwe


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.

body condition, range resources, grazing scheme, vegetation parameters, grazing

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