ISSN: 1659-2751

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Utilizing Sheep (Ovis aries L.) for Cutting and Maintenance of the Lawn Areas in the Humid Tropics

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to introduce a sheep herd (Ovis aries L.) to increase the potential productivity of lawn and garden areas at EARTH University in Guácimo, Costa Rica. The research explored the possibility of using the sheep to improve ecological efficiency and reduce the costs of mowing, and the related costs of machine maintenance. This quantitative experimental research evaluated the potential of 31 sheep to cut and maintain grass versus mechanical control for four months. Strip rotational grazing was used and the availability of pasture, as well as botanical composition was determined using non destructive methods. Biomass production based on dry weight for a 15 days rotation period was 1.71 t/ha. The sheep reduced the height of the forage to 7.15 cm versus 5.63 cm of the tractor mower and this difference was statistically different (p<0.0001). There are 36.4 ha of potential areas at EARTH University for this project and the maintenance cost for these areas could be reduced by 31 %. The university could handle 290 ewes, as well as rams for reproductive purposes and lambs. If 30 more sheep were bought, the profit value of the productive module in 10 years would be US$ 93,231.

Key words: lawn and garden areas, electric fence, rotational grazing, sustainable sheep production.

Artículo en español (pdf) (973)