African Journal of Range and Forage Science 2021-12-13T14:21:04+00:00 Publishing Manager Open Journal Systems The African Journal of Range &amp; Forage Science is the leading rangeland and pastoral journal in Africa. The Journal is dedicated to publishing quality original material that advances rangeland ecology and pasture management in Africa. <br /><p><strong></strong>Read more abou the journal <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> Disease surveillance and farmers’ knowledge of <i>Brachiaria</i> (Syn. <i>Urochloa</i>) grass diseases in Rwanda 2021-12-13T10:43:13+00:00 Bellancile Uzayisenga Mupenzi Mutimura James W. Muthomi Agnes W. Mwang’ombe Sita R. Ghimire <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p><em>Brachiaria </em>(syn. <em>Urochloa</em>) is one of the most important tropical forages grass of African origin. Its performance is affected by different constraints, including diseases. This study assessed the distribution, incidence and severity of <em>Brachiaria</em> diseases and documented farmers’ knowledge on <em>Brachiaria</em> diseases in Rwanda. Surveys were conducted in five districts in the dry and wet seasons of 2018 and 2019. Fungi associated with major diseases were isolated and identified based on internal transcribed spacer sequences. The demographic information and farmers’ knowledge of <em>Brachiaria</em> diseases and yield loss were collected using structured questionnaire. Surveys revealed widespread distribution of leaf blight, leaf rust and leaf spot diseases in Rwanda. Incidence and severity of these diseases differed significantly by districts, seasons and district × season interactions; the exception was the non-significant effect of season and district × season interactions on rust incidence in 2018. Molecular identification revealed <em>Phakopsora apoda</em> as a provisional leaf rust pathogen, and frequent association of fungi <em>Epicoccum</em> spp. and <em>Nigrospora</em> spp. with leaf blight, and <em>Bipolaris secalis</em> and <em>Fusarium</em> spp. with leaf spot symptoms. This study provides baseline information for future studies on <em>Brachiaria</em> diseases and recognises diseases as a major challenge to sustainable production of <em>Brachiaria</em> grass in Rwanda and East Africa.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Response of improved <i>Brachiaria (Urochloa)</i> grass cultivars to foliar diseases and their agronomic performances in Rwanda 2021-12-13T10:57:58+00:00 Bellancile Uzayisenga Mupenzi Mutimura James W. Muthomi Agnes W. Mwang’ombe Sita R. Ghimire <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Diseases have emerged as one of the major challenges of <em>Brachiaria</em> production in Africa. Nine <em>Brachiaria</em> cultivars were evaluated for leaf rust, leaf spot and leaf blight diseases and agronomic performances in two agro-ecological zones of Rwanda. The relationships between agronomic traits and area under diseases progress curve (AUDPC) were determined using Pearson correlation analysis. Cultivars differed significantly (p ≤ 0.05) for their response to these three diseases. Basilisk, Marandu, MG4, and Xaraes exhibited moderately resistant to resistant response to all three diseases, but Cayman and Cobra were susceptible to leaf rust. Site × cultivar × harvest interaction was significant for diseases and agronomic parameters (p ≤ 0.05). Cultivars also differed significantly for biomass production and dry matter content (p ≤ 0.05). The highest biomass producers were Marandu and Xaraes, and Cayman, Cobra and Piata had highest dry matter content. The AUDPC for leaf rust and leaf spot had negative and significant correlation with biomass yield. Our study concludes a satisfactory level of resistance in Basilisk, Marandu, MG4 and Xaraes to all three foliar disease in Rwanda. We recommend routine surveys for emerging and re-emerging <em>Brachiaria</em> diseases and studies to develop effective management measures against <em>Brachiaria</em> diseases.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Calibration and evaluation of the Sustainable Grazing Systems pasture model for predicting native grass aboveground biomass production in southern Africa 2021-12-13T11:07:51+00:00 Walter Svinurai Abubeker Hassen Eyob Tesfamariam Abel Ramoelo Brendan Cullen <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Simulation modelling of grass biomass production has gained huge attention since the early 2000s, but it has rarely been applied to southern African rangelands, due to limited data availability for model calibration and evaluation. This study was conducted to calibrate the Sustainable Grazing Systems (SGS) pasture model using measured and sourced data, to assess the reliability of model predicted biomass against field measured- and remotely sensed- grass aboveground biomass. Parameter sets were developed for crest-, mid- and foot-slope land types, and <em>Urochloa mosambicensis</em> and <em>Eragrostis curvula</em> grass species. Short- and long-term simulation experiments for all combinations of land types and grass species were conducted to calibrate and evaluate the model, respectively. The model simulated a growth pattern typical for grasses native to local rangelands. The SGS model represented measured grass biomass moderately well (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.57) at reasonable average error (RMSE, 820 kg DM ha<sup>−1</sup>), despite huge discrepancy in measured (mean = 3 877 kg DM ha<sup>−1</sup>) and simulated (mean = 3 071 kg DM ha<sup>−1</sup>) biomass. Model predictions were also significantly correlated with remotely sensed grass biomass (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.46) at reasonable overall performance error (RMSE, 981 kg DM ha<sup>−1</sup>). The integrated workflow developed for calibrating and evaluating the pasture simulation model can benefit model users in data-constrained environments.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Modelled effects of grazing strategies on native grass production, animal intake and growth in Brahman steers 2021-12-13T11:16:39+00:00 Walter Svinurai Abubeker Hassen Eyob Tesfamariam Abel Ramoelo <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Inadequate information about the long-term effects of grazing strategies on native grass production and animal growth poses limitations to sustainable management of beef cattle. A 20-year simulation study was conducted using the Sustainable Grazing Systems model to analyse implications of different stocking rates (SRs) and simple rotational grazing systems (SRGSs) for rangeland-based Brahman steers. Simulations included three SRGSs (two, three and four paddocks per herd) and four SRs that were compared for their effects on grass production, dry matter intake (DMI) and live weight gain (LWG). Stocking rates included a recommended SR of 10 ha livestock unit (LU)<sup>−1</sup>, 30% high (7 ha LU<sup>−1</sup>) and, 50% and 100% low (15 and 20 ha LU<sup>−1</sup>), respectively, SR. Overall, there were no observable differences in the long-term response of grass production and DMI to all treatments for SRGS and SR. In addition, effects of SRGSs on animal production were almost similar across treatments in short and long timeframes, but differential responses of LWG to SRs were more pronounced regardless of time. These findings provide a useful criterion for choosing effective SRs to achieve sustained grass and animal production with lowest risk.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Changes in vegetation structure, aboveground biomass and soil quality in response to traditional grazing land management practices in the central highlands of Ethiopia 2021-12-13T11:23:58+00:00 Teklu Wegi Abubeker Hassen Melkamu Bezabih Adugna Tolera <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Despite shrinking pastureland in the central highlands of Ethiopia, as a result of cropping, there has been little detailed work to evaluate effects of traditional grazing land management practices on vegetation and soil attributes. This study aimed to quantify vegetation structure, aboveground biomass yield and soil quality, as a result of the impact of enclosure and open access management practices by using a sampling quadrat. Aboveground biomass yield for the grass species was 17.6 and 31.2% higher, respectively, for the highland and mid-highland agro-ecologies for enclosed areas, compared with open-access grazing. Andropogon amethystinus (Important value index (IVI) = 86.9) and Pennisetum thunbergii (IVI = 79.2), the most dominant and highest density, found in the enclosed areas decreased from open access grazing land and replaced by more resistant to continuous heavy grazing, like Eleusine floccifolia (IVI = 125.7) in the mid-highland area. Herbaceous species richness was better in open access grazing land than the enclosed areas. Soil quality parameters, such as total nitrogen, available phosphorous, calcium, sodium and cation exchange capacity, were significantly higher for enclosed areas than open access practice. In conclusion, enclosed areas performed greater in most of the parameters considered than open access grazing land management practices at both agro-ecologies.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Assessment of soil surface scarification and reseeding with sulla (<i>Hedysarum coronarium<i> L.) of degraded Mediterranean semi-arid rangelands 2021-12-13T13:20:25+00:00 Slim Slim Mounir Louhaichi Mouldi Gamoun Serkan Ates Sawsan Hassan Oumeima Ben Romdhane Azaiez Ouled Belgacem <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Climate change and degradation of natural resources pose daunting challenges in arid and semi-arid rangelands of southern Mediterranean region. Overcoming these challenges requires considerable management actions efforts. In this context, the current two-year (2017/2018 and 2018/2019) study investigated the effects of soil surface scarification and reseeding of rangelands with sulla (<em>Hedysarum coronarium</em> L.) on botanical composition, biomass production, water productivity and pastoral value in the Sbaihia community, Tunisia. The experimental design consisted of a randomised complete block design with six replications. The treatments were: (i) soil surface superficial scarification; (ii) reseeding sulla following soil scarification; and, (iii) control. Despite the relatively important interannual variation, the highest aboveground net primary production (2 307 and 5 330 kg dry matter ha<sup>−1</sup>), water productivity (9.5 and 11.8 kg DM mm<sup>−1</sup>), and pastoral value (2 099 and 4 853 forage units ha<sup>−1</sup>) values were recorded in the rangelands reseeded with sulla in both growing seasons. Sulla contribution in the species composition of reseeded rangelands increased from 1.7% in 2018 to 2% in 2019. Although soil surface scarification increased the vegetation cover, its effect on biomass production was not significant. Therefore, combined soil scarification and reseeding well-adapted native forage species has a great potential to improve productivity of semi-arid rangelands.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Biogeographical patterns of grasses (Poaceae) indigenous to South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini 2021-12-13T11:41:55+00:00 Marike Trytsman Francuois L. Muller Craig D. Morris Abraham E. van Wyk <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>The ecological and economical importance of African grasses in sustaining animal production prompted studies to quantify the wealth of grass genetic resources indigenous to southern Africa. Plant collection and occurrence data were extracted from two southern African datasets, BODATSA and PHYTOBAS, and analysed to establish biogeographical patterns in the grass flora indigenous to South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini. A total of 1 648 quarter degree grid cells, representing 674 grass species, were used in an agglomerative hierarchical clustering to determine biogeographical units being referred to as grasschoria. Six distinct groups formed, mainly following existing biome vegetation units, termed the Grassland, Indian Ocean Coastal Belt, Fynbos, Savanna, Central Arid Region and Succulent Karoo grasschoria. The description focuses on associated phytochoria, floristic links, key species, climate and soil properties. The main gradient distinguishing grasschoria was a rainfall-temperature gradient. The collection, conservation and breeding of pasture grass species adapted to especially arid and semi-arid environments, could be managed more efficiently by using these results, but also calling on the need to describe and label infraspecific genetic variants, including ecotypes.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Goat feeds and feeding practises in a semi-arid smallholder farming system in Zimbabwe 2021-12-13T11:54:44+00:00 Takudzwa Charambira Shelton M. Kagande Irenie Chakoma Gwinyai Chibaira Prisca H. Mugabe <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>This study was conducted to identify the available goat feed resources for smallholder farmers in the semi-arid region of Zimbabwe. An ecological rangeland assessment was combined with participatory research methods to determine the diversity of feed resources in two wards of the Beitbridge District, namely Chamunangana and Joko. One hundred and twenty households were surveyed. All farmers depended on rangeland as the main feed resource. Some 87% of the respondents indicated that rangeland was not adequate, yet only 54% practiced supplementation. Participants predominantly used crop residues (40%), browse tree foliage (28%) and commercial feeds (22%) as supplements. Of the 46% who did not apply supplements, 53% attributed this to unavailability of feeding material and 29% were not aware of the importance, whereas the rest thought it unnecessary. Farmers in Chamunangana and those who milked their goats were more likely to supplement feed (p &lt; 0.05). Respondents who supplemented had received training in goat husbandry (p &lt; 0.05). The Shannon–Wiener diversity index (H′) was higher in Chamunangana (1.29), compared with Joko (1.19). There was no difference in biomass production between the study sites (p &gt; 0.05). Improved goat nutrition could be achieved through farmer trainings in goat husbandry and incorporating available feeds into balanced rations.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Nutritional quality of <i>Calobota sericea</i> fodders: A preliminary assessment 2021-12-13T12:09:59+00:00 Francuois L. Müller Clement F. Cupido Igshaan M. Samuels <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>This study aimed to provide preliminary information regarding the nutritional quality of <em>Calobota sericea</em>, a preferred perennial legume forage species from the water-limited rangelands of South Africa. <em>Calobota sericea</em> plant samples were collected from the Namaqualand rangelands in the wet and dry season and analysed for secondary compounds, fibre, protein and mineral nutrient content. The results from the fibre analyses were used to determine the digestibility and energy content of fodders. Preliminary results indicate that <em>C. sericea</em> fodders are of better nutritional quality in the wet season and that protein content, digestibility and energy content is sufficient for maintenance of lambs and dry ewes. The energy content, however, was not sufficient for maintenance of pregnant and lactating ewes. Furthermore, certain mineral nutrients (Na, P and K) were not found in sufficient concentrations in this species, and it was thus suggested that further investigation is needed into whether fertilisation could potentially improve the protein, digestibility and mineral nutrient content of <em>C. sericea</em> fodders.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Germination performance of different forage grass species at different salinity (NaCl) concentrations 2021-12-13T12:23:47+00:00 M. Mangwane I.C. Madakadze F.V. Nherera-Chokuda S. Dube M. Mndela <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Certain grasses show potential for the rehabilitation of coalmine spoils. Species selection and evaluation are used to guide the choice of the most appropriate grass species. This study evaluated the germination performance of seven forage grass species, with some represented by two varieties, under varying salinity conditions of 0 (distilled H<sub>2</sub>O), 100, 200, 400, 600, 800 and 1 000 mS m<sup>−1</sup> of NaCl. Cumulative germination, final germination percentage (FG%), and time taken to reach 50% of the final germination (T<sub>50</sub>) were determined for each species–treatment combination. Species × salinity interaction was significant (p &lt; 0.01) for cumulative germination, FG% and T<sub>50</sub>. Cumulative germination increased gradually up to 17 days and thereafter declined. The highest FG% for all grass species was attained under distilled water (0 mS m<sup>−1</sup>), ranging from 38% to 94%, and declined significantly (p &lt; 0.01) with an increase in salinity. T<sub>50</sub> increased with increasing salinity for all grass species. <em>Eragrostis curvula</em> var. Ermelo and <em>Lolium multiflorum</em> var. Archie were the quickest to germinate and attained significantly (p &lt; 0.01) higher values of FG%, of 45% and 50%, respectively, at 600 mS m<sup>−1</sup>, indicating higher salt tolerance than the other species. Overall, increasing salinity reduced the germination performance of all grass species tested; however, Archie and Ermelo showed higher potential for rehabilitation of coalmine spoils irrigated with saline water.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) Comparison of three soil health indicators between different vegetative strip compositions 2021-12-13T12:44:08+00:00 Robyn Nicolay Simon Jeffery Nicola Randall <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="section"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Contemporary evidence shows biotic factors play a prominent role in the soil health and the provision of soil functions. Herbaceous grassland species differ in their modulation of soil communities, effects on soil components, as well the processes they interact with or regulate. In this study, we aimed to investigate the impact of different plant species communities on soil health, as quantified by soil physical (water infiltration), chemical (soil organic matter) and biological (Collembola community data) indicators. Data was collected from an existing long-term field trial in the UK, planted to either forb-dominated composition, grass species dominated composition or a multipurpose mixture of forb and grass species. Results showed that plant community can determine soil water infiltration rates, particularly with observed increased soil organic matter (SOM) and epigeic Collembola abundances. The results presented here add evidence that plant communities planted as vegetative buffer strips can be specifically tailored to support soil health development and maintenance.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> 2021-12-13T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c)