Karoo grazing experiment update

After years of experiments, farmer Andr� Lund champions ultra-high-intensity strip grazing in the Karoo. Roelof Bezuidenhout finds out why.
Issue date: 18 April 2008

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After several years of experimenting with an ultra-high stock-density grazing system on his Beaufort West farm, Elandsfontein, André Lund is totally convinced it’s feasible, sustainable and economically sound in the Karoo. “It can also be used as a strategic aid in fast-growing veld after good rains, to help restore the ecology and build quality fodder reserves for the next season,” says Lund.

Last year the tiny experimental plots were grazed by 236 mature livestock units (MLU), consisting of cattle, sheep and goats. This was after a rest period in which strips of veld were rested for between 17 and 24 months.

According to Lund, it was very dry during the preceding grazing period. “During the 20 months between February 2006 and September 2007 we received only 218mm. However, the situation changed dramatically towards the end of October 2007, and by the end of December we had measured 116mm. So we could start 2008 with the veld full of seed.”

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Despite the drought he recorded good grazing figures – 70 MLU/day/ha on low potential strips and up to 113 day/ha on better areas. “This was done after an extended rest period, but it’s still many times what conventional grazing management can achieve,” Lund concludes.

“We needed only a limited amount of supplementation, using licks and old man saltbush. We had no stock losses, with the animals maintaining relatively good body condition.”
Contact André Lund on 082 719 2030. |fw