MEANING OF RANGELAND AND PASTURE
A rangeland is an extensive area of land which contains forage grasses and legumes and other herbage plants where animals like cattle, sheep and goat can graze. The forage plants such as the grasses and legumes used for grazing by the farm animals are called Pasture.
IMPORTANCE OF RANGE-LAND
(i) Rangeland provides food for livestock, especially ruminants
(ii) Grasses and legumes in the rangeland, when cut at early flowering stages of growth, can be preserved in the form of hay or silage.
(iii) Rangeland allows animals to exercise their body.
(iv) The animals have access to varieties of forage, thus eating balanced feed.
(v) Rangeland reduces the cost feeding animals, especially ruminants.
(vi) Rangeland increases infiltration and percolation of water, thereby reducing run-off and soil erosion
(vii) Dead plant materials from rangeland build up the fertility of the soil
(viii) Rangeland affords animals the opportunity for mating without the supervision of the livestock attendant
(ix) Rangeland also provides adequate nutrients to the soil through legumes which fix nitrogen into the soil by the bacteria in their root nodules
FACTORS OF PRODUCTION IN AGRICULTURE
CHARACTERISTICS OF RANGELAND
(i) It contains high quality grasses and legumes
(ii) It contains no weed except some plants for shades
(iii) Selected grasses and legumes are grown in adequate proportion
(iv) It has a high regenerative ability after being fed on by animals
(v) It can withstand trampling by farm animals
(vi) It is properly managed for high productivity of the forage crops, e.g fertilization, irrigation and rotational grazing.
COMMON GRASSES OF LIVESTOCK IN RANGELAND
Common name Botanical name
1 Elephant grass Pennisetum purpureum
2 Guinea grass Panicum maximum
3 Giant star grass Cynodon plectostchyum
4 Carpet grass Axonopus compressus
5 Spear grass Imperata cylindrical
6 Bahama grass Cynodon dactylon
7 Northern gamba Andropogon gayanus
8 Southern gamba Andropogon tectorum
COMMON LEGUMES OF LIVESTOCK IN RANGELAND
Common name Botanical name
1 Centro Centrosema pubescens
2 Stylo Stylosanthes gracilis
3 Kudzu or puero Pureraria phascoloides
4 Calopo Calopogonium mucunoides
5 Mucuna Mucuna utilis
6 Sun hemp Crotalaria juncea
FACTORS AFFECTING THE LEVEL OF PRODUCTION OF HERBAGE
Factors which affect the level of productivity of herbage include:
(1) Rainfall: Rainfall is needed for the continuous growth of grasses and legumes. Rainfall helps to dissolve nutrients and make it available to pasture plants.
(2) Grass and Legumes Mixture: Pasture or rangeland should include a mixture of grasses and legumes because legumes help to increase the fertility of the soil for rapid growth of the grasses.
(3) Grazing: The range should be carefully planned to ensure adequate grazing should be adopted to provide opportunity for the grazed plants to regenerate. Overgrazing, a condition whereby there are too many animals on a piece of grassland feeding on the herbage should be avoided.
(4) Removal of Trees: Trees within the rangeland should be cut off since they can provide shade that might prevent grasses and legumes from receiving adequate sunlight. This can reduce the productivity of herbage
(5) Fertility of the soil: The soil on which herbage plants grow must be fertile so that their production can be enhanced
(6) Control of weeds: for herbage plants to improve their productivity, weeds must be removed from the rangeland regularly, since they compete with herbage plants for nutrients, space and sunlight
(7) Avoidance of overstocking: The correct number of animals should be allowed to graze a specified area of pasture
METHODS OF RANGE LAND AND PASTURE IMPROVEMENT
To ensure the continuous availability of grasses and legumes, it is necessary to adopt some management principles that would lead to the improvement of rangeland and pasture. Such principles are:
(1) Controlled Stocking: This refers to the situation whereby the correct number of animals are allowed to graze a particular area of land. An adequate stocking rate should be maintained as overstocking could lead to deterioration of the rangeland.
(2) Reseeding: This involves replanting of seeds of forage crops on a depleting rangeland. When animals have grazed a lot on a rangeland, the crops may start to show signs of dying off, then reseeding becomes necessary. The farmer should improve on the range by broadcasting new seeds and allowing the rangeland to rest. Reseeding is most beneficial where rotational grazing is practiced.
(3) Legume and Grass Mixture: In a natural grassland without legumes, the farmer may improve it by introducing legume seeds into the rangeland. Legumes provide protein for animals and also add nutrients to the soil. Once the legume and grass mixture has been established, it should be maintained. Legumes such as: pueraria, Centrosema and stylosanthes can be used
(4) Paddocking: Paddocking involves dividing the rangeland into a number of plots or sections with fences. The animals normally feed on each section on a rotational basis. This allows for good regeneration of forage crops and prevents the pests and diseases build-up. It also prevents selective grazing of grasses and legumes. While the animals are grazing on one section, others will be at rest. The farmer may cut forage for hay and silage from the resting rangeland.
(5) Avoidance of Overgrazing: Overgrazing involves constant grazing and cutting of forage crops such that the crops start to die and the land becomes bare. Overgrazing and overstocking should be avoided as it leads to the destruction of rangeland and erosion. It also leads to overgrazing and soil pulverization.
(6) Use of Fertilizers: Fertilizers should be applied to rangeland plants. This ensures enough foliage formation for grazing and silage preparation. Compound fertilizers e.g. N.P.K should be applied once every year or two.
(7) Pest Control: In order to destroy some pests of crops and animals, it may be necessary to spray the rangeland with suitable pesticides. This ensures that the rangeland is pest-free. It reduces the rate of disease spread.
(8) Controlled Burning: This aids regeneration of forage crops. It also sanitizes the rangeland, i.e. by getting rid of weeds, seeds, disease organisms and pests. It adds some nutrients e.g. potassium to the soil
(9) Irrigation: Rangeland should be irrigated especially during dry season to ensure an all-year round availability of fresh and succulent grasses.
HERE YOU WILL FIND EVERY AVAILABLE TOPICS ABOUT AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND BIOLOGY. AND THE LINKS TO THEIR VARIOUS SOURCES.
1. DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE
2. IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE
3. SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE
4. COMMERCIAL AGRICULTURE
5. PROBLEM OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
6. SOLUTIONS TO POOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
7. AGRICULTURAL LAWS AND REFORMS
8. ROLES OF GOVERNMENT IN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
9. AGRICULTURAL POLICIES
10. PROGRAM PLANNING IN AGRICULTURE
35. WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
39. BIOLOGICAL FACTORS
42. CLIMATIC FACTORS AFFECTING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
47. SOLAR RADIATION
48. BIOTIC FACTOR AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
52. SOIL MICRO-ORGANISMS
53. SOIL PH
54. ROCK FORMATION
55. IGNEOUS ROCK
56. SEDIMENTARY ROCKS
58. SOIL AND ITS FORMATION
59. FACTORS OF SOIL FORMATION
60. LIVING ORGANISM
61. PARENT MATERIALS
62. SOIL FORMATION TOPOGRAPHY
63. PROCESS OF SOIL FORMATION
65. PHYSICAL WEATHERING
66. CHEMICAL WEATHERING
73. BIOLOGICAL WEATHERING
75. SOIL WATER
80. SANDY SOIL CLAY SOIL LOAMY SOIL
83. SOIL TEXTURE
85. RETENTION OF WATER BY VARIOUS SOIL TYPES
soil improvement techniques
90. MACRO NUTRIENTS IN GENERAL
112. THE MAINTENANCE OF SOIL FERTILITY
113. CROP ROTATION
118. FARMING PRACTICES
119. BUSH BURNING CLEARING
121. FERTILIZER APPLICATION
122. ORGANIC MANURING FARM YARD MANURE
126. CROP ROTATION
133. FARM POWER AND MACHINERY
134. SOURCES OF FARM POWER
135. HUMAN SOURCE
142. FIELD MACHINES
164. SIMPLE FARM TOOLS
165. AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION
166. THE CONCEPT OF MECHANIZATION