Identification of forage and non-forage species on grazing areas.
Dear readers, it is important to know the botanical composition of the plant species present on the surfaces intended for feeding cattle, since, as we have mentioned in various articles there are plants that are considered undesirable or of little nutritional value in animal nutrition. Therefore, by identifying the species it is possible to determine if any of them is harmful competing for light, space and nutrients with the pastures or otherwise does not bring any benefit to the ecosystem or the animal.
Let us begin by pointing out that the botanical composition is only the percentage of plant species found in an ecosystem or plant community.
On the other hand, currently there is also talk of species that can generate some benefit to the ecosystem called arvenses, among the benefits is the contribution of protein, nitrogen fixation to the soil among other aspects of importance for the system, therefore we consider that the first step to determine if we apply the control of any plant present on the surface is to make a diagnosis and thus implement a species of plant inventory where the species present are reflected, in this way we will be sure of the type of plants that share the productive space with our pastures, since each pasture presents its own dynamics and group of plants.
In consideration of the above, at the Samaria farm located in the South of Lake Maracaibo owned by friend Ernesto Machado, it was decided to determine the botanical composition in the areas intended for grazing, to know in this way the diversity of plants present, for it was implemented a very simple method known as the method of the steps that consists of making diagonals in the paddock in Zig-Zag and the observations are made every 8 steps if they are large extensions, we take record of the plant species that coincides with the tip of the footwear at the end of the 8 steps. This allows to identify and determine in percentage the coverage of the plant, in this opportunity will be referenced as the identification and the name species found.
For the identification of the species were collected those that presented better vegetative state, with the aim of pressing them in a wooden press and the botanical sample was placed inside a sheet of newspaper, the leaves of the plant were placed one to the beam and the other to the underside to appreciate well its characteristics, all the plants that were collected possessed their vegetative parts (leaves, stems, root), in addition to flowers and/or fruits as the case may be. The samples of the vegetative material were transferred to the UNESUR Chemical Analysis laboratory for identification.
With the help of specialists in the field of botany and the consultation of herbaria, photographs and bibliographic material, 35 plant species were identified. It is worth mentioning that most of the families found in the Samaria farm are considered not fodder, except for some fabaceae and poaceae that can provide good nutritional artibutos to ruminants in terms of protein intake, Among the forage species we find the following: Cynodon nlemfuensis, Panicum maximum, Echinochloa polystachya, Brachiaria arrecta, Arachis pintoi, Ixophorus unisetus.
In the image above you can see some of the plant species that make up the forage surface, these results agree with those obtained by Amado and Sanchez (2010), when they made the identification of the plant species present in the hacienda the Chiquinquira located also in the southern region of the lake, which makes us infer in spite of the fact that other diagnoses must be made that there is a high possibility that on the forage surfaces of the region any of the identified species can be evidenced.
Dear readers, the method described allows us to identify plant species in a simple way, especially when a forage or non-food species is known to the naked eye, which will allow us to make wise decisions for management and control. If you want to know some of the species mentioned above, we invite you to review some of our articles whose thematic series is called Factsheet arvenses.
Thank you for staying until the end.
- Amado, C. y Sánchez, A. (2010). Identification of weeds present in grasslands located in the research unit la Chiquinquirá. Undergraduate degree work not published. National University Experimental South of Lake Jesús María Semprum, Venezuela.
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