Sunday, September 25, 2016

Free Range Livestock, by Cory

Free-range livestock is one of Haiti's biggest agricultural/environmental problem.

Most of the reforestation efforts would be irrelevant since birds or wind drop seeds everywhere but livestock graze off the new seedlings, keeping hillsides bare and eroding.

Walking by gardens it is common to see damage from livestock.

Overgrazing unmanaged pasture is the norm, with soil compacted or eroded.

Rotational grazing of improved pasture or cut-and-carry of feed could result in a huge increase of productivity.

The reality here is that forage is scarce and any garden with ground cover (ours is to improve/protect the soil) is tempting to livestock and their owners.

Part of the reason we intercropped sugar cane was to distract any livestock, not if, but when, they get into the garden

Last week we caught a small calf that had been roaming the area and feeding in our largest new garden from time to time for more than a week.

Unfortunately the share cropper was working in other fields most of the time, planting peanuts.

I visited the garden with the guys to photograph the damage before they would wait for the cow to come but it came as we finished the photos.

It wasn't hard to catch, and looked too thin, probably ill.

 It was brought to the local authority and a small fine set for the damages.

We haven't heard yet if he paid the fine to get the calf back.

 He had been warned several times by us and the share cropper to tie up the calf.

The calf only mowed off one peach palm tree,  it just wandered throughout the garden, partly defoliating several dozen trees.

Oddly, it ignored the sugar cane. It also tended to avoid the trees sprayed with deer repellent, but the ants or other insects have eaten some of the repellent so it doesn't look like it will last long (mostly vegetable oil, blood, and herbs, sprayed on underside of leaves, so not surprising the ants here would go for it, I may try adding hot pepper next time).

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