chapter  5
21 Pages

Natural Pastures

WithD. L. Plucknett, Flemming I. Ericksen

In many countries cattle are used to graze down understory weed growth and thereby to reduce weed control maintenance costs. Some coconut producers raise cattle only for weeding, and are reluctant to manage them for production of meat or milk for fear that weed control benefits might be lost. Natural pastures do benefit from improved pasture and livestock management; therefore, some discussion of the more common natural pasture species under coconut as well as management factors that affect carrying capacity and production will be presented. Many weedy grasses, broadleaved weeds, shrubs, and even trees grow naturally under coconuts. A major effort to evaluate the productivity of natural pastures has been undertaken in Western Samoa in a cooperative program between the UN Development Programme, Western Samoa Department of Agriculture and the University of the South Pacific School of Agriculture at Alafua, Western Samoa. Major natural pasture species were; false elephantopus, ruellia, sensitiveplant, Blechum pyramidatum, and Phyllanthus urinaria.