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Tropentag 2023, September 20 - 22, Berlin, Germany

"Competing pathways for equitable food systems transformation: trade-offs and synergies."

Grazing behaviour of the endemic lagune cattle in sub-humid savannah of Benin

Elie Sonon, Bossima Ivan Koura, Armand Bienvenu Gbangboche

National University of Agriculture, Management and Exploitation of Livestock Systems, Benin


The indigenous Lagune cattle , a trypanotolerant breed, is a good candidate when searching for a sustainable breed to meet the ongoing environmental changes. The breed could be kept like small ruminants, tethered in grasslands, or free grazing. Objectives. A study was conducted to assess the grazing behaviour of Lagune cattle under two grazing systems, free grazing and tethered. Two farms in free-roaming and 02 others in the tethered system were selected, in the original belt of the Lagune cattle, the agroecological zones of Valley and Pobe. The step-point method was used to assess species diversity in the grazing lands through their frequency and specific contribution. 03 cows were monitored while grazing during 03 consecutive days in each farm. The grazing itinerary and grazing activities were registered allowing to calculate grazing length and duration. In the two AEZs, 133 plant species belonging to 27 families were recorded. The Lagune diet consisted mainly of herbs; a total of 23 forage species from 14 families were grazed. Most of the species belong to the families of Poaceaes (34.78%), Convolvulaceaes (8.7%), and Euphorbiaceaes (8.7%). Fats contributed significantly (p<0.001) less to the diet in the free grazing system (59.84%) than in Tethered one (70.70%). Panicum maximum (16.22%) and Mariscus cylindristachyus (12.32%) contributed the most to the diet. The study suggests that Lagune cattle are grazers, and free grazing allows better utilisation of the forage species and the best growth performances. Further studies could investigate diet selection and nutritional balance of the indigenous Lagune cattle.

Keywords: Average daily gain, forage selection, genetic resources conservation, intake, sustainability, West Africa

Contact Address: Elie Sonon, National University of Agriculture, Management and Exploitation of Livestock Systems, Ketou, Benin, e-mail: sononelie59@gmail.com

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