Tropical Grasslands (2006) Volume 40, 79–83

Seed in the faeces of ruminant animals grazing native pastures under semi-intensive management in Nigeria

A.O. JOLAOSHO, J.A. OLANITE, O.S. ONIFADE AND A.O. OKE

Department of Pasture and Range Management, College of Animal Science and Livestock Production, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

Abstract

An experiment was conducted on natural pasture in the derived zone of humid Nigeria at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, to determine the numbers and germination of seeds recovered from the faeces of grazing ruminants under a semi-intensive management system in the wet seasons (June–September) of 1999–2001. Two breeds each of 3 types of ruminants, namely: White Fulani and N’dama cattle, Yankasa and West African Dwarf sheep and Red Sokoto and West African Dwarf goats were used in the factorial experiment. Cattle voided the highest number of seeds/g dry weight of faeces, mean figures overall being 1.8 for cattle, 0.4 for sheep and 0.8 for goats. Differences were greatest in 2001, when levels in August–September exceeded those in June–July. Germination rates in recovered seed were 5% for cattle, 32% for sheep and 28% for goats. A total of 17 species were identified from germinated seedlings with 13 species for cattle, 9 for sheep and 5 for goats. Reasons for the lower germination rates for seed from cattle and the low seed numbers in faeces are discussed.

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