Optimum stocking rate for goat production on improved highland pastures in South-western China
The effects of four stocking rates (SR; 7.5, 15, 30 and 45 goats ha-1) on goat performance and herbage productivity were examined on the perennial pastures. The experiment was applied by grazing 65 six-months old Chinese Yunling black goat wethers for two years. Significant year × SR interactions were observed on standing crop (SC). A linear negative correlation was found for average daily gain (ADG) and SR, and a linear positive correlation for ADG and SC was found. SR had a significant quadratic relationship to gain per hectare (GH), but a significant linear negative relationship to SC. The SR at which GH was optimal ranged from 29.1 to 34.3 goats ha-1, with corresponding levels of SC in the range of 138.9 to 150.1 g DM m-2 and utilization rate of pasture ranged from 63.1 to 74.3%. The study therefore provided a sustainable utilization approach for sown pastures in south-west China.
Key words: Black goat, grazing intensity, average daily gain, gain per hectare, South-west China.