One of the serious notion against goat is it destroys vegetation of an area promoting environmental damage. Most often browsing of top most leaves and slow regeneration of such leaves due to specific quality of goat saliva is given as evidence about destructive quality of goats. They are criticized as forest destroyer and reason of increasing deforestation.
Rearing of livestock and its production cost largely depends on cost of feed and fodder used for milk and meat production. Each village or area has a limitation of fodder and feed. A proper budgeting of available feed and fodder can help to determine number of livestock to be kept in that area or village or vice versa. It is evident that a systematic assessment of fodder and local feed can help in designing a pro poor livestock combinations and low cost feeding strategy as well as manage overgrazing of common resources properly.
The present document discusses an overall assessment process and discuss case study from field to evolve process and methodology to manage it properly.
Environment is broadly consists of water, soil and air apart from other biotic factors. Goat as a small animal has high capacity of water utilisation efficiency and requires water only for drinking. Unlike large ruminants like buffaloes and cows, goats did not require water for bath or body cleaning. It uses water efficiently.
Role of goat in air pollution is also very limited and insignificant. So major issue of concern revolves around vegetation and deforestation.
To assess available feed and fodder, we need to understand land area, average quality of land, rainfall and vegetation intensity.
To assess it following data is required –
- Cultivated land of the area.
- Irrigated and unirrigated area in acres.
- Type of crop grown and average production of by product.
- Major trees and trend of trees in agriculture land – Type and Size.
- Gochar or grazing lands – Area, status and average density of plants and shrubs.
- Major shrubs and trees in Gochar or grazing.
- Amount of hiils and unculturable waste land – Area, Tree density, type of trees
- Other lands like roads, canals and estimated density of trees and shrubs
Based on the above data, The Goat Trust is working on software to assess total amount of vegetative leaves and fodder available in the area season wise.
After assessing total vegetative mass in each village, populations of large and small ruminants are taken into consideration. Based on average consumption requirement fodder sufficient and scaricity are estimated.
Based on assessment a strategy is developed to use these resources effectively as different animals consume different type of feed, an estimated number of large and small ruminants that could survive on these vegetative mass is estimated.
An effective strategy based on resource availability is developed for number of goats/sheep and cows/buffaloes that could survive and status in case of low rainfall is projected.
As major competition exists on agri by product and home grown fodder between large and small ruminant (Small ruminant share in agri by product and grown fodder is less than 5% in most of area or it is actually estimated based on field observation and focused group discussion.
Strategy for increasing fodder bio mass through suitable plantation, fast growing trees, shrubs is developed along with use of waste land as grass field in rainy season by broadcasting appropriate fodder is discussed and planned in participatory process.
A special discussion of relationship between small and large livestock and agriculture is also discussed, how and what livestock contribute to increase/sustain agriculture production. Requirement of manure for agriculture farming and number of livestock required for that purpose is estimated and shared to develop a complimentary relationship between livestock farmer (in many cases landless in case of goats) and agriculture land owner. An action plan and cooperative action how can manure availability for sustainable agriculture can be ensured and how can they complement each other is discussed at village meeting to develop a combined and complementary functional relations rather than blaming each other for loss of individuals.