Spatio-temporal rainfall variation and stock management in arid Namibia Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract The high inherent variability in rainfall and forage availability in arid regions makes it very difficult for a rancher to establish a herd size that is suited to the environment and also complicates management decision-making regarding the distribution of animals within and between areas of a single ranch. We recorded the temporal and spatial variability in rainfall and grass production on a local scale on 3 ranches in arid Namibia over 3 years, to determine their effects on potential stocking density, stock movement decisions and timing of grazing. We conducted a 3-year experiment to test the effects of the timing of grazing on grass regrowth. Furthermore, we tested the reliability of a rule-of-thumb used by ranchers to ascertain whether a drought year is likely and whether they should sell some of their cattle in advance of drought. We expanded the scale of the study to include 31 ranches over a 700 km-long rainfall gradient to determine the reliability of extrapolating conclusions obtained at...

publication date

  • January 1, 2004