Rangelands that produce edible grasses optimally and sustainably are key to livestock farmers’ success. Correctly applied, high density grazing makes it possible to reach this goal as it improves the grazing, gradually improves carrying capacity and amplifies meat production per hectare.
The principles of effective rangeland management are summarised as follows in Namibia’s National Rangeland Management policy:
- Know your resource base.
- Manage to ensure sufficient plant rest.
- Manage for optimal plant utilisation.
- Improve the soil condition.
- Control bush encroachment.
- Plan for droughts.
- Monitor the resource base.
- Plan infrastructure to complement resource utilisation.
- Effective rangeland management
These principles were developed over a four-year period. The main challenge, however, is how these principles should be applied to the soil under different situations. The goal is to improve and sustainably maintain natural grazing, the cheapest resource for the country’s cattle farmers.
“The system of high density and ultra-high density grazing was developed by scientists and grassland scientists in different parts of the world. It is based on the way nature protects grazing and improves the structure of the soil where plants grow.
“Over time, they have observed that game utilise grazing in a specific manner and that the soil where grass grows on the plains is extremely fertile. The animals graze in large herds, do not linger in the same spot and do not necessarily feed selectively. High-density grazing enforces the same pattern, as a large herd of livestock utilise all plant species in a relatively small camp for a day or three before they are moved to the next camp,” says Bertus Kruger, a grassland scientist at the African Game Ranchers’ Association (AGRA).
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