Native legume species from the Northern Cape province of South Africa and their potential use as forage crops.
Müller, Francuois L.
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The lack of bioclimatically suitable forage species for livestock production in the water-limited agro-ecological areas of South Africa has resulted in significant feed shortages within these areas during the ongoing drought experienced within the country. This, in turn, has resulted in significant livestock mortalities leading to financial difficulties for the farmers and farming communities within these areas. Thus, many of the water-limited agro-ecological areas in South Africa have been declared disaster areas. These cyclic long-term droughts, as well as more common short-term droughts are expected to increase in frequency, duration and intensity under the predicted future bioclimatic conditions. Although there has been significant investment into the development of improved, better-adapted forage crops for these bioclimatically marginal agro-ecosystems, these efforts, to date, have largely been unsuccessful. Therefore, in this study, we propose to identify and evaluate species that are native to the water-limited South African agro-ecosystems and that can potentially be implemented in alternative fodder flow programs within these water-limited agro-ecological areas.