Effect of livestock grazing on physical properties of a cracking and self-mulching Vertisol
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Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture;49: 129-133
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/28373
The impact of grazing on physical properties of Vertisol was studied from 1996 to 2000 in the Ethiopian highlands. The study was conducted at 2 sites with 0-4 and 4-8% slopes at Tero Jemjem watershed in Ginchi, 80 km west of Addis Ababa. The objective of the study was to compare selected soil physical properties at different grazing pressures and slopes. The stocking rate was moderate grazing 1.8 animal-unit months per hectare (1.8 AUM/ha), heavy grazing 3.0 AUM/ha and a control treatment with no grazing. The result showed that heavy grazing pressure removed grass cover, which consequently enhanced soil cracking. Effect of livestock trampling on soil resistance to penetration (indicated by penetrometer readings) was higher in the heavily grazed plots than in non-grazed plots. Penetrometer readings were influenced by soil moisture content. Low moisture content was observed in the heavily grazed plots at both sites. The infiltration of accumulated water to the soil matrix was lower in heavily grazed plots.