Vol.7 No.1 (2012)


Mutsamba, E.F. (1,*), Nyagumbo, I (2). and Mafongoya, P.L (1).

The maintenance of a permanent organic soil cover using crop residues under conservation agriculture in Zimbabwe is limited by the competing use of residues as livestock feed. To help address this challenge, this study evaluated the effectiveness of repellents as a management option for protecting crop residues from grazing cattle during dry seasons. Initial on-station trials at Domboshawa, Zimbabwe, in 2009 demonstrated the potential of cow dung, goat droppings, chilli, dry tobacco dust and soaked tobacco as possible cattle repellents and optimum application rates of 3000, 500, 400, 1200 and 300 kg/ha, respectively, were established. These were then tested on farmers’ fields at Hereford, an area with high biomass production and Madziwa with low biomass production. It became apparent that at Hereford, after 5 weeks, cow dung, soaked tobacco and tobacco scrap treatments, retained significantly (P < 0.05) higher residue amounts of 66.4, 64.5 and 60.7% respectively, compared to the untreated control with 49.7%. On the other hand, at Madziwa, all residues were consumed within three days, irrespective of treatment. The study thus demonstrated that these repellents can be used to protect crop residues from livestock grazing in areas with high biomass production offering alternative feed but ineffective in areas with acute shortage of alternative feed. The study opens a new avenue for crop residue control in crop-livestock systems.

Key words: maize residues, moisture conservation, non-consumption period.


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Author Contact

1. Department of Soil Science & Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, PO Box MP167, Mt
Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
2. CIMMYT, PO Box MP163, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe

*Corresponding author:



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