Species Richness and Nutritive Values of Fodder and Their Relationship with Soil Characteristics in Ugandan Rangelands
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A study was conducted to determine the species richness and nutritive values of fodder and their relationship with soil characteristics in the Ugandan rangelands. The aim of the study was to determine the current status and nutritive values of fodder species and their relationship with soil characteristics. Four fodder species Panicum maximum - Guinea grass, Spartinaalterniflora - Cord grass, Hyperreniarufa -Jaragua/thatching grass and Acacia spp were selected for the study. The species were counted to determine their richness in their rangelands and also tested to establish their nutritive values. The focus on nutritive values was on CP, NDF, Ca, P and K. The research also determined the soil characteristics pH, OM, N, P and K. Results of the study show that the fodder species were below the recommended levels of species richness in the rangelands. Spartinaalterniflora (Cord grass) had the largest coverage of 109.1Km2 (22.4%) out of 486Km2 in the rangelands while Acacia had the lowest coverage of 10.2 Km2 (2.1%). All the soil characteristics were below the minimum concertration levels apart from P and there was a significant difference in soil characteristics across the different locations (P<0.05). Average pH was 6.63, OM was 0.5%, and P was 74.09ppm while K was 17cmoles/kg. The most nutritious fodder species was Panicum maximum (Guinea grass). However all the fodder species were below the recommended nutrient levels. The mean concentration level of CP in all the fodder species was8.95%, Ca was 1.29%, P was 0.4%, K was 1.59% while NDF was 29%. There was no significant difference in level of concentration across all the fodder species (P>0.05). Reduction of overstocking; growing of Panicum maximum (Guinea grass) at farm level; and rotation of animals are recommended.