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Sheep and Goat Corralling Density Effect on Soil Properties and Weed Species Diversity of Arable Lands

Abdul Rahman, N., Larbi, A., Opoku, A., Tetteh, F. M.
Agricultural research 2019 v.8 no.1 pp. 125-131
Lixisols, agroecology, arable soils, bulk density, exchangeable potassium, fallow, farmers, farms, goats, grasses, microbial carbon, microbial nitrogen, pH, phosphorus, porosity, savannas, sheep, soil fertility, soil properties, species richness, stocking rate, total nitrogen, weeds, Ghana, Sudan
The hypothesis that livestock corralling improves soil properties and weed species richness was investigated in a 2-year on-farm trial conducted in Sudan savanna agro-ecology of Ghana. The effect of three stocking densities of sheep and goats corralling (0, 70 and 140 head ha⁻¹) on soil properties and weed species diversity was evaluated in a randomized complete block design with eight replicates. Sheep and goats weighing 27 ± 2.0 and 24 ± 1.5 kg, respectively, were corralled on fallow arable lands from 19: 00 to 06: 00 GMT hours daily for 178 nights during 2014 and 2015 cropping seasons. Soil parameters measured include pH, organic carbon (OC), total nitrogen, available phosphorus, exchangeable potassium, microbial biomass carbon, microbial biomass nitrogen, soil microbial quotient, earthworm cast, bulk density, porosity, and moisture. Soil properties and weed species diversity increased (P < 0.01) with sheep and goats corralling relative to the control. Broadleaf and sedge species were positively correlated with soil OC while the grass was positively correlated with soil OC, microbial biomass carbon, bulk density, and porosity. The results suggest that crop-livestock farmers could corral 70 head ha⁻¹ sheep and goats for soil fertility amendment on Ferric Lixisol in Sudan savanna agro-ecology of West Africa and similar agro-ecologies.