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How to carry out Zero Grazing

The Planet Earth Primer offers useful information on zero-grazing. They explain, "zero-grazing means keeping animals in a stall, and bringing fodder to them instead of allowing them to graze outside. It is also sometimes called "cut-and-carry". The description below is about how to keep dairy cattle using zero-grazing. It is an intensive system that produces a lot of milk from a small amount of land."


"Zero-grazing can also be used with goats and sheep. They can be kept in a shed with a slatted wood or bamboo floor raised about 1 m above the ground. The droppings fall through the slats into a pit beneath the shed. They can then be carried away to be used as fertilizer." 
 

Location
The Planet Earth Primers also explains that "zero-grazing is especially useful in areas where land is scarce. It requires a reliable source of food and sufficient labour to cut and carry the feed" and there are a few advantages and disadvantages to using this method. 

Advantages

  • Zero-grazing reduces the number of pests (especially ticks and intestinal worms), since the animals do not graze on infested pastures.
  • It allows the intensive use of land for growing fodder, and maximizes the use of the available land.
  • It reduces damage to crops caused by grazing cattle.

Disadvantages

  • This method requires labour to cut and carry the feed and to fetch water.
  • Building and maintaining the shed and pit take money and labour.

Requirements

  • Building materials for the cattle shed (wood, cement, sand, gravel, posts and roofing).
  • Field to grow fodder. 

Source: Planet Earth Primer, "Farm Animal Livestock: Zero-Grazing".

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Zero grazing can be a good source of income if practiced properly. However many farmers do not know how to go about it. For more details on zero grazing visit http://livestockkenya.com/index.php/cattle/189-tips-to-a-profitable-zero...

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