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Goats and/or cattle on Mopani veld.

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Abstract

The effects of running steers and Boer goats separately and together on animal performance and vegetational changes were studied in Mopani bushveld over a 6 year period. Over this period the steer alone treatment produced more livemass per hectare than the goat only and goat with steer treatments. The cumulative effect of the three treatments on Mopani veld was also determined in a 2 year post-experimental period by stocking each respective treatment with the same number of steers and goats. Over this period the steers of the camps previously stocked with goats only for a 6 year period gained 26, 5 kg more per steer than the steers run in camps previously stocked with steers only. The goats of the treatment previously stocked with steers gained 7, 3 kg more than the goats in the treatment previously stocked with goats only. The goat treatments resulted in a marked reduction in the browse and in increased growth of grass. This phenomenon had a marked influence on the outcome of the results of the trial. It was concluded that the use of both cattle and goats is desirable in order to utilize and control woody plants. A cattle:goat ratio of less than 1:2 should be applied if the goats are to attain optimum production.Keywords: animal performance; basal cover; boer goats; browse; cattle; control; goats; grass; grasses; growth; messina research station; mopani veld; performance; production; south africa; woody plants

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