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Pasture management and ruminants' meat production in Mascareignes archipelago

Grimaud P., Thomas P.. 2008. World Applied Sciences Journal, 3 (5) : p. 763-774.

Production of ruminants' meat in Mascareignes Archipelago-La Réunion (beef and venison), Mauritius (venison) and Rodrigues (beef)-mainly depends on pasture production. Tropical grasses are predominant on these islands, although many farmers of La Réunion Highlands can manage their pastures with improved temperate grasses owing to the altitude. Different studies were carried out to get a better knowledge on the farming systems in the three islands and to propose to the farmers some ways of pasture and animal production improvement. Observations were made on Rodrigues on the occasion of the visits on the island, while two independent 3-year surveys were carried out in both La Réunion and Mauritius with data collection on farmers' strategies and on both grass and animal production thanks to tools specifically conceived by the survey (SEBARUN database on La Réunion) or adapted to the tropical conditions (herbage nutrition indexes, functional analysis of feeding systems). On Rodrigues, stakeholders must think about new ways of farming after Republic of Mauritius decided to stop meat importations from Rodrigues to Mauritius. Animal performances were better in suckling cattle farms on La Réunion than in deer farms on both La Réunion and Mauritius, but can be significantly improved through a better pasture management in coherence with results of some simple indicators, like DM values and herbage nutrition indexes, which combine both plant mineral status and pasture biomass.

Mots-clés : bovidae; cervidae; conduite des herbages; Élevage; valeur nutritive; fourrage vert; réunion; maurice; france; gestion des pâturages; cervus timorensis; rodrigues

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