Grasses, Forbs or Shrubs: What do cattle eat in a dry savanna?


With a sampling event in December 2020 the field work on the research farm of University of Limpopo, South Africa, was concluded. During three dates, plant samples and cattle dung were collected to analyze forage provision and consumption in different seasons (early and late rainy season, dry season). Analysis are done via DNA-Metabarcoding and stable isotope analysis. One question is if cattle resort to forbs and shrubs during times when grasses are scarce e.g. in early rainy season. The research will eventually contribute to improved concepts for grazing management and for compensation of seasonal nutritional deficits.

The research is led under the umbrella of the SALLnet-project and led by our SALLnet subproject “Rangelands and agroforestry” . It involves close collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Potsdam, Göttingen and Bonn in Germany and the Universities of Limpopo and North West in South Africa. (Pictures: Vincent Mokoka, Charity Selaphelo, João Silva)