Controlled livestock grazing for soil fertility improvement [Uganda]

technologies_2761 - Uganda

Completeness: 86%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

land user:

Ojok Robinson

Gulu District


Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Scaling-up SLM practices by smallholder farmers (IFAD)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Uganda Landcare Network (ULN) - Uganda

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Integrated crop-livestock production for improved soil fertility management. Local cows are tied to trees to facilitate manure collection.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


Controlled livestock grazing is a common practice promoted by farmers in Northern Uganda, who own up to 4-6 cows raised on two or more acres of land. Although the primary purpose is to produce milk for domestic consumption and for sale, the other subsidiary aim is to generate manure to replenish soil fertility on continuously cultivated and nutrient depleted land and pasture that the cows graze on. During the rainy season crops are planted and animals fed by cut and carry or pegged/ tied with a radius of 2-5 meters. During dry season the animals can graze on crop residues
For this technology, cattle are tethered/ tied on a pole (pegged) or tree using a sisal rope. Tethering distance should allow each cow to access pasture uninterrupted by others. The animals are rotated/ relocated routinely to minimise overgrazing in a given location. The manure produced is collected daily, and kept in heaps to compost for periods of 2 to 3 weeks, before being ferried to the fields for application for the cultivation of maize and other crops like soya bean . This technology requires possession of sufficient land for grazing the animals, as well as sufficient labour for handling manure through composting up to field application. The key inputs required for establishing this technology include labour, hand hoes, spades, sisal ropes, basins, sacks and basket for collecting manure and its transportation to the maize field, watering containers , spraying pumps for spraying animals against ticks and feeds to supplement the grazing during shortage of pasture.
The benefits derived from such a technology are both short and long term, including access to increased manure to apply on crop fields especially maize for increased production
To replicate this technology, the land user needs to have knowledge and skills on how to manage the animals to generate high quality manure, compost it and maintain it free of contamination with pesticides sprayed on the animals against pests and diseases, which may affect the quality of the manure and the safety of the users.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.4 Videos of the Technology

Comments, short description:

Video showing Controlled grazing for soil fertility improvement in Gulu District, Northern Uganda.




Gulu District, Northern Uganda

Name of videographer:

Issa Aiga

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Northern Region

Further specification of location:

Gulu Municipality, Gulu District

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area
If precise area is not known, indicate approximate area covered:
  • < 0.1 km2 (10 ha)

Map showing Controlled livestock grazing technology site in Gulu District, Northern Uganda.

2.6 Date of implementation

Indicate year of implementation:


If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through land users' innovation
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

Started on his own with only 2 cows and later National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) supported him with training on management (rotating, feeding and animal manure application in the garden).

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation
  • create beneficial economic impact

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Grazing land

Grazing land

Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Cut-and-carry/ zero grazing
Animal type:
  • cattle - dairy

cattle - dairy



3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

Normally two rain seasons March to May and September to December

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • integrated crop-livestock management
  • integrated soil fertility management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility

Manure collected is used on maize crop to increase maize production.

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bc: reduction of vegetation cover

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • prevent land degradation
  • reduce land degradation

Decomposed manure when applied on the maize field increases production.

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology





4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify how costs and inputs were calculated:
  • per Technology unit
Specify unit:

0.5 acres

Specify dimensions of unit (if relevant):

pegged/ tied with a radius of 2-5 meters

other/ national currency (specify):


If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:


Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Buy local cows/ varieties for keeping Once before stocking / dry season
2. Look for inputs , labour, sack, basins and ropes Before stocking
3. Tie the cows on a tree using a sisal rope During establishment
4. Plant the crop to provide crop residues During the wet season

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Planting persons 2.0 150000.0 300000.0 100.0
Labour Tieing, feeding and grazing cows persons 2.0 150000.0 300000.0 100.0
Equipment Hoe pieces 1.0 10000.0 10000.0 1000.0
Equipment Spade peices 1.0 10000.0 10000.0 1000.0
Equipment Spraying pump pieces 1.0 250000.0 250000.0 100.0
Equipment Watering trays pieces 6.0 100000.0 600000.0 100.0
Plant material Maize seed Kgs 10.0 2500.0 25000.0 100.0
Other Local cows cow 6.0 700000.0 4200000.0
Other Buckets pieces 1.0 3500.0 3500.0 100.0
Other Sack pieces 2.0 1000.0 2000.0 100.0
Other Feeds Kgs 100.0 4000.0 400000.0 100.0
Other Crop residues (not bought)
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 6100500.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 1770.83

Money used is got from sale of milk and also obtained a loan of 2,000,000 from a savings group.

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Watering the cow Daily during the dry season
2. Tieing and feeding the cow Daily
3. Spraying the cows against ticks Weekly
4. Heaping and carrying manure to the garden Everyday/ after 2 weeks
5. Applying manure in the soil Before planting season
6. Relocating the cows Every after 2 days
7. Cutting and carrying pasture After harvest

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Labour paid on monthly basis Persons 2.0 150000.0 300000.0 100.0
Equipment Replacement worn our equipment pieces 3.0 20000.0 60000.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Pestcide litres 10.0 15000.0 150000.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 510000.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 148.04

The land use employs 2 people on monthly basis watering, tieing , feeding, spraying, relocating carrying manure and cutting and carrying pasture. No equipment bought in short run since most of the equipment is bought at establishment. Only if there is need for replacement.

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Labour takes the most costs since the tasks re routine compared to the cost of equipment which is bought and replaced after its worn out.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specify average annual rainfall (if known), in mm:


Agro-climatic zone
  • humid

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Indicate if the Technology is specifically applied in:
  • concave situations

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Soil texture (> 20 cm below surface):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

< 5 m

Availability of surface water:


Water quality (untreated):

good drinking water

Is water salinity a problem?



Presence of borehole

Is flooding of the area occurring?


Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

The bore hole is seasonal - shortage of water during the dry season.

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium
Habitat diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Sedentary or nomadic:
  • Sedentary
Market orientation of production system:
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • average
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • animal traction
  • women
  • men
Age of land users:
  • youth
  • middle-aged
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

The land user plans to buy exotic cows for zero grazing to provide more animal manure and milk for sale

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

Very unproductive land but the farmer slowly improving it with manure from the kept cows.

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
Land use rights:
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


animal production

Comments/ specify:

Milk production and the farmer has also increased the number of cows.

land management

Comments/ specify:

Application of locally obtained manure.

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs

Comments/ specify:

More money spent on buying pesticides, basins, buckets, and maize seed.

farm income

Comments/ specify:

From sale of maize and milk.


Comments/ specify:

More activities during establishment.

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency

Comments/ specify:

Availability of Maize after harvest for sale and household income.

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

Comments/ specify:

Training on manure application in the maize field.

Ecological impacts


soil cover

Comments/ specify:

Use of manure and maize stalks.

soil loss

Comments/ specify:

Application of manure and decomposition of maize stalks.

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

damage on neighbours' fields

Comments/ specify:

Restricted movements of the cows

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase moderately
seasonal temperature dry season increase moderately

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Biological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
epidemic diseases well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:



More benefits after establishments.
High costs during establishment.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • 1-10%
Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 0-10%

6.6 Adaptation

Has the Technology been modified recently to adapt to changing conditions?


6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Yield potential is high with good feeding of the cows , right spacing and manure application in maize garden.
The technology can easily be replicated by small scale and large scale land users to other areas.
Uses sisal ropes which are cheap.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Minimizes conflicts when cows are tied in one area.
Good at providing income and manure for soil fertility improvement.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Requires constant labour. Use family labour to supplement hired labour.
Requires technical knowledge on management, spacing and treatment. Seek technical advice from the extension worker.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Easily affected by pests and diseases. Apply pesticides / seek technical advice from the extension worker.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys


  • interviews with land users


When were the data compiled (in the field)?


Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all