Pasture Management and Improvement Strategies in Ethiopia

Abadi Nigus


The purpose of this paper is to review the pasture management and improvement strategies. Pasture management is defined as practice of growing healthy grass and related plant profitable sustains forage availability and production. Management is the key to healthy, productive pastures. Controlled, rotational, or management-intensive grazing has increased forage production for many producers. Skillfully using livestock to harvest forages leads to improved soil fertility, diverse, dense, and useful pasture ecology, and an extended grazing season. Fertile soil and productive pastures, in turn, support healthy animals. The total grazing and browsing lands are steadily shrinking due to encroachment of crop production as a consequence of the growing human population in Ethiopia. The productivity from grazing land is insufficient for optimal livestock production. Grazing land management, fertilizer application, over-sowing of legumes, optimum harvesting stage, feed conservation and utilization are important practices to improve the productivity of natural pasture and used to maintain the nutritive values of the pastures over seasons. Poor production of pasture lands and large herd size on small grazing lands caused overgrazing of natural pasturelands resulting in serious land degradation which in turn leads to invasion by unpalatable plant species and finally a decline in the quantity and quality of pasture. Grazing lands which were main source of natural pasture are being deteriorated due to different reasons such as high population pressure, land degradation and conversion of grazing lands into arable lands. As a result, crop residues have emerged as the main components of livestock diet as their production is boosted due to cropping intensification. But their nutritive value and digestibility is too low to support animals’ extra productivity. Therefore, production of improved fodder using different strategies is mandatory to satisfy feed and nutrient demand of animals if better production and productivity is needed. Different forage development strategies like backyard forage development, under sowing of cereal crop with forage legumes, forage development on stock exclusion area, forage development on conservation structures, and over sowing on existing grazing/pasture land are practicing in Ethiopia.

Keywords: Conservation, management, improvement strategies, pasture


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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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