Pasture improvement in Malawi: the introduction of legumes into various soil-climate-management ecosystems

  • Savory R

Abstract

Malawi is a tropical country with a strongly seasonal rainfall distribution pattern. The major livestock nutrition problem is the dry season (May to November) protein deficit which results in liveweight losses of up to 40 kg per beast. An attempt is being made to improve the protein nutrition using tropical pasture legumes. The national pasture research programme is based on a policy of finding productive pasture legumes to fit into the present edaphic and managerial environments with a minimum amount of modification to either. A range of proven pasture legumes has been introduced and screened over a range of climatic and edaphic environments. The following legumes exhibit high biological potential for well drained soils: Stylosanthes guyanensis cv. Schofield, S. humilis cv. Queensland Grown, S. humilis cv. Costal Early, S. humilis (BPI 404), Glycine wightii, Phaseolus atropurpureus cv. Siratro, Desmodium uncinatum and Leucaena leucocephala cv. Peru. The following legumes exhibit high potential for poorly drained dambo soils; S. guyanensis cv. Schofield, S. humilis cv. Queensland Grown, S. humilis cv. Costal Early, S. humilis (BPI 404) and Lotononis bainessi cv. Miles. Eleven principles of legume introduction into grazing systems are discussed.

Keywords: pasture management|pasture development|legumes|soils|climates|management|ecosystems|seasonal rainfall|livestock|nutritional constraints|dry seasons|weight losses|proteins|nutrients|pastures|biological properties

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eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119