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Semi-intensive production of meat goats in a tropical area

INRA Prod. Anim., 10(1), 43-53.


INRA Antilles-Guyane, Unité de Recherches Zootechniques, BP 515, 97165 Pointe-à-Pitre Cedex, Guadeloupe (FWI)


A semi-intensive production system was tested in Guadeloupe (FWI) with meat Creole goats grazing onDigitaria decumbens. Different experiments took place with suckling does and growing goats after weaning. The pasture was fertilized and irrigated. Does were mated 3 times in 2 years. Semi-intensive management of both animals and pastures allowed high levels of productivity per goat or per ha (1385 kg weaned kids/ha/year). Comparison between two stocking rates (SR) showed no differences in reproductive and preweaning performances. A higher preweaning mortality rate was observed for the higher SR : 10.5 vs 7.0 %. Two rotational grazing systems were compared on an age of regrowth basis, 35 vs 21 days. Leaf mass availability per goat and milk production did not differ between systems. Reduced growing performances for the 21 system (73 vs 90g/d) suggested that there was a higher gastrointestinal parasitism effect.

The association of&nbsp;Digitaria decumbens&nbsp;with&nbsp;Macroptilium artropurpureum&nbsp;did not lead to marked difference in comparison with the control&nbsp;Digitaria decumbens&nbsp;for DWG of male creole kids from 3 to 11 months&nbsp;: 35g/d. We tested a forward rotational grazing system (sequential grazing management) for the young weaned kids. Significant differences were observed in the final liveweight of the young female kids&nbsp;: 14.6&nbsp;vs&nbsp;13.1 kg LW (P<0.01) for the control and experimental groups, respectively. Very high residual herbage mass was observed at the exit of animals (3000 kg DM/ha). This might have induced a degradation of the sward canopy.

These different experiments suggest that intensive grazing systems by goats in the humid tropics involved agronomic sources of variation other than gastro-intestinal parasitism problems. Further studies are required to analyse these complex grazing systems with emphasis on different interdependant factors of variation including grazing systems, animal management, ingestion levels and parasitism incidence.

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