Short communication. Goat preferences for native woody shrubs in the Chaco Árido region of Córdoba, Argentina

A. Cora, M. Nai Bregaglio, R.O. Coirini

Abstract


The Chaco Árido region of Argentina has suffered strong desertification. Some 95% of the area is now covered by deciduous plant species that form dense, spiny shrubs, many of which are of little forage value. Lack of forage during winter leads to economic losses, contributing to the overall low profitability of the regions small goat-producers. The incorporation of appropriate shrub plants into the production system might help ensure and make more uniform the supply of feed to goats over the year. However, it is first vital to determine the preferences of these animals in order to prioritise such incorporations. The preferences of local goats for the native shrubs of the Chaco Árido region were therefore established over the different seasons of the year by means of a "cafeteria" experiment. Preferences were determined using the Di Rienzo, Guzmán and Casanoves means-comparison test. Maytenus spinosa, Celtis pallida and Lippia turbinata were frequently chosen in Summer and Autumn. The consumption of Condalia microphylla was low year-round while Larrea divaricata was consumed strongly throughout the year. The latter species and Capparis atamisquea were particular favourites during the winter reduction in forage availability. It is suggested that these species be incorporated into local goat production systems.

Keywords


Browse plants; Silvopastoral systems; Goats; Browsing; Feeding preferences; Seasonal variation; Choice of species; Grassland management; Cordoba (Argentina)

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2005032-148