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|Title:||SEASONAL VARIATION IN FORAGE AVAILABILTY AND GRAZING BEHAVIOUR OF CATTLE IN SELECTED PERI-URBAN AREAS IN THE NORTHERN REGION OF GHANA|
|Abstract:||A research involving six cattle herds was carried out to determine the effect of season: intermediate, peak rains and dry seasons, on characteristics of grazing lands and grazing behaviour within peri-urban areas of three selected districts, namely: Tamale Metropolis, Savelugu Municipality and Sagnarigu District in the Northen Region of Ghana. The effect of management style, that is, Fulani and Non –Fulani management styles on grazing behaviour of cattle was also investigated. Two herds each were selected from Tamale Metro, Savelugu Municipal and Sagnarigu District for study. A total of 18 cows constituting 3 per farm were selected for the behavioural studies. Grazing lands were selected based on interaction with farmers, and also, by direct observation, while biomass sampling area was selected within the main grazing zone of the pasture. The parameters measured within grazing fields were plant species, vegetation cover, status of pasture, plant height, nature of grazing fields, biomass estimates and carrying capacity. Behavioural parameters studied were proportions of total grazing time used for feeding, walking, resting, watering and social interaction. Grass (72.8%) was the dominant species group of plant in all three seasons. A greater proportion (P<0.05) of grazing lands were heavily grazed (52.6%). The highest plant height was recorded during the dry season (above 35CM) and the least (below15CM) during the intermediate season (P<0.05). The highest vegetation cover was recorded in the rainy season and the least in the dry season. Conversely, biomass yield was highest (P<0.05) in the dry season (1400 kg/ha) and least in the intermediate season (600 kg/ha). Carrying capacity naturally followed the order of biomass production. Similar proportions of time were spent feeding both in the intermediate and peak rains. These were, however, higher than the proportion in the dry season. A higher proportion of time was spent walking in the dry season (33.8%) than both intermediate (22.4%) and peak rains (15.2%). A higher proportion of time was spent feeding in non-Fulani (69.3%) than Fulani (61.5%) managed cattle. Conversely, more time was spent walking in Fulani (28.5%) than non-Fulani (18.8%) styled- management. The study concluded that, biomass was highest in the dry season while grass was the most dominant species group on natural grazing lands all year round. Cereal based crop residues formed a greater percentage of the biomass in the dry season. Season and management style had an influence on feeding, walking and resting.|
|Description:||MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN ANIMAL SCIENCE|
|Appears in Collections:||Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Sciences|
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