EFFECT OF IN-SITU GRAZING AND STOCKING DENSITY OF GOATS ON SOIL MANAGEMENT: A Southern Guinea Savanna of Nigeria Experience
AbstractThe Nigerian Savanna ecological zones are currently witnessing increasing intensities of landuse. However, as human population increases, cropping activities expand, implying that fallow periods, which were formerly used to restore soil fertility, are no longer viable for crop production and livestock grazing. Soils of the Nigerian Savanna zones are however poor in fertility status, easily degraded when used for continuous cultivation and have very low moisture retention capacity. Also, such management practices as overgrazing, removal of crop residues for livestock feed, fuel wood, and for fencing, and land preparation when the soils are dry, continue to exacerbate further soil degradation through soil erosion, crusting, and compaction, and encourage the advance of desert conditions into arable areas. This study seeks to show benefits of livestock on soil management for sustainable crop and livestock production.
Results show that sixty goats stocking density resulted in appreciable soil improvement, better than the other treatments. For example, sixty goats stocking density resulted in optimal soil moisture content (27.9cm /5cm), bulk density (1.33 Mgm-3), aeration porosity (15.3%), highest available phosphorus (8.1 mgkg-1), and total nitrogen (1.4gkg-1), to be a better soil management option than the other treatments. One hundred goats/ha stocking density resulted in 23.6 cm/ 10cm moisture content, 1.42 Mg m-3 bulk density, 16.2% macro porosity and 4.0 mgkg-1 available phosphorus, and is considered least among the treatments for sustainable soil improvement.
Nigerian Journal of Soil Science Vol.4 2003: 9-15