Preliminary results from reseeding degraded Dera Ghazi Khan rangeland to improve small ruminant production in Pakistan

TitlePreliminary results from reseeding degraded Dera Ghazi Khan rangeland to improve small ruminant production in Pakistan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsKhan M.F., Anderson D.M., Nutkani M.I., Butt N.M.
JournalSmall Ruminants Research
Date PublishedMarch 1, 1999
ARIS Log Number095739
Keywordsbehavior, forage species, Pakistan, rangeland, reseeding, Sheep and goat

Thatta Leghari rangeland in the Dera Ghazi Khan district of Pakistan covers an area of 1004 ha. Its topography is undulating, soil is calcareous and low in organic matter and supports a native standing crop of mainly unpalatable herbaceous vegetation. Due to uncontrolled grazing the range has degraded from its productive potential. Between 1992 and 1993 the native range (1004 ha) was not grazed. Then in 1992 and 1993, a 600 ha area was reseeded with two introduced grasses, Gorkha (Lasiurus sindicus) and Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris). Forage production on both the reseeded and native range was measured in 1992 and 1993 at the end of the growing season during October. Weather during these 2 years reflected the long term mean conditions with respect to temperature and distribution of precipitation. The reseeded area produced 10 times (4000 kg/ha) more forage than the native range (425 kg/ha) in 1992 and more than twice the forage (1250 kg/ha vs 534 kg/ha) in 1993, a year with 37 mm less total rainfall. Proximate analysis of the forage harvested in 1993 was determined for both treatments. Buffel grass was higher in crude protein (7.8%) than Gorkha (6.2%) and chimber (5.9%; Eleusine flagellifera) a native grass. The native shrub, lana (Salsola foetida) had a higher energy value, 2.7 Mcal/kg, than all of the other species. Daily goat and sheep diets consisted of 51% and 32% shrub, respectively, with grasses comprising the remainder. Forbs composed 35% of the sheep diet whereas, shrubs (51%) dominated the goat diets on the reseeded rangeland. Liveweight gain differed (p<0.05) between goats (34 g/day) and sheep (14 g/day). These preliminary results indicate that reseeding may be an important intervention for Pakistan rangeland improvement, for improving nutrition for small ruminants.