A grazing system is a particular way of managing the interactions between plants, soils, and grazing animals. The major smallholder diary cattle grazing systems in Africa are;
- Semi-intensive cattle
- Fenced and zero grazing.
We are focusing on two grazing systems namely, zero/intensive and semi-intensive.
ZERO/INTENSIVE GRAZING SYSTEM
It is also known as stall-feeding or intensive grazing system is where cattle are enclosed in zero grazing units and provided with feed and water. This method mainly is practiced in urban or densely populated areas where grazing land is limited. Forage for cattle can either be grown on farm or purchased. Some dairy farmers in urban and peri-urban areas of Uganda depend entirely on purchased feeds (agricultural/farm and agro-industrial wastes) obtained from food markets and agro-processing industries.
Advantages of zero/ intensive grazing dairy cattle system
- The system reduces poaching risk and allows fresh grass to be cut and carried to cows, which increases the grazing season.
- The system enables the farmer to keep more animals per unit area of land. This unlocks the potential in dairy farming and addresses the challenge of land scarcity. It is achieved through growing high yielding fodder crops like elephant grass, giant setaria, Guatemala and lablab.
- The system can easily utilize forages from areas not accessible for grazing, such as roadsides and steep slopes.
- Farmers near urban areas can use agricultural and agro-industrial wastes from farms, markets and industries.
- Cattle are less exposed to environmental hazards such as diseases and heat stress.
- The cows conserve the energy that would otherwise be wasted in moving around to go and graze at location which has pasture; this conserved energy is then turned into more milk and used by the body to produce more meat.
- The system enhances animal welfare components.
- The manure can easily be collected for processing into biogas and organic manure.
Disadvantages of zero/intensive grazing dairy cattle system.
- The system requires cattle of superior genetics to make economic and ecological sense, which is more expensive.
- Zero grazing system is labour-intensive.the feed and water must be taken to the cow in the shed. However you can save time as you do not need to herd the cows.
- A farmer requires capital for fodder establishments, construction of grazing units, as well as for the buying of equipment and the purchasing of quality initial stock.
- There is a possibility of stressing the animal because of too much confinement inside the stall.
- Easy spread of contagious diseases since animals is in the same enclosure.
SEMI-INTENSIVE GRAZING SYSTEM
In the semi-intensive grazing system, cattle graze for some time during the day and in the evening they feed on supplements like Napier grass fodder and crop residues. This system is suitable in areas with growing human population and developments that lead to land parceling. Semi-intensive systems are among the most efficient system in Africa, particularly when well integrated with food crops production.
Not only do farmers feed the animals with crop residues, which would otherwise be wasted, but also use animal manure to improve soil fertility. however, productivity in this system is still low because of challenges faced by farmers in accessing affordable quality inputs as such pasture seed, herbicides and services like artificial insemination consequently feeding becomes inadequate and offspring with inferior genetics.
KIMD CONSTRUCTION AND FARM CONSULTANTS LTD, we have and do all animal structure designs for animals on zero grazing and those on semi-intensive grazing production systems. Our services are affordable and Worldwide. Just call us on +256789058152 we reach you wherever you are.
Our other services include;
- Veterinary services
- On farm training
- Farm plans and proposals
- Farm constructions
- Livestock animal sales
- Livestock feeds with seeds and pasture.etc
Sharing is caring!