Night Corralling [Niger]

technologies_952 - Niger

Completeness: 63%

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)

SLM specialist:

Schlecht Eva

Georg-August Universität


Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Book project: SLM in Practice - Guidelines and Best Practices for Sub-Saharan Africa (SLM in Practice)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Georg August Universität Göttingen (Georg August Universität Göttingen) - Germany

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:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Night corralling of cattle, sheep and goats on cropland during the dry season (November-April) replenishes soil fertility of agricultural land depleted by continuous cropping.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


This technology is mainly applied in semi-arid and sub-humid areas on sandy/loamy plains with low soil organic matter content, low soil pH, and with slopes below 5%. Adequate spacing of animals helps to homogenously distribute the manure on the field (see photo): in cattle this is ensured through tying the animals to poles, in sheep and goats a movable fence serving as night enclosure helps to save labour. Corals and animals are moved to a new spot within the field every 4-5 nights to homogeneously manure fields. Ideal is a rate of 2.5 tons of faecal dry matter per hectare. The application of this amount results in superior grain yields (millet, sorghum) as compared to an unmanured field. High yield response is achieved in the cropping season directly following the corralling (year 1) and in the subsequent two to three years, in which no new deposit of faeces and urine, i.e. no further corralling, is needed. While a 250 kg cow deposits about 1 kg of manure dry matter per night, 7 sheep or 7 goats are needed to produce this same amount. Thus, to cover 1 hectare of land with 2.5 tons of manure, a herd of 15 cattle would need to be corralled during 167 nights; alternatively 178 nights would be needed if 70 small ruminants were corralled. Since individual herds are often smaller than 15 cattle (or 70 small ruminants) and fields are larger than 1 hectare, it is recommended to organize corralling of fields within a community (village) of farmers and especially to revitalize the traditional corralling contracts (‘contrats de parcage’) with transhumant herders.

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



Region/ State/ Province:

Fakara region (near Niamey)

Further specification of location:

Chikal territory (near Filingué)

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production

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

Land use mixed within the same land unit:


Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-pastoralism (incl. integrated crop-livestock)



  • Annual cropping
Grazing land

Grazing land


Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): Loss of soil fertility (organic matter, nutrients, pH decline) due to continuous cropping

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Mixed: Mp: Agro-pastoralism

3.3 Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?

Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?
  • Yes (Please fill out the questions below with regard to the land use before implementation of the Technology)


  • Annual cropping

3.4 Water supply

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

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
management measures

management measures

  • M1: Change of land use type

Type of agronomic measures: manure / compost / residues

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)

Main type of degradation addressed: Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

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

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Corralling area of 4 sheep to poles (brown circles) during 5 nights (left) and principle of shifting corralling areas across a field of undefined size (right)

Location: Chikal territory. Fakara region

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: moderate

Technical knowledge required for land users: moderate (spacing and timing of animal placement need to be respected))

Main technical functions: increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…)

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: faecal dry matter
Quantity/ density: 2.5
Remarks: t/ha


Eva Schlecht, Animal Husbandry in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Kassel and Georg-August Universität Gö

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • USD

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Aquire poles (1 per cattle) for 1 ha with 15 cattle
2. Aquire poles (1 per sheep) for 1 ha with 70 sheep

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
Equipment Poles ha 1.0 15.0 15.0 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 15.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 15.0

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Placing poles in the field at 2m x 2m spacing for small ruminants and at 4m x 4m spacing for cattle, starting at the field border in year 1 of 3-year cycle
2. Attach individual animals (adult small ruminants, adults or calves if you work with cows) to the pole during night in year 1 of 3-year cycle
3. Shift the poles to an adjacent unmanured part of the field every 4 days in cattle, and every 5 days in small ruminants. in year 1 of 3-year cycle
4. To cover the whole field (1 ha) with manure: with 15 cattle you will need a total of 167 nights of corralling; with 70 small ruminants you will need 178 nights in year 1 of 3-year cycle
5. Cultivate the field for 3 subsequent cropping seasons (year of application, plus year 2 and 3) without further corralling in year 2 and year 3 in year 2 and 3 (of a 3-years cycle)

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 Placing poles in the field persons/day 2.0 1.5 3.0 100.0
Equipment Poles ha 1.0 5.0 5.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 8.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 8.0

costs were calculated for 1 ha with 15 cattle

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Labour costs incur in a 3-years cycle: putting and changing the poles on a specific field is done in year 1, while in years 2 and 3 the respective field is cultivated, and no corralling takes place. Actual labour inputs for corralling in year 1 is 4–5 days (= 10–15 minutes during approx. 170 days), equivalent to US$ 10–13; maintenance costs given in the tables above refer the average expenses of the whole 3-years cycle

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
Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: tropics

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.

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):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is very low - low

Soil drainage / infiltration is good

Soil water storage capacity is low

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work

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

13 ha (near Niamey), 10 ha (near Filingué)

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

Land ownership:
  • individual, titled
Land use rights:
  • open access (unorganized)
  • individual

individual land us rights for field, communal for pastures

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production

Comments/ specify:

In yr 1 - 3; corralling only done in yr 1

Income and costs

farm income


Socio-cultural impacts

community institutions

Comments/ specify:

Through rotational corralling of multiple-owner herds on individuals’ fields

Revaluation of traditional knowledge


Revitalization of ties with transhuman groups


Ecological impacts


soil crusting/ sealing


nutrient cycling/ recharge


soil organic matter/ below ground C

Comments/ specify:


Other ecological impacts

Water holding capacity


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


Technology not much affected by climatic extremes or changes.

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:


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

very positive

Long-term returns:



Labour input in year 1 (dry season) pays through high yields in harvest seasons of years 1–3.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology


There is a moderate trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: Relatively high, but incomplete in the sense that homogeneity of dung application is lacking

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Strong increase of soil organic matter and therefore soil fertility which leads to an increase in crop yield and revenues

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?
Implementation constraint: organization of rotational corralling is necessary to effectively manure fields of a village community; this needs skillful organization
Need to invest some money in poles
High labour investment in year 1
Difficulty to revitalize trustful partnership with transhumant pastoral groups, as more and more crop residues are harvested and stored at the homestead (no dry season feed for mobile herds)
Extensive consultation and coordination is needed if rotational (community) corralling or involvement of transhumant herders is necessary due to low animal numbers (<12 cattle, <50 small ruminants) at the level of individual households

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all