Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profile

 

Egypt

By

Dr. Mohamed A. El-Nahrawy


1. INTRODUCTION

  Land Area, Arable Land
  Ruminant Sector
  Farming Sector

2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY

  Topography
  Soils

3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES

  Climate
  Agro-ecological zones
  Major Agricultural Enterprises in Main Zones

4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

  Scale of Enterprise
  Feeding Systems
  Integration of Livestock into Farming Systems
  Limitations
  Socio-economic Limitations

5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE

  Rangelands
  Fodder Crops
  The Role of Egyptian Clover in Egyptian Agriculture
  Forage Seed Production
  Crop Residues and By-products

6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PASTURE RESOURCES

  Rangeland Rehabilitation
  Establishment of Improved Pasture
  Integration of Forages into Farming Systems
  Tree Fodder
  Utilization of saline water for crop/forage production

7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL

  Key Institutions and Current Research Priorities
  Contact Persons

8. REFERENCES

9. CONTACTS


1. INTRODUCTION

Egypt is in the north-eastern corner of Africa between latitudes 21O and 31O North and longitudes 25O and 35 O East (see Figure 1a) with a total area of 1 001 450 km2; the country stretches 1 105 km from north to south and up to 1 129 km from east to west. It is bordered in the north by the Mediterranean Sea, in the east by the Gaza Strip, Israel and the Red Sea, in the south by Sudan and in the west by Libya.

Figure 1a. Map of Egypt (Source: World Factbook)

Egypt is predominantly desert and arid and semi-arid rangelands (see Figure 1b) and can be divided into 4 major physical regions (for details see section 2 below :  The Nile Valley and Delta, Western Desert, Eastern Desert and Sinai Peninsula.

Figure 1b. Egypt showing the vast desert area and the Nile Valley and Delta
[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Egypt ]

Egypt is divided into twenty-six governorates (see Figure 1c) , which include four city governorates (Alexandria, Cairo, Port Said and Suez), nine in Lower Egypt (in the Nile Delta region), eight in Upper Egypt along the Nile River from Cairo to Aswan, and the five frontier governorates covering Sinai and the deserts that lie west and east of the Nile.

Figure 1c. Map of Egypt’s Administrative Divisions/Governorates
[Click to view larger image]

Egypt is known as one of the oldest agricultural civilizations; the River Nile allowed a sedentary agricultural society to develop thousands of years ago. It has a predominantly rural population (the percentage of rural inhabitants is estimated at about 58%) and according to World Factbook the July 2011 population was estimated at 82 079 636 with a growth rate of 1.96%. The capital city is Cairo with an estimated population of 10.902 million, while Alexandria has 4.387 million persons (2009 estimates). Figure 2 shows the population distribution and density in Egypt.

Figure 2. Map of Egypt showing Population Density (Source: <http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ ).
[Click to view larger image]

The country has no effective rainfall except in a narrow band along the northern coast. Consequently, Egypt has only one main source of water supply, the Nile. The availability of a reliable water supply from the High Dam in Aswan is governed by the water-sharing treaty with the countries of the Nile Basin under which 55.5 billion m3 per annum is allocated to Egypt. Additional water could become available with the completion of the Jonglei Canal. Total available water resources are estimated at 73.8 billion m3 annually. Total of water use is about 62.6 billion m3 (Table 1). Agriculture’s share of the water budget is about 81% (Table 2) and increased to 85% in 2006 (El-Beltagy & Abo-Hadeed, 2008). According to Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategy Towards 2030 (SADS, 2009) per capita fresh water is expected to decline from 711.0 m3 in 2008 to 550 m3 in 2030. Recorded share from cultivable land was about 504 m2 per inhabitant in 2006. An increase in water availability and efficiency could result from proper management of water through more effective on-farm water management practices, changes in cropping patterns towards less water consuming crops, the introduction of improved irrigation systems as well as re-use of drainage water and treated sewage water (Abouzeid, 1992; FAO, 2003; SADS, 2009). The Egyptian economy has relied heavily on the agricultural sector for food, feed, fibre and other products. It provides livelihood for about 55% and employs 30% of the labour force, contributes approximately 17% of the GDP and 20% of all foreign exchange earnings. The recorded share from animal protein is about 21 g/day in 1997 and is planned to rise to 24g per capita by 2017, while the minimum recommended share by FAO is about 30 g/day/person (SADS, 2009).

Table 1. Available and potential water resources (in billion m3) annually.

Source

Potential amount

%

Amount in use

%

Nile water

55.5

75.20

51.70

82.59

Ground water

11.3

15.30

5.20

8.30

Re-use of agricultural drainage water

5.0

6.80

3.70

5.91

Treated sewage water

1.5

2.03

1.50

2.40

Rain

0.5

0.67

0.50

0.80

Total

73.8

100.00

62.60

100.00

Source: Adapted from Abouzeid, 1992 and FAO, 2003.

Table 2. Distribution of used water in various sectors (in billion m3) annually.

Sector

Consumed amount

%

Agriculture

50.80

81.10

Industry

8.80

14.10

Electricity

2.00

3.20 

Shipping & maintenance of water in the River

1.00

1.60

Total

62.60

100.00 

Source: Adapted from Abouzeid, 1992 and FAO, 2003.

 

Land Area, Arable Land

Egyptian agriculture is almost entirely dependent on irrigation. More than 90 percent of Egypt is desert (see Figure 3). The agricultural land base totals about 3.5 million ha (8.4 million feddan) which represented about 3.5% of the total area in 2007. Of this agricultural land, 3 276 000 ha (7.8 million feddan) lie within the Nile Basin and Delta, and the remaining 210 000 ha (500 000 feddan) are rainfed or in the oases. Of the total area of the Nile Basin and Delta, about 2 268 000 ha (5.4 million feddan) are old lands, the remaining 1 008 000 ha (2.4 million feddan) are new reclaimed lands.

Figure 3. Map of land use in Egypt
[Click to view larger image]

About 94% of the total cultivated area was occupied with annual crops and 6% with permanent crops in1980/84 (Table 3). The cropping area has increased from about 4 500 000 ha (10.9 million feddan) in 1980/84 to about 6 940 000 ha (16.5 million feddan) in 2008/9. This period has also witnessed significant changes in the cropping pattern, as indicated in Table 3. Cereals, fruit, sugar crops and vegetables areas have increased from 2.0, 0.17, 0.11 and 0.43 M ha in1980/84 to 2.98, 1.43, 0.25 and 0.74 M ha respectively in 2008/09. While fibre crops, oil crops, fodder crops and food legume areas have decreased from 0.48, 0.08, 1.28 and 0.14 M ha in 1980/84 to 0.22, 0.02, 1.17 and 0.13 M ha respectively in 2008/09 (SADS, 2009).

In 2002, 99.8% of cropland was irrigated. Even the small, more humid area along the Mediterranean coast requires supplementary irrigation to produce reasonable yields. Irrigation potential is estimated at 4 420 00 ha, whereas the total area equipped for irrigation in 2002 was reported at 3 422 178 ha, with 85% in the Nile Valley and Delta. Surface irrigation was practiced on 3 028 853 ha in 2000, while 171 910 ha were under sprinkler irrigation and 221 415 ha under localized [drip or trickle] irrigation. Surface water was the source for 83% of the irrigated area in 2000, while 11% (361 176 ha) of the area was irrigated with groundwater in the provinces of Matruh, Sinai and the New Valley. The remaining 6% (217 527 ha) was irrigated with mixed sources. The power irrigated area was estimated at 2 937 939 ha in 2000. On the other hand, the area planted to fodder crops decreased from 28.1% in 1970/74 to around 18.9% of the cropped area in 2007 (SADS, 2009). This decrease is due to the high competition between wheat and berseem during the winter season on the available cultivated area.

Table 3. Changes in area harvested by crop group (in M ha.)

Crop group

Year
1980/84

Year
1990/91

Year
2000/01

Year
2006/07

Year
2007/08

Year
2008/09

area

%

area

%

area

%

area

%

area

%

area

%

Cereals

Legumes

Fibres

Sugar crops

Oil crops

Fodder crops

Fruit

Vegetables

2.00

0.14

0.48

0.11

0.08

1.28

0.17

0.43

42.6

2.9

10.2

2.4

1.8

27.3

3.6

9.2

2.25

0.15

0.40

0.13

0.03

1.13

0.23

0.48

46.2

3.2

8.3

2.6

1.9

23.1

4.8

9.9

2.65

0.17

0.31

0.19

0.12

1.18

0.48

0.70

46.1

3.0

5.4

3.3

2.1

20.7

8.4

11.0

2.96

0.12

0.27

0.21

0.03

1.18

1.37

0.63

43.7

1.8

4.0

3.1

0.4

17.4

20.2

9.4

2.97

0.11

0.25

0.23

0.02

1.15

1.4

0.87

42.4

1.6

3.6

3.3

0.3

16.4

20.0

12.4

2.98

0.13

0.22

0.25

0.02

1.17

1.43

0.74

42.9

1.9

3.2

3.6

0.3

16.9

20.6

10.6

Total

4.58

100

4.81

100

5.75

100

6.77

100

6.37

100

6.94

100

Source: Economic Affairs Department, Agricultural Statistics Bulletin (2009), Ministry of Agriculture, Cairo, Egypt.

Egypt has little effective rainfall, at most 200 mm and unequally distributed and on limited areas. Mostly it has vast areas of poor rangeland (Figure 4), estimated at more than 10 million ha. Over the past decades, recurrent drought, modern technology and new economic rules have dramatically changed sheep production systems and socio-economic conditions. Increasing settlement of nomads, increase in sheep numbers in marginal zones, expansion of cultivation and reduction of fallow have greatly increased pressure on available land and reduced soil fertility. Conservation and where possible, improvement of existing grazing lands (coastal, low plateau and high plateau) could be achieved through: developing a tree seedling nursery capacity in the villages, and planting, in cooperation with local land users, of improved fodder trees and shrubs (Figure 5); enhancement of soil stabilization by the planting of windbreaks; using trees or shrubs with reasonable nutritive value; identification, in cooperation with local user groups, of useful local forage species; initiation of seed collection and multiplication programmes; over-seeding selected rangelands with seeds of good nutritive value local grass and legume species; and the application of  restricted grazing when it is possible.

Figure 4. Poor rangeland due to the lack of sustainable management

 

Figures 5a & b. Transplanting fodder trees and shrubs: an efficient way to control desertification and for use as a source of feed.

 

Ruminant Sector

Livestock form an important component of the agricultural sector, representing about 24.5% of the agricultural gross domestic product with value of around EGP [Egyptian pounds] 33.6 billion [US$6.1 billion] in 2007 (SADS, 2009). In 2005 local production covered about 92.5, 82.2, 100, 81.9, 100, 100 and 100% respectively for milk, red meat, white meat, fish, eggs, wool and leather. Each of cattle, buffalo, sheep, camel, and goat populations contributes about 51.6, 33.2, 6.5, 5.9 and 2.7% of local red meat production, respectively, which reached 629 000 tonnes in 2005. There is no surplus of animal production for export except some limited numbers of sheep and goats. The sector is depending mainly on the private sector, with the majority of animal breeders being smallholder farmers and the share of the government sector is less than 2% of the total animal numbers. The ruminant sector is well-integrated with cropland since Egypt has limited natural pastures. Animal production is highly dependent on cattle and buffaloes as milk-producing animals, as well as male animals and un-reproductive females are fattened for meat. The cattle population totalled 4.6 million head, while the buffalo population reached 3.9 million head in 2006.  Regarding small ruminants, the sheep population reached 5.4 million head, while the goat population exceeded 3.9 million head in 2006. The camel population was about 120 thousand head, while horses and asses exceeded 3.2 million head in 2005 (SADS, 2009).

The cattle population is concentrated in both Middle Delta and Middle Egypt regions with percentages 22.4 % and 26.2%, respectively. While 32.2% of the buffalo population is in the Middle Delta region and 22.4% is in the Middle Egypt region. Nevertheless, 31% of the sheep population is concentrated in Upper Egypt, compared to 22.38% in Western Delta region. The goat population is concentrated in both Upper Egypt and Middle Egypt regions with percentages of 36 % and 23.5%, respectively.

Indigenous cattle represent about 60% of the all cattle, while mixed-breed cattle represent about 37% and imported cattle about 3%. It is worth mentioning that 65% of the cattle population in the Western Delta region is mixed-breed, while in Middle Egypt the percentage of mixed-breed is 18.5% only.

Meat and milk productivity of both cattle and buffalo experienced significant increases during the period 1980-2007. Average cow milk production increased from around 675 kg/head/season in 1980 to around 1.3 tonnes/head/season in 2007, due to increased number of indigenous cows mixed with foreign cows. As to buffaloes, milk production increased from around 1.15 tonnes/head/season in 1980 to around 1.4 tonnes/head/season in 2007, as a result of increased mechanization of farm operations. With regard to meat production, average weight of the cow carcass increased from around 132 kg/head in 1980 to around 200 kg in 2007, due to establishing fattening farms as well as improving animal feeding practices. The average weight of the buffalo carcass increased from around 129 kg/head in 1980 to around 176 kg in 2007, as a result of expanding the first and second stages of the young male animals fattening project (SADS, 2009).

Farming Sector

The agricultural sector has witnessed significant developments over the last two decades with direct effects on its role in national income formation and promoting exports. Such developments have also affected farmers’ delivery as related to the cropping pattern, applied technology, levels of income and farmers’ response to market changes.

Land Tenure Reform: among the main features of the Agricultural Reform law were the determination of the rental value of land at seven times the tax assessment, the inheritance of rental contracts, and the complete cancellation of market mechanisms in determining agricultural land rental value and prices. In addition, the government has frozen the tax assessment on agricultural land and consequently its rental value for more than 40 years. These issues have caused several distortions and imbalances in the socio-economic relations in rural areas, some of which can be listed as follows:

  • Lack of confidence and cooperation between land owners and tenants, with resulting limited attention to land maintenance and increased deterioration.
  • A severe imbalance in land markets.
  • Dwindling investment flow

The aforementioned and other factors led to the review of the land owner-tenant relationship law, and the enactment of a new law with the purpose of activating market forces in determining land rental and land market values that constitute the main elements of production, thus improving the efficiency of land distribution among the various agricultural activities. The state has exerted tremendous efforts in applying the new law without endangering the social dimensions of the areas.

Agricultural development efforts during the 1980s, the 1990s and the first years of the twentyfirst century had achieved great successes in plant production with all its components, due to expanding agricultural areas and improving land productivity. Agricultural areas have increased from around 2 465 400 ha in 1980 to around 3 544 800 ha in 2007, an increase of 44% during this period. The cropping area has increased from 4 662 000 ha in 1980 to 6 468 000 ha in 2007. Livestock/crop production is an excellent example of an integrated production system (Figure 6) where fodder crops and agricultural residues provide the feed for animals. The majority of small farmers (about 90% of farmers) follow this system. Animal manure (Figure 7) makes the soil more productive than would be the case in their absence.

Figure 6. Integrated livestock/crop production Figure 7. Manure, an animal by-product, enriches the soil

More than 50 million m3 of animal manure are produced annually. On the other hand, small farmers are very disturbed during summer time because of the lack of feed. More than 95% of the landowners hold less than two hectares each (Table 4). Only less than 5% own 2.1 ha or more. Almost all livestock are raised through livestock/crop production integrated systems. Crop production includes field crops, vegetables, fruit and forest trees, and medicinal, aromatic and ornamental plants. The annual total cropped area is estimated at 6 468 000 ha, giving a cropping intensity of about 183% in 2007.

Table 4. Size classification of farms in Egypt .

Area class (ha)

%  farms

%  area

<0.42

<0.84

<2.10

From 2.1 to 4.2

From 4.2 to 8.4

From 8.4 ha to 42 and over

41.12

38.28

15.22

3.05

0.41

0.92

6.0

28.5

17.8

22.8

7.9

17.0

Total

100.0

100.0

Source: Ministry of Agriculture, General Agricultural Census, 1981/1982.

There are three cropping seasons in Egypt: Winter (November to May), Summer (April/May to October) and "Nil" (July/August to October). On the old lands, cropping intensities can be very high (200%), but on the new lands intensities reach only 150%, mainly because of water shortages and the lack of means of production in those areas. Crop production contributes about 65.8% of the total value of agricultural GDP. The value of field crops, however, was estimated in 2007 at about 23.8 billion L.E. [Egyptian pounds; same as EGP] [US$4.3 billion] which represent 63.7%. The value of vegetables, fruit and medicinal, aromatic and ornamental plant crops are estimated at about 12.1%, 14.2%, and 0.7%; respectively, of the total crop production value. Changes in area harvested by crop group during the period from 1970 to 2007 are presented in Table 3. Field crops include cereals, which occupy about 2 717 400 ha (wheat, about 1 050 000; maize, 882 000; rice, 588 000; grain sorghum, 142 800; and barley, 168 000 ha) and represent about 50% of the value of field crops; fibre crops, which occupy 315 000 ha (cotton, 299 250 and flax, 15 750 ha); sugar crops, which are grown on 121 380 ha (sugarcane, 105 000 and sugar beet, 16 380 ha); grain legumes, which are planted on about 134 400 ha (faba beans, 123 480; lentils, 4 620; and chickpeas, 6 300 ha); oilseed crops which are planted on about 131 880 ha (including soybeans, 26 040 ha; sunflowers, 31 080 ha; sesame, 30 240 ha; and groundnuts, 44 520 ha); and forage or fodder crops, which contribute 18% of the total value of field crops and are grown on about 1 276 800 ha: multi-cut berseem or Egyptian clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) 714 000 ha; single cut berseem or Egyptian clover or cover crop (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) 260 400 ha; alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) 25 200 ha; hybrid forage sorghum (Sorghum sudanense X Sorghum bicolor) and Sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense (Piper) Stapf.) 21 000 ha; maize (Zea maize L.) for silage 126 000 ha; forage (pearl) millet (Pennisetum glaucm L.) 4 200 ha; forage maize (Darawa) (Zea maize L.) 105 000 ha and minor forage crops such as cowpea (Vigna siensis L.), elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach), guar (Cyamposis tetragonoloba), Amshot (Echinochloa stagninum), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) , Fodder beets (Beta vulgaris L.), Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana Kunth), teosinte (Euchlanea mexicana Schrad.) 21 000 ha. Vegetables are grown on about 844 200 ha which represent about 13.1% of the total value of horticultural crops and fruit.  Forest trees are grown on about 378 000 ha. Cultivation of medicinal, aromatic and ornamental plants is a rapidly growing business because of the high demand in both internal and external markets.


2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY

Topography
The main relief features are shown in Figure 8, where the Nile Valley and Delta and other lowland areas and depressions are shown in brown.

Figure 8. Relief map of Egypt.
Source: www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/egypt.html
[Click to view larger image]

There are 4 main physical regions:

Nile Valley and Delta: although covering only about 5.5% (35 000 km2) of the total area of Egypt, this is the most important region, supporting 99% of the population on its cultivated lands. The rich, alluvial Nile valley, which extends approximately 800 km from Aswan to the outskirts of Cairo, is also known as Upper Egypt while the Nile Delta which covers approximately 22 000 km2 is referred to as Lower Egypt. Since construction of the Aswan Dam, agriculture in the Nile valley depends on irrigation. The Nile delta (containing lakes Maryut, Idku, Burullus and Manzala) consists of flat, low-lying areas; in parts it is marshy and water-logged, and thus not suitable for agriculture; other areas of the delta are used for agriculture.

Western Desert: covers an area of some 700 000 km2 and accounts for around two-thirds of Egypt's total land area. This immense desert to the west of the Nile spans the area from the Mediterranean Sea southwards to the Sudanese border. The desert's Jilf al Kabir Plateau at a mean altitude of some 1 000 m, constitutes an exception to the uninterrupted territory of basement rocks covered by layers of horizontally bedded sediments forming a massive plain or low plateau. The Great Sand Sea is located here as well as escarpments and deep depressions. No rivers or streams drain into or out of the area. Depressions (six) are occupied by oases apart from the largest (the Qattara Depression) which includes the country's lowest point (133 m below sea level), encompasses approximately 15 000 km2, and has badlands, salt marshes and salt lakes and is sparsely inhabited. Limited agricultural production occurs in the oases.

Eastern Desert: the topographic features of the region east of the Nile are very different from those of the Western Desert. The relatively mountainous Eastern Desert rises abruptly from the Nile and extends over an area of approximately 220 000 km2. The upward-sloping plateau of sand gives way within 100 km to arid, defoliated, rocky hills running north and south between the Sudan border and the Delta. The hills reach elevations of more than 1 900 m. Except for a few villages on the Red Sea coast, there are no permanent settlements. The importance of the Eastern Desert lies in its natural resources, especially oil.

Sinai Peninsula: is triangular-shaped, about 61 100 km2 in area and contains mountains in its southern sector that are a geological extension of the Red Sea Hills, and has the country's highest point, at 2 642 m above sea-level. The southern side of the peninsula has a sharp escarpment that subsides after a narrow coastal shelf that slopes into the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. The elevation of Sinai's southern rim is about 1 000 m. which declines to the north and becomes a flat, sandy coastal plain, which extends from the Suez Canal into the Gaza Strip and Israel .

Traditionally agriculture was mainly concentrated in the old land, characterized by its alluvial soil, in the Nile Valley and Delta; this is the main contributor to food production, trading activities and the national economy using available Nile water. With increasing demands for agricultural production, new lands have been reclaimed and added to the old land. 

The agricultural area in Egypt comprises two parts:

The Nile Delta and Valley (see Figure 8): which is also the most densely populated area in Egypt. Through the last four decades large areas at the desert fringes of the Nile Valley and Delta have been reclaimed using mostly Nile water to add greater economic assets and relocate a significant portion of the population (El-Bagouri, 2008). The main target at the beginning of the twenty first century is to achieve Egypt’s dream by leaving the narrow valley of the Nile. Agriculture development faces many challenges such as the dry land, climatic change, and human induced problems. The soils on the new lands are mainly sandy and calcareous.

Oases and along the northern coast: other limited land areas were put under cultivation when water was available. In spite of the limited rainfall on most of Egypt, rainfall ranges between 120-150mm per annum on the north coast area during winter. Efforts have been made to utilize rainfall in cultivating some drought tolerant crops, such as barley, olives and figs. Due to the importance of making use of this water resource, it might be appropriate to provide an area of about 147 000 ha with supplementary irrigation to increase the cultivated areas. Modern technical applications, such as water harvesting and other suitable techniques may also be applied in order to maximize the use of rainfall.

Soils
According to the FAO/UNESCO Soil Map of the World, Map Sheet VI, the main soils occurring in Egypt are:

Calcaric Fluvisols
These soils occupy the delta and the floodplain of the Nile River. They are brown, moderately calcareous and clayey or loamy and generally layered. The pH is about 8.1 to 8.3; in saline-sodic patches the pH is more than 8.5. These are the prize soils and cream of the soil resources of the country. In the strips bordering the desert on the east and west of the delta and floodplain, the soil is generally loamy and at places stony. The topography varies from nearly level to rolling. Salinity occurs in patches.

Calcic Yermosols
These soils occur in the rocky desert east and west of the Nile as well as in the central part of the Sinai Peninsula. They are brownish or yellowish-brown in colour, strongly calcareous and underlain by rock at shallow depth. Only small areas of wadis have moderately deep or deep soils but they are also strongly calcareous. In the southwestern part these soils are stony.

Haplic Yermosols
These soils occur in narrow strips along the coast of the Red Sea, in two small areas. One area is in the southeastern part of the country and the other is opposite to the southern one-third of the Sinai Peninsula. These are deep loamy soils with weak structure.  In parts they are saline.

Orthic Solonchaks
These are very strongly saline soils. They occupy a strip of delta area along the coast of the Mediterranean and a large area of Qattara Depression about 200 km west of Cairo, These soils have little agricultural value.  In the delta area however, they are being reclaimed and put under cultivation at high cost which is justified because of the good standard of farming and abundance of irrigation water after the construction of the Aswan dam.

Eutric Regosols
These soils are rocky and gravelly and occur on hill slopes and piedmont plains of the mountain region east of the Nile River. They are non-calcareous. They have value only as poor grazing land.

Calcaric Regosols
These are deep clayey soils occurring in a small plain area within the desert west of the Nile River and a small area in the northeastern corner of the country.  These are formed in the piedmont plains of limestone. These are good soils for irrigated agriculture.

Haplic Xerosols
These are deep clayey soils of a piedmont plain near the northwestern tip of the Nile delta. They are soils of semi-arid Mediterranean climate and support a poor crop of barley without irrigation; for profitable agriculture, supplemental irrigation is needed.

Lithosols
These are very shallow soils of the mountains in the area east of the Nile, along the coast of the Red Sea as well as the mountains in the southern part of the Sinai peninsula. These are useless except as poor grazing land.

Shifting sand
This is not soil in the real sense, but is soil material, occupying a large area in the western part of the desert west of the Nile river and the northern, one-third of the Sinai peninsula. It has little use.

The Soil, Water and Environment Research Institute (SWERI), Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) conducted a study to identify soil classes in the Nile Delta and Nile Valley and the results in terms of soil classes are presented in Table 5, which show the areas (hectares) of each soil class and its percentage. The distribution of soils along the Nile Delta and Valley are shown in Figure 9. Data in Table 5 show that the most dominant soil type is Typic Torrerts, which occupies 4 954 975 feddans (2 081 090 ha) representing 27.93% of the total studied area. Rock land, very shallow, occasionally rock outcrop, is the soil type that is rated second which occupied 3 790 519 feddans (1 592 018 ha) representing 21.36% of the total area. The third dominant soil type is Typic Torriorthents with an area of 3 582 173 feddans (1 504 513 ha) representing 20.19% of the study area. The Typic Quertizipsamments is rated the fourth dominant soil type, representing 8.49% of the area. The percentages of the rest of the classes are less than 5%.

Table 5. Soil map classes by area and percentage in the studied area in the Nile Delta and Valley.

Soil Classification

Area (ha)

Area (%)

Aquollic Solarthids          

123 680

1.66

Calcic Gypsiorthids          

34 374

0.46

Calclorthids                 

2 804

0.04

Calclorthids & Orthents      

26 361

0.35

Lithic Torripsamments        

7 169

0.10

Petrogypsic Gypsoirthids     

44 843

0.60

Typic Calci-Terripsamments   

226

0.01

Typic Colciorthids           

87 123

1.17

Typic Gypsiorthids           

83 364

1.12

Typic Quertizipsamments      

632 787

8.49

Typic Solarthids             

14 002

0.19

Typic Torrerts               

2 081 090

27.93

Typic Torrifluvents          

339 932

4.56

Typic Torriorthents          

1 504 513

20.19

Typic Torripsamments         

96 472

1.29

Typic Ustifluvents           

6 648

0.09

Vertic Ustifluvents          

169 746

2.28

Consolidated Rocky Ridge      

3 039

0.04

High Sand Dunes              

45 708

0.61

Hilly Gravel And Cobble Stone Land

105 783

1.42

Plateau Surface              

58

0.001

Rock Land                    

113 386

1.52

Rock land, Very shallow, Occasionally rock outcrop

1 592 018

21.36

Rocky Escarpment             

25 794

0.35

Sand Dunes                   

13 307

0.18

Urban                        

6 666

0.09

Nile                         

100 875

1.35

Water                        

190 214

2.55

Total

7 451 982

100.00

Source: under publication data (personal communication from Dr. Hamdi Khalifa, Ex. Director, SWERI, ARC, Egypt)

 

Figure 9. Map of soil classes in the studied area in the Nile Delta and Valley.
[Click to view larger picture]
Source: under publication data (personal communication from Dr. Hamdi Khalifa, Ex. Director, SWERI, ARC, Egypt)


3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES

Climate
The climate in Egypt is generally moderate; it is mostly hot or warm during the day, and cool at night. In the coastal regions, daytime average temperatures range between a minimum 140C in winter and maximum 300C in summer. In deserts the temperatures vary considerably, especially in summer; when they may range from 7°C at night, to 52 °C during the day. While the winter temperatures in deserts do not fluctuate so wildly, they can be as low as 0 °C at night, and as high as 18 °C during the day. Egypt receives less than 80 mm of precipitation annually in most areas, although in the coastal areas it reaches 200 mm. It hardly ever rains during the summer.

In general, three rainfall belts may be distinguished:

(1) The Mediterranean coastal belt, (2) middle Egypt with latitude 30° N as its southern boundary, and (3) upper Egypt. The first and second belts have a winter rainfall (Mediterranean regime); the rainy season extends from November to April, though mainly concentrated in December and January. These belts correspond roughly to the attenuated (shorter dry period) and accentuated (longer dry period) arid provinces of northern Egypt, where the average annual rainfall ranges from 100 to 150 mm in the attenuated arid province, and from 20 to 100 mm in the accentuated arid province. It extends rather south along the Gulf of Suez to Lat.26° N due to the orographic influence of the Red Sea coastal mountains. The third belt is almost rainless; it corresponds roughly to the hyperarid  provinces. Rain in this belt is not an annually recurring incident; 10mm may occur once every ten years. The rainfall increases gradually to the North until it reaches about 20mm at the borders with the arid province (at Giza). One of the major features of rainfall in arid and semi arid regions [N.B. hyperarid (P/ETP< 0.03) and arid (P/ETP = 0.03 – 0.20) where P = precipitation and ETP = potential evapotranspiration, calculated by Penman’s formula] other than being scanty, is its great temporal variability, average deviation of annual precipitation from the mean, expressed as percentage of the mean, is greatest in the hyperarid provinces (e. g. Siwa 83 %). In the arid province the percentage variability is 65 % at Giza which is close to the hyperarid provinces.

The climate in the Matrouh directorate area is arid Mediterranean, but the maritime influence of air moisture and temperature moderates the drought conditions imposed by lack of rain and high radiation. The major constraint to significant economic (including agricultural) activity in the Matrouh area is low and unpredictable rainfall (100-170 mm). Two years out of every ten result in drought conditions with less than 50 mm in the growing season. Rainfall decreases by 30-50% at a distance of 10-15 km from the coast and continues to decrease further inland. Climate in general is characterized by hot, dry summers and moderate winters. The hot period starts from May to the end of October and temperatures can reach 42 0C with the average temperature of about 35 0C during the summer; the moisture percentage is about 77%. The cold period starts from November till April, when the temperature goes down to average from 13 0C to 21 0C and average moisture percentage ranges from 30 to 40%.

Egypt’s Mediterranean coast and the Nile Delta have been identified as vulnerable to sea level rise. A recent study concerning fresh water resources in Egypt, including vulnerability assessment concluded that while the impact of climate change on the Nile Basin could not yet be predicted, there are indications that the impacts will be significant and severe. Any decrease in the total supply of water, coupled with an expected increase in consumption due to the high population growth rates and the rise in the standards of living could have drastic impacts. All climate change scenarios considered resulted in simulated decreases in wheat and maize yields: climate change may bring about substantial reductions in the national grain production. As for cotton, it is clear that seed cotton yield will be increased gradually to arrive at its maximum by the year 2050 due to the expected impact of climate change (i.e. when temperatures rise by between +2CO and +4CO). If climate change adversely affects crop production under the normal CO2 concentration, Egypt would have to increase food imports.

Agro-ecological Zones
The country can be classified into five regions based on soil characteristics, water sources, and climatic conditions:

  • The Coastal region: including Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, Northern Sinai, Southern Sinai, Alexandria and Matrouh governorates. Extends along the north coastal areas, about 50 km wide and parallel to the Mediterranean Sea; characterized by moderate climate during the whole year, since it is affected by the Mediterranean Sea climate. It has more rainfall (180-200 mm per annum) than most areas. The soil is sandy or calcareous. 
  • The Middle Delta region: including Al-Qaliobeya, Al-Menoufeya, Al-Gharbeya, Al-Dakahleya, Kafr-el-Sheikh, Al-Beherah, Al-Sharkeya, Dumyat governorates. Climate is even more moderate than in the coastal region, characterized by warm winters and moderate temperatures during summer. The region has alluvial soils (clay to loam), with a predominance of montmorillonitic types of clay mineral.
  • The Middle Egypt region: including Giza, Bani-Sweif, Al-Fayoum, and Minya governorates. Climate is more moderate than the coastal region and is characterized by warm winters and moderate temperatures during summer. The region has alluvial soils (clay to loam), with a predominance of montmorillonitic types of clay mineral.
  • Upper Egypt: including Asyut, Sohag, Qena, Aswan and the New Valley governorates; climate is much hotter during the summer season and warmer during winter in comparison with the rest of the regions. The region has alluvial soils (clay to loam, with a predominance of montmorillonitic types of clay mineral).
  • Newly Reclaimed lands: including Al-Nubareyah and all lands included in the land reclamation program adjacent to the Delta and the New Valley. It has similar climate but soils are sandy calcareous or calcareous.

Taking into consideration the overlapping nature of the climatic, soil, topography and socio-economic factors, the country could be classified into many agro-climatic and agro-ecological zones and the number of zones could be increased if the whole of Egypt is considered. In Figure 10 six agro-ecological zones are shown. These mainly differentiate between the vast areas of stony and mountainous desert and the Nile Valley and Delta and the oases areas.

Figure 10. Agro-ecological zones of Egypt.
[Click to view larger picture]

Major Agricultural Enterprises in Main Zones

1. Upper Egypt: total area of the zone is estimated at 495 000 km2, representing 49% of the total area of Egypt, as the zone includes the New Valley governorate whose area is estimated at 440 000 km2. Agricultural areas are estimated at around 474 600 ha, representing around 14% of the total agricultural areas in Egypt . The zone includes the largest lake behind the High Dam. Huge quantities of ground water are also available in different areas of the zone, especially in East Owainat and the New Valley areas. Water resources in the zone are of high quality, and contamination is the lowest in most of its lands, a situation that enables the expansion of clean agricultural products that can be exported. The zone is famous for dry date production. There is great potential for horizontal expansion in Toshka, East Owainat and the New Valley areas. The potential to produce high quality products gives the region considerable comparative advantages vis-à-vis other regions, such as the Mahogany and Jatropha trees that flourish easily in Luxor and Qena governorates.

2. Middle Egypt region: total area of the zone is estimated at 139 000 km2, representing 13.7% of the total area of Egypt. Agricultural areas are estimated at around 966 000 ha, representing around 28.7% of the total agricultural areas in Egypt. The zone totally depends on the Nile source for irrigation. Moderate climatic conditions prevail in all the governorates of the zone, with limited rainfall during the period from November to February, hence the diversity of production patterns. Most of the lands are of high quality: first and second grade lands constitute around 50% of the total area. The zone includes the rice, sugar beet, long-staple cotton, as well as the milk producing belts. The zone is specialized in producing the seedlings of citrus crops.

3. Eastern Delta region: total area of the zone is estimated at 79 000 km2, while agricultural areas are estimated at around 504 000 ha, representing around 15% of the total agricultural areas in Egypt. There are great potentialities for horizontal expansion both in the west and east of the Suez Canal. Reclaimed areas are estimated at 92 400 ha, and 84 000 ha in the west and east of the Suez Canal, respectively. The zone totally depends on the Nile source for irrigation. Climatic conditions vary in respect to rainfall and relative humidity, leading to diverse production patterns. Historically, the zone is characterized by the production of horticulture crops: mango, strawberry, green beans, peach, citrus, and cantaloupe.

4. Western Delta region: total area of the zone is estimated at 179 000 km2, representing around 17.7% of the total area of Egypt. Agricultural areas are estimated at around 738 360 ha, representing around 22% of the total agricultural areas in Egypt. Agricultural areas in Al-Beherah governorate represent more than 2/3 of total agricultural areas in the zone.  There are great potentialities for horizontal expansion both in the zone, particularly parallel to the North West Coast extending from Hammam Township to Marsa Matrouh due to the availability of wide rangelands; around 20% of the sheep and goat population are concentrated in this zone. The zone has diverse water sources: Nile water, ground water and rainfall particularly in the northern areas where rainfall is enough for agricultural production. Climate conditions are relatively mild in respect of temperature, allowing for diversified agricultural products. The zone is well known for high-quality sheep. The zone contributes to agricultural exports of traditional field crops (cotton and rice) and non-traditional crops (potatoes, citrus and grapes).

5. Middle Delta region: total area of the zone is estimated at 139 000 km2, representing around 13.7% of the total area of Egypt. Agricultural areas are estimated at around 966 000 ha, representing around 28.7% of the total agricultural areas in Egypt. Al-Daqahleya and Kafr el Sheikh governorates are two of the largest governorates, reaching 255 780 ha and 267 120 ha, respectively. Domyat governorate is the smallest with about 44 100 ha. The zone has diverse water sources: Nile water, ground water and rainfall particularly in the northern areas where rainfall is enough for agricultural production. Moderate climate conditions prevail in all the governorates of the zone, with limited rainfall during the period from November to February, hence allowing for diversified agricultural products. The zone includes rice, sugar beet, berseem, long-staple cotton and the milk producing belts. In spite of the fact that the zone contributes around 25% of cow milk, and around 35.5% of buffalo milk, and in spite of the fact that dairy production has been localized in the zone, there is no institutional framework for milk collection in the zone. Agricultural residues particularly rice straw, constitute a major problem facing the zone, causing negative environmental effects.


4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

Livestock numbers between 2000 and 2009 are shown in Table 6. There has been a steady increase in numbers, particularly of cattle (from 3.53 to 5.00 million), buffaloes (3.38 to 4.00 million), goats (3.43 to 4.55 million) and sheep (4.47 to 5.50 million) over this period. Camels, however, have declined from 141 000 to 110 000 head.

Table 6. Livestock population 2000-2009 (in millions except for camels and horses)

Item

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Cattle

3.53

3.80

4.00

4.23

4.37

4.50

4.61

4.93

5.02

5.00

Camels (,000)

141

134

127

135

135

120

148

84

107

110

Buffaloes

3.38

3.53

3.55

3.78

3.85

3.90

3.94

4.11

4.05

4.00

Horses (,000)

45

53

62

62

62

62

54

66

66

67

Sheep

4.47

4.67

5.11

4.94

5.04

5.10

5.39

5.47

5.50

5.50

Goats

3.43

3.50

3.58

3.81

3.89

3.92

3.96

4.21

4.47

4.55

Asses

3.05

3.10

3.10

3.15

3.15

3.20

3.27

3.32

3.36

3.35

Poultry

89

91

92

95

95

95

97

98

96

96

Source: FAO Statistics, 2011.

Scale of Enterprise
Three production sub-systems can be identified. These include traditional extensive (Figure 11), semi-intensive (Figure 12) and intensive (Figure 13) sub-systems. The first one is characterized by low production inputs and outputs and holding of few animals. It is practiced for sheep, goats, cattle, and buffalo in the various agro-ecological zones. The intensive production sub-system is characterized by high inputs and outputs as well as very large livestock holdings. This sub-system operates on the production of exotic cattle and constitutes about 10% of the total animal production system. About 60% of white meat production comes from intensive units. The semi-intensive sub-system depends on improved local breeds and husbandry techniques. It is practiced for lamb and calf fattening.

Small farmers who do not own agricultural lands or control agricultural holdings are the main source of animal production.

(a) Buffaloes are fed shrubs on a canal bank. (b) Typical small farmers have 2-3 heads and feed then on berseem
Figure 11. Traditional extensive animal production.

 

(a)    Hybrid cattle from local and foreign breeds (b)   Buffaloes grazing berseem.    
Figure 12. Semi-intensive animal production.

 

(a) Typical farm with intensive animal production. (b) High potential breed fed on high quality feed.
(c) Milking parlour for mechanical milking of cattle.
Figure 13. Intensive animal production
[Click to view larger pictures]

Feeding Systems
The feeding system is considered one of the key factors which play an important role in animal development and improvement (El-Nahrawy, 2008a). Egypt has little effective rainfall, with the highest of 200 mm being unequally distributed and on limited areas; therefore, Egypt has poor rangeland, although vast areas of more than 10 million ha exist. Egypt depends mainly on Egyptian clover (berseem) as the key forage crop. The cultivated area of berseem ranges from 1 050 000 ha to 1 260 000 ha in Delta and the Nile Valley annually. There is big competition between berseem and wheat, especially on old land where the productivity is the highest for both crops. Although there is a wide gap between the available and the required feed, there is a very rapid development in the animal wealth to meet the high demand for animal products. The new development in animal wealth depends mainly on concentrates for which the main raw materials are imported with hard currency. Although there is no good and reliable existing follow up recording system for livestock and available feed records, the total feed requirements for animal wealth are estimated at about 23.5 million tonnes of dry matter, 11.0 million tonnes TDN [Total Digestible Nutrients], and 1.9 million tonnes DCP [Digestible Crude Protein] based upon estimating the maintenance, growth, and production requirements approach and considered constant weigh, milk production and daily gain rate indicators.  The sources of available feed, the total amount and nutritive value in terms of TDN and DCP in metric tonnes (MT) and the percentage of the total available feed as it was estimated according to the 2003 records are presented in Table 7. The cut-and-carry feeding system is associated with small scale irrigated farms (less than 1-2.5 ha) where fodder crops (berseem, alfalfa, sorghum, Sudan grass etc.) are harvested to feed farm animals (see Figure 14a). Surplus green fodder is sold in nearby towns and villages to other livestock owners. Weeds and crop residues may be used.

 In large scale dairy farms irrigated fodder crops are produced, mainly berseem in winter and sorghum and maize (corn) silage in summer. Mechanical harvesting (chopping) and hand cutting are both practiced and green fodder is fed among total mixed rations to the dairy herd, while any surplus may be made into hay which is baled and stored. Locally made concentrates or processed feeds are also fed to maintain high milk yield. Crop residues are available from irrigated crops. They include cereal straws and stovers (wheat, grain sorghum, maize, rice, faba beans, and berseem for seed production), cereal stubble, legume haulms, groundnuts, sugar cane and sugar beet tops and baggasse and vegetable crop residues (water melon, beans, peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers). Agro-industrial by-products include molasses, oil seed cakes (cotton, flax, sunflower, and sesame), grains and by-products of cereal milling (bran) (Table 7).

Table 7. Sources, amount, nutritive value and percentages of total available feed according to 2003 records.

Source

Amount in 1000 MT

Available TDN in 1000 MT

% of total feedstuff

AvailableDCP in 1000 MT

% of total feedstuff

Good roughages; Berseem (fresh & hay) & other forages 

65 300

6 200

55.92

1 300

82.91

Poor Roughages (Straws)

 6 400

2 560

23.08

   38

  2.42

Grains & Seeds, milling by – products (bran) & Oil seed residues 

 1 300

 780

  7.03

 130

  8.29

Corn silage

 3 200

 730

   6.58

   65

  4.15

Sugar cane tops

 4 800

720

   6.49

  24

  1.53

Groundnut straw

   180

100

   0.90

  11

  0.70

Total

81 180

11 090

100.0

1 568

100.0

Source: Economic Affairs Department, Agricultural Statistics Bulletin (2003), Ministry of Agriculture, Cairo, Egypt

 

Table 8. Estimated feed balance according to recorded livestock population in 2003.

Total feed in MT

TDN

DCP

Available

11 200 000

1 568 000

Required

13 500 000

1 044 000

Balance

- 2 300 000

+ 524 000

% self Sufficiency

82.96

150.2

Source: El-Nahrawy, 2008a.

There was a surplus of DCP (+524 000 MT), while there was a deficit of TDN (-2.3 million MT) in the animal feeding balance in 2003 (Table 8). It is very difficult to have precise estimates of feed balance without getting reliable records of livestock numbers and available feed. Both animals and area devoted to feed production are dynamic and it is very difficult to keep up with the rapid changes unless good coordinated systems exist, which is not the case. But in general, depending on many signs such as population increase, high demand for animal products, increases in the share of animal products and high demand for feed, the real numbers of animals and available feed are probably higher than those recorded and real estimates of feed balances must be attempted to enhance future planning and strategies and to ensure that the gap is closed. Indeed, there were and still are surpluses of DCP, but farmers need to be advised to properly feed their livestock in order to avoid wastage of very expensive resources such as the protein from berseem. Farmers start feeding their animals ad lib (Figure 14b) as soon as berseem becomes available. This is considered a waste of protein which represents the most expensive portion of the ration. Feeding on berseem only will result in an imbalanced ration which will negatively affect animal productivity. To overcome this problem, it has been proposed to supplement animals fed on berseem only with silage made from corn stovers.

Figure 14a. Sheep and goats being fed alfalfa. Figure 14b. Buffaloes fed ad lib on berseem only
[Click to view larger pictures]

Integration of Livestock into Farming Systems
Livestock/crop production is an excellent example of an integrated production system (Figure 6) where fodder crops and agricultural residues provide the feed for animals. The majority of small farmers (about 90% of farmers) practice this system. Animal manure makes the soil more productive than would be the case in their absence. More than 50 million m3 of animal manure are produced annually. An important part of the forage is grown on the farm whereas concentrates are purchased. Some hay and straw are often bought. Although green forage and silage form the greater part of the ration, hay and concentrates are also important.

The main characteristics of the animal production sector are:

  • 17.3% of the cattle population and 6% of the buffalo population are owned by people who do not own agricultural land.
  • 89% of the cattle population and about 75% of the buffalo population are in agricultural holdings of less than 2.1 ha.
  • 93% of the cattle population and about 86% of the buffalo population are in herds of less than ten animals.
  • 25% of the sheep and goat populations are owned by people who do not own agricultural land.
  • 83% of the sheep population and about 87% of the goat population are in agricultural holdings of less than 2.1 ha.
  • 51% of the sheep population and about 55% of the goat population are in herds of less than ten animals.

Limitations

  • Inadequate feeding is the major limiting factor for animal development which causes high mortality of young animals and low daily gain and reproduction performances well below the genetic potential. Inadequate feeding results from low pasture productivity especially in the rainfed areas and inadequate use of berseem due to lack of producer knowledge of nutritional value and feed requirements.
  • Inadequate stock water in most range areas. Animals may have to travel long distances to water points, and some water is of poor quality.
  • Inadequate herd management practices leading to uncontrolled reproduction with no castration of inferior males and low replacement of old females. These practices lead to little or no genetic improvement in the herd.
  • Health management of the herd is still insufficient, despite the efforts being made by the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Resource degradation, including soil loss to water and wind erosion, loss of soil fertility,  soil salinization, decrease of aquifers, and degradation of range due to overgrazing, and cultivation of marginal lands.
  • Access to improved bulls and artificial insemination services is limited, especially for small farmers.
  • Climate constraints, particularly the high frequency and severity of drought.

Socio-economic Limitations
Limited land, limited water and rapidly growing population require continuing intensification of production on a limited natural resource base. Intensification requires ensuring high yields, greater input efficiencies, reduced negative environmental effects, a greater knowledge base and efficient management.  Moreover, changes in the socio-economic environment have been brought about by changes in urbanization and higher incomes and the need for more export earnings or substitution of imports. Socio-economic constraints to improving the pasture and forage resources and to animal production can be summarized as follows:

  • Intrusion of other uses such as dry land farming, both traditional and mechanized onto rangelands.
  • Insufficient technical packages, staffing and extension.
  • Changes in production systems where more concentrates are being used while most of its raw materials (especially corn and soybean) are imported, put extra pressure on farm financial resources and stability and on ranges.
  • Animal product prices to the producer not sufficient to encourage investments due to the competition with imported products.
  • Since the majority of animal breeders are composed of small farmers and they rely on animal products for both food and living, most of the above constraints highly affect them economically as well as socially.

5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE

Egypt has little effective rainfall, at most 200 mm unequally distributed and on limited areas; therefore, Egypt has poor rangeland, although vast areas of more than 10 million ha exist. According to FAO (2010) rangelands provide only 5 percent of animal feed in Egypt. Egypt depends largely on Egyptian clover (berseem) as the main forage crop and on crop residues and by-products. The cultivated area of berseem ranges from 1 050 000 to 1 260 000 hectares annually in the Delta and Nile Valley. There is a competition between berseem and wheat, especially on old land, where the productivity is the highest for both crops. Although there is a wide gap between the available and the required feed, there is very rapid development in the animal wealth to meet the high demand for animal products. Recorded share from animal protein is about 17 g/day in 1997 and is planned to be increased to 21g per capita by 2017 (FAO, 2003). The degradation of natural resources in Matrouh and Sinai governorates is part of an endemic cycle of poverty, lack of viable production alternatives and uncoordinated regional development. The agricultural system in Matrouh governorate, in contrast to most other agricultural activities in Egypt, is mainly based on rainfed land use, and in particular on animal production. Livestock production has been the mainstay of agricultural production in Matrouh governorate. There are approximately 500,000 sheep, 150,000 goats, 15,000 donkeys, 8,000 cattle and 12,000 camels. In addition, most households have some poultry (mainly chickens) and pigeons. Land use revolves around livestock production either through grazing of rangelands or through opportunistic barley (and to a lesser extent wheat) cultivation with both grain as well as the straw used for feeding of small ruminants or cattle. Livestock production has adapted to the climatic trends (with 2 or 3 dry years per decade). Although livestock production under prevailing climatic conditions is risky, livestock owners are able to avert the risk somewhat through:

1- The purchase of barley and processed feed.

2- By transporting their flocks to the Delta or Siwa oasis during years of severe drought.

Still there are fluctuations in animal numbers, and owners tend to keep nearly all their replaced females in good years.

Traditionally, rangeland grazing was the basis of livestock production of the area. The grazing lands, especially in the coastal area, have evolved through the last century. These lands, during the last few decades, have been exposed to degradation caused by transformation into agricultural land (increased water and wind erosion), by over-grazing leading to further erosion and narrowing of the botanical composition. Plant growth in the region is concentrated in a short "pulse" during the short, and erratic, rainy season. The few major ecologically significant events in the area are the tank battle during World War II (with some lands still inaccessible today because of mines) and the rapid expansion of coastal tourism.

Increasing animal numbers have disturbed the balance between available forage and carrying capacity. Rough estimates of carrying capacity vary from 0-4.2 feeding units (F.U) [F.U. = nutritive value equivalent to 1kg of grain barley]/ha in dry years to 17 F.U./ha in good years, with an average of 8 F.U./ha. Actual grazing land available per sheep unit is estimated at 7 ha. The stocking density, however, varies considerably during the grazing season. Most flocks graze the southern rangelands during the rainy season, but have to abandon this pasture in the dry season due to lack of water. This lack of water is an important factor in restricting the use of the rangeland, and in protection of its quality. Approximately 70% of available land in Matrouh governorate is rangeland (Figure 4). The southern desert area, which is communally owned, is generally in good shape as its use is limited by the lack of water, consequently it is mainly used by camels or, seasonally, by small ruminants. The pressure on the northern rangelands in the settlement zone closer to the coast is higher.

Rangelands

Depending on the definition used various sources put the area of rangelands in Egypt at somewhere between 4 and 10 million ha. Hegazi et al. (2005) indicate that the main areas of rangelands are distributed over the Northwest Coast (NWC) region, the Sinai Peninsula and the Halayeb-Shalayin region in the South East corner of Egypt bordering the Red Sea. In these regions livestock raising based on rangelands as a principal source of feed is traditionally the main occupation of the bedouin inhabitants.

The range vegetation in most parts of Egypt is characterized by stands of shrubs and semi-shrubs with a cover of short-lived annual forbs and grasses.  The density of the dominant shrubs varies with soil type and with location, generally decreasing with increasing distance from the coast. Perennial forbs and grasses are present but only a few (e.g. Plantago albicans) are considered of any significance. Although the density of annuals varies from one vegetation type to another, rainfall amount and distribution through the season exert a strong influence on species density and biomass production. Different range types can be differentiated in sandy, rocky, swampy and salt marsh areas, on coastal plains, foothills and areas of higher or lower elevation and in wadis, and on the basis of the main species including Gymnocarpos decander, Artemisia herba-alba, Haloxylon scoparium, Plantago albicans, Anabasis articulate, Suaeda pruinosa etc.

Main range types include:

Salt-Marsh: Characterized by a high density of salt tolerant shrubs. In general the amount of grazing obtained is small and generally restricted to the early autumn, due to the low palatability of the dominant shrubs which have a high salt content;

Rockland: Characterized by the dominance of the semi-shrub Gymnocarpus decander, and found on rocky ridges and eroded slopes. Although plant density here is generally low, the palatability to small ruminants of most species is high. The vegetation is grazed mainly in the summer and autumn;

Sub-desert: Similar to rockland in the presence of Gymnocarpus sp. but with a greater species diversity and productivity due to the more favourable soil conditions. This vegetation type is found mainly south of Sidi Barrani and is grazed chiefly in winter and spring;

Coastal Plain: Artemesia herba-alba is the dominant species. It occupies areas with relatively deep, medium-textured soils. The density of shrubs and herbs is high;

Eroded Coastal Plain: Characterized by open stands of the low shrub Haloxylon articulatum and occupying degraded sites in the northern plains. Species diversity is low as is the density of annuals. Provides some summer and autumn grazing;

Inland Dunes: This range type is on stabilized and semi-stabilized inland sand dunes, mainly in the Sidi Barrani area. The characteristic species is the perennial forb Plantago albicans associated with numerous other shrubs and perennial forbs and grasses. The density of both perennial and annual species is high in stabilized areas. Grazing of this vegetation takes place mainly in spring and early summer;

Saline Uplands: Characterised by the salt-tolerant, semi-shrub Suaeda pruinosa, with low species diversity and density. Grazing takes place mainly in early summer and in the autumn; and

Desert Range: The main range type in the southern area. The soils are often shallow or covered with a thin sheet of sand. The dominant species here is the desert shrub Anabasis articulata. Plant density is very low, with the exception of low areas receiving additional moisture from run-off. This vegetation type is grazed year-round by camels whilst sheep and goats may obtain some grazing here mainly in the winter.

For each range type major and other species were listed by Hegazi et al. (2005). For example:

Plantago albicans Range Type - one of the most important and valuable range types in Sidi Barrani district and on the plateau south of El-Omayed on medium and semi-stabilized aeolion deposits. The main palatable associate species are Echiochylon fruticosum, Helianthemum lippii, Gymnocarpos decander, Saliva aegyptiaca, and Pituranthos sp. In good rainy years, it provides the bulk of grazeable forage for sheep and goats. In the Plantago ranges, grazing in the late winter and spring is provided by Plantago albicans and annuals, while the other perennial shrubs, sub shrubs and dried annuals are the main grazing resources in late spring and early summer.

Artemisia herba-alba Range Type - occurs mainly in the area 10-20 km inland from the coast, occupying medium deep calcareous loamy to sandy loam soils around Sidi Barranni, Ras El-Hekma, Fuka and Dabaa. Artemisia herba-alba communities are frequently found in mixture with Haloxylon and Anabasis sp. Asphodelus microcarpos is often a dominant associate in degraded phases of this range type due to its low palatability and low grazing value. This range type is mainly grazed during late summer, autumn and early winter.

Although the natural plant cover of Egyptian deserts is quite low and scattered, the flora in the North West coast is relatively rich and diverse. The Western Mediterranean Coastal land is one of the richest phyto- geographical regions in Egypt because of its relatively high rainfall; it contains 50% of the total flora of Egypt. The most important land-use in this area is grazing.

Studies have shown that the natural plant wealth in the coastal sand dunes rangelands in the north west of Egypt was composed of twenty four plant species belonging to sixteen families (Table 9). The Poaceae family has the highest number of species (four species) followed by Fabaceae and Brassicaceae families (three species for each), then Asteraceae family (two species) and one plant for the remaining families. Tackholm (1974) and Boulos (1995) indicated that Fabaceae and Asteraceae are the largest families in Egypt and had the greatest number of plant species. According to palatability, fifteen species (about 62.5%) were palatable and nine species (about 37.5%) were un-palatable. Twenty plant species were perennials (about 83%) and only four species (about 17%) were annuals.

Table 9. List of species, palatability, and life duration of plant species recorded in coastal sand dunes during spring 2005 and 2006.

Family Name

Scientific Name

Palatability

*Life duration**

Vernacular name

Poaceae

Aelumpus  lagopoides

p

Per.

Molleih

 

Ammophila arenana

p

Per.

Gazzoof

 

Lophochloa  cristata

p

Ann.

Deal elcoat

 

Phragmites australis

p

Per.

Hagna

Brassicaceae

Cakiie maritima

p

Ann.

Figl el-gamal

 

Diplotaxis acris

p

Ann.

Yahaq

 

Mohcandia  nitens

Up

Per.

Rakham

Fabaceae

Lotus polyphyllus

P

Per.

Qarn el gamal

 

Lygos raetarn

P

Per.

Retem

 

Ononis vaginalis   

P

Per.

Hotteiba

Asteraceae

Silybum mahanum

Up

Per.

Shoak e! gamal

 

Varthemia candicans

Up

Per.

Za'atr el-Hornmar

Apiaceae

Eryngium campestre

Up

Per.

Shaqaqeel

Boraginaceae

Echium sericeum

p

Per.

Saaq el-hamam

Caryophyllaceae

Silene  succulenta

Up

Per.

Khobezyet el-bahr

Euphorbiaceae

Euphorbia paralias

Up

Per.

Sakraan

Geraniaceae

Erodium hirtum

p

Per.

Timmeir

Labiatae

Saliva lanigers

p

Per.

Mariamiya

Amaryliidaceae

Pancratium maritimum

Up

Per.

Bosseil

Resedaceae

Reseda decursiva

p

Ann.

Rigl el ghraab

Solanaceae

Lycium shawii

p

Per.

Awseeg

Tamaricaceae

Tamarix nilotica

p

Per.

Abal

Thymelaceae

Thymelaea hirsuta

Up

Per.

Mithnaan

Zygophyllaceae

Zygophyllum album

Up

Per.

Ratrayt

Adapted from Abbas et al. 2008; *P: Palatable; Up: Unpalatable; Ann. : Annual; Per. : Perennial.

The indigenous range vegetation is considered the most important and basic animal feed in the arid and semi- arid regions of Egypt. It is characterized by poor quality, low nutritive value and poor productivity during the dry seasons (El Shaer, 1996). Rehabilitation of the nutritive ranges and/ or cultivation with salt-drought tolerant shrubs is recommended, as a national strategy to improve the native rangelands (El Shaer, 1999), Many species of leguminous shrubs, particularly Acacia spp. have proved to be useful multipurpose shrubs in North Africa and Egypt (El Lakany, 1987). A. saligna is the most successful of the Australian Acacia due to its tolerance of drought, ability to grow on poor soil and higher production of biomass.

Rangeland Production and Carrying Capacity of Rangelands

Few data are available from actual stocking rate trials to estimate the carrying capacity of the range types. However, according to Hegazi et al. (2005) estimates have been made by experts based on their field observation and their long experience in the region. Carrying capacity varied from 1.21-2.02 ha/sheep unit /yr for the Plantago albicansEchiochilon fruticosum association growing in deep sandy soil to 6.07 ha/sheep unit/year for the HaloxylonAnabasis articulata range type. A field survey was carried out to estimate the carrying capacity of the different range types extending from Burg El-Arab to Sulloum. The carrying capacity estimates varied greatly for the different range types, ranging from 1.62-6.07 ha/sheep unit/yr for Plantago albicans, 2.02-8.09 ha for Artemisia herba-alba, 2.02-10.12 ha for Gymnocarpos decander; 3.24-12.14 ha for Anabasis articulata; 3.24-11.33 ha for Suaeda pruinosa and 6.07-14.16 ha/sheep unit/year for twenty five Haloxylon ranges. Estimated carrying capacity differed from 1.62 ha/sheep unit/year (SU) for Fuka grazing district to 8.90 ha / sheep unit /year for El-Salloum district.

The annual / feed production of the rangelands varies between nil in poor rainfall years to 74.13-98.84 feed unit (FU) with an average of 49.42 FU/ha/year. On the basis of the barley acreage in 1990 and an estimated production of 568.34 FU/ha of barley, the carrying capacity of the area extending from Ras El-Hekma to Salloum was estimated at about 93 000 sheep units (SU)/ year while the actual number of small ruminants raised at the time was about 214 000 SU, indicating that the rangelands can only support about 44% of the actual number of the small ruminants raised. This also indicates that at least 60% of feedstuff requirements came from outside resources. Any shortage in the supply of feeds from outside the region would have to be offset from rangelands because the grazing animal will be maintained on the rangelands causing more deterioration of rangelands and lower production of grazing herds.

A recent report estimated the consumable productivity of some plant communities in Bakbak project (south west of Sidi Barrani) at between 49.42-74.13 kg/dry matter /ha/year. The average productivity of the whole area was estimated at 61.78 kg/ha/year. This area is a part of the natural poor degraded range type. Due to proximity to the mountains, the wadis in Halayeb basin have more floristically variable vegetation with higher frequency of palatable species than wadis in Shalateen basin. However, Shalateen rangelands are suffering more from heavy overgrazing due to excessive animal numbers, cutting and uprooting of trees and shrubs. Furthermore, herbaceous plant communities in the wadis of Shalateen basin are dominated by the unpalatable species of Sasola baryosma and Francoeria crispa. In the wadis of Halayeb basin there are more palatable species dominated by Panicum turgidum which is good forage grass. Similarly, Wadi Hedrerba in Halayeb basin has the richest grazing resources and the highest potential for conservation and improvement of the wadis. The most important forage species in Wadi Hederba are Panicum turgidum, Aristida mutabilis, Artemisa judaica and Lycium shawii which could provide good useful grazing resources for small ruminants and camels during winter and summer.

Some typical rangeland scenes are shown in Figures 15 a-e.

Figure 15a. A typical example of arid natural rangeland in Egypt

Figure 15b. Over-exploitation has resulted in a deterioration of the rangelands.

Figure 15c. Shrubs and trees provide forage in early spring

Figure 15d. Over-exploitation of Egyptian rangeland dominated by trees and shrubs Figure 15e. A Typical Artemisia dominated desert rangeland in Egypt

Fodder Crops
In Egypt forages for livestock feed are mainly produced under irrigation. Irrigated forages contribute about 18% of the value of field crops and are grown on the average on about 1 260 000 ha annually (FAO, 2003). These include: multi-cut (long season) berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum L.); single cut (short season) berseem (Figure 16A); alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (Figure 16B); hybrid forage sorghum (Sorghum sudanense X Sorghum bicolor) (Figure 17) and Sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense (Piper) Stapf.) (Figure 18); pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.) (Figure 19); fodder maize (Darawa) (Zea mays L.) (Figure 20); maize or corn silage (Figure 21); and minor forages such as cowpea (Vigna sinensis L.) (Figure 22), teosinte (Euchlanea mexicana Schrad.) (Figure 23), Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) (Figure 24), guar (Cyamposis tetragonoloba) (Figure 25), fodder beet (Beta vulgaris L.) (Figure 26), chickling pea or rough pea (Lathyrus sativus), elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schumach), Amshoot (Echinochloa stagninum) (Figure 27), sesbania (Sesbania sesban L.) (Figure 28), and triticale (Figure 29). Area, productivity and production of fodder crops in 2005 are presented in Table 10.

 

Forage production Forage production
Seed production
Figure 16A. Egyptian clover (berseem) c.v. Fahl.

Forage production. Seed production
Alfalfa performance on desert and marginal land.
Figure 16B. Alfalfa
Figure 17. Forage sorghum: Seed production. Figure 18. Sudan grass for forage production.
Figure 19. Pearl millet for forage production. Figure 20. Darawa (fodder maize) is planted during winter to secure the feed supply until berseem becomes available.

Forage crops, mainly fresh berseem during winter and as hay during summer, represents about 60% of available local feed. Summer forage crops such as Darawa, millet, sorghum, cowpea, Sudan grass, corn silage represent about 5% of the available local feed. Alfalfa which provides feed all the year around represents about 5% of the available local feed. A feed calendar showing good roughages during the whole year in Egypt is presented in Figure 30. It is clear from the figure that the feed shortage peak is during summer. The total available feed is about 11.2 and 1.568 million MT of TDN and DCP, respectively. Good roughages such as berseem, hay, alfalfa, and summer forage crops; forage sorghum, Sudan grass, millet, and Darawa represent about 82.9 and 55.92% of the total DCP and TDN, respectively. While straws, grains and seeds, and milling by-products and oil seed residues, corn silage, sugar cane tops, and groundnut straw make 2.42 and 23.08, 8.29 and 7.03, and 4.15 and 6.58, and 1.53 and 6.49, and 0.7 and 0.9% of the total DCP and TDN, respectively. On the other hand, the total required TDN and DCP in 2003 were about 13.5 and 1.044 million MT, respectively. The percentage of self-sufficiency in 2003 was estimated at 82.96% and 150.2% for TDN and DCP, respectively (Table 8) (El-Nahrawy, 2008a).

Table 10. Area, productivity and production of forage crops in Egypt in 2008.

Crop

Area under crop (ha)

Productivity t[green wt]/ ha

Production ( t)

Berseem:

Long season
Short season
Alfalfa
Darawa
Sudan grass
Elephant grass
Hybrid sorghum
Amshoot
Barnyard grass
Cowpea
Pearl millet
Fodder beet
Green fenugreek
Rough pea

 

783 000
197 345
35 923
87 923
3 503
2 150
3 300
4 550
3 000
500
1 120
30
95
4

 

70.0
29.0
94.5
28.6
54.5
52.2
78.4
39.0
30.8
33.6
74.0
152.4
12.5
6.0

 

54 810 000
5 723 005
3 394 723
  2 514 598
190 913
  112 230
258 720
177 450
   92 400
  16 800
  82 880
   4 572
1 188
24


(a) Maize silage ready for feeding (b) Mixed silage from maize and cowpea before ensiling.
Figure 21. Maize (corn) for silage
(a) Forage production (b) Cowpea in mixture with millet
Figure 22. Cowpeas
Figure 23. Teosinte. Figure 24. Italian ryegrass.
Figure 25. Guar Figure 26. Fodder beet.
Figure 27. Amshoot Figure 28. Sesbania.
Figure 29. Triticale.

Figure 30. Fodder Crops Feed Calendar

The Role of Egyptian Clover in Egyptian Agriculture
Berseem is a vital component of the agricultural system of the Nile Valley and Delta. Including berseem in the rotation has been God's gift for maintaining the sustainability of the Egyptian agricultural system for more than five thousand years of intensive use (El-Nahrawy, 2008b). Fairchild (1902) stated that berseem is "the great forage and soiling crop of the Nile Valley". Throughout Fairchild's assessment of the evolution of Egyptian agriculture he considered berseem to be indispensable as a rotation crop during the centuries of Egyptian cotton production. Fairchild's sharp insight has been assured after the establishment of the High Dam. The High Dam prevented the enrichment of Egyptian soil by the silt and nutrients that had been carried by the Nile water during flooding. The role of berseem in soil sustainability could had been suspected or confounded with other causes before the High Dam establishment. But after the erection of the High Dam which precluded enriching the soil with silt and nutrients during flooding, there is no doubt that only berseem is responsible for the sustainability of Egyptian lands for more than five thousand years of intensive cultivation. Moreover, Graves et al. (1996) concluded that it is difficult to imagine a greater honour to be bestowed on a crop than to give it credit for sustaining agricultural production in such an ancient land. Berseem has been called in California "the magic crop" due to its multiple advantages and rare or no disadvantages in comparison with crops like alfalfa. In addition to the fact that berseem has enabled livestock to be closely integrated with cropping for many centuries, it is:

  • A better choice for soil improvement and increasing soil fertility with its ability to add high level of nitrogen (53-71 kg/ha) by symbiotic N2 fixation (Graves et al. 1996). It means that every year there is more than 714 000 tons of fixed nitrogen (AbdElHady, 1993; Graves et al. 1996) added to Egyptian cultivated lands. Additionally, berseem has been for more than five thousand years considered indispensable in rotation with cereals, cotton and other crops due to its high N2-fixing ability. Without growing (mainly) berseem and other legumes, the high productivity of non-leguminous crops could not have been maintained.
  • Mowed several times for forage and then ploughed under beseem can be used as a green manure (Figure 31). This practice is sometimes referred to as "ploughed down". The crop is allowed to grow to approximately 4-10 cm height and is then incorporated into the soil. This is done with either a mouldboard plough or a disk. Single- or double-disk harrows followed or preceded by heavy-duty cultivators can effectively incorporate the green crop into the soil. Berseem green manure begins to decompose very rapidly and releases nitrogen as soon as it is turned under. Thus, the amount of commercial fertilizer added for the succeeding crop can be decreased. An increase in yield and quality has been observed in cereal crops that were subsequently grown on land where berseem had been used as green manure or even planted for forage production.
Figure 31. Berseem as green manure
  • Important in a rotation as it helps to conserve the soil and prevents wind and water erosion and increases the organic matter content of the soil especially in newly reclaimed lands as well as improving soil structure and physical and chemical properties. It provides a cereal disease break in cropping rotations.
  • The best shelter for rearing the beneficial insects which help to biologically control the deleterious ones. No pesticides are used during the lifetime of the crop except when recommended, especially in the establishment stage. Therefore, berseem is considered as a very good place of shelter for rearing the beneficial insects which help to bring back the balance lost due to misusing pesticides. 
  • The most viable way economically as well as environmentally of controlling all kinds of weeds, especially wild oats. An infested square metre of wheat with ten plants of wild oats would cause more than 30% loss in yield. Wild oats is considered a big problem in Egypt especially in wheat and there is an existing National Campaign for control of wild oats. Many means for wild oats control are being used but the only means which is both efficient and viable economically and environmentally friendly is cultivating the invested land with berseem (Figure 32). In other words, rotating berseem with wheat (Table 11). Comparing the crop sequence for four successive seasons from 1991/92 to 1994/95, continuous planting of wheat resulted in an increase in the number of spikes of wild oats more than 16 times and a decrease in the productivity of wheat about 12 times in comparison with rotating berseem with wheat. It should be mentioned that the pronounced decrease in wheat productivity is a result of both weeds and the absence of nitrogen added through rotating berseem with wheat. Repeated cutting from five to seven times per season will remove growing weeds and result in a depletion of the weed seed bank (Table 12). It is very common to see fields, planted with wheat following berseem, free of weeds without applying any treatment for weed control. Berseem is considered unique in this merit in comparison with faba bean (Tables 11 and 12). Frequent cutting will give no chance for weeds to produce seeds unlike the case for faba bean. Without berseem in the rotation with cereals and cotton, Egypt would not be able to achieve the higher productivity existing for these crops (El-Nahrawy, 2008b).
Figure 32. Using berseem to control weeds.
  • The best crop for applying the no-till concept especially when it is planted after rice (Figure 33). Soil preparation after rice would cause a lot of disturbance to soil structure and micro-flora as well as soil conservation due to increasing the probability of wind and water erosion as well as soil compaction.
Figure 33. Berseem planted after rice with no-till.
  • The crop which provides exported seed (7 400 tonnes in 1989) as a major component (86%) in Egypt seed exports (Egyptian Financial Group, 1991). High demands for berseem seed from East Asian and Southern Europe countries have seen Egyptian annual exports of berseem seed increase to thirty thousand tons in 2009. Berseem must be cross-pollinated to produce seed. Cross-pollination or the transfer of pollen from the anthers of one plant to the stigma of another plant is done primarily by bees (Figure 34). Flowers are pollinated when bees are collecting pollen or nectar. A bee forces its proboscis down the corolla tube, causing the stamens and pistil to protrude from the interior of the floret.
Figure 34. Bees cross-pollinate berseem and lead to high seed production.
  • The best nominated crop for sustainable rotations with rice for salt-affected soils. Graves et al. (1996) reported that berseem is well known for its use in reclamation of salty lands in Egypt. It is described by Lauchli (1984) and Winter and Lauchli (1982) as moderately tolerant to salinity, more so than wheat and strawberry clover but less than barley. It is better suited for specific rotation with rice at Serw Research Station in Demmitta Governorate where EC [Electrical Conductivity] up to 15 mm/cm has existed in some locations.
  • Environmentally friendly where minimum or no pesticides are used in comparison with most if not all crops.
  • The crop which converts the cultivated fields immediately to a green carpet which reflects a pleasant scene during the season.
  • Planted with companion crops. Various berseem-grass mixtures have been tried with the purpose of improving the forage productivity and dry matter content in comparison with pure stands. Barley, annual ryegrass, triticale and oats in different proportions have been used as components of these mixtures (Rammah and Radwan, 1977; Haggag et al, 1995). A companion grass reduces the risk of bloating especially from the forage of first harvest due to high moisture content, complete loss due to disease or adverse conditions such as salinity, drought, low temperature and low light intensity. Results proved that including ryegrass in mixtures with berseem lead to an increase in DM content, especially in the first cut, and intake. Berseem is very rich in protein and poor in energy. Therefore, including it in mixtures with grasses will lead to a balanced ration and consequently will be reflected in animal performance.
  • The major foraging crop for honeybees. The main honey production in Egypt comes from bees foraging from berseem. Any decrease in the area cultivated with berseem will affect honey production.
  • Better suited for planting underneath fruit trees such as olives, mango, apple (Figure 35), peaches, grapes and citrus, date palm, and pear. This is mainly done with the objectives of controlling weeds, intensifying production as well as enriching the soil with nitrogen and organic matter.

 Figure 35. Berseem planted underneath apple trees.

  • Considered the foundation crop for land reclamation especially the desert or marginal land. A rule of thumb for successful land reclamation is establishing a livestock/cropping system. Organic matter incorporated into the land from berseem as well as animal manure and fixed nitrogen by bacteria will convert the marginal and poor soil to fertile soil within three to five years which is impossible under any other single system. Manure is a complete nutrient source, containing all of the major nutrients, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients. In addition, manure promotes biological activity in the soil and enhances the soil physical properties.

[For more information on berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum) see < www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPC/doc/Gbase/DATA/Pf000414.HTM >].

Table 11. Effect of crop rotation on the control of wild oats in wheat fields (1995)

Crop sequence

Wild oats no. spikes/m2

Wheat production kg/ha

91/92

92/93

93/94

94/95

Wheat

Berseem

Berseem

Faba bean

Wheat

Berseem

Wheat

Berseem

Wheat

Berseem

Berseem

Wheat

Wheat

Wheat

Wheat

Wheat

227

14.1

33.2

129.5

310

4 254

3 891

1 179

Adapted from El Hasanan  S. El H. 1996.

Table 12. Effect of crop rotation on the number of wild oat seeds in the soil (seed bank) in 1995.

Crop sequence

wild oat seeds per 500g soil

91/92

92/93

93/94

94/95

At planting

At harvest

Difference

Wheat   

Berseem

Berseem

Faba bean

Wheat  

Berseem

Wheat  

Berseem

Wheat

Berseem

Berseem

Wheat

Wheat

Wheat

Wheat

Wheat

22.9

0.3

0.8

1.8

98.3

11.0

8.4

60.0

75.3

10.7

7.6

58.2

Adapted from El. Hasanan S. El. H. 1996.

Forage Seed Production
Berseem occupies about one million ha seasonally. Nevertheless, berseem has not received much attention compared to cereal crops; i.e. wheat, rice and corn (SADS, 2009).The remarkable increase in cereal productivity in the last two decades (from 8 million MT in 1980 to more than 22 million MT in 2009) is mainly due to developing high-yielding cultivars and making their certified seed available to growers. Unfortunately, this is not the case for berseem. In spite of developing high-yielding berseem cultivars such as Helally, Sakha 4, Gimmeza 1, Sirw 1, Giza 6 and Sakha 3, and making their breeder and basic seeds available through the Forage Crops Research Department (FCRD) for producing certified seed by the Central Administration of Seed Production (CASP), little or no certified seed is produced by CASP. No major efforts are made to provide local as well as export markets with seeds of properly identified and pure cultivars of berseem in spite of the existence of all the essential factors for a successful seed industry. Farmers have traditionally produced their own seed or purchased their requirements from the local markets. However, local seed is both uncertified and uncontrolled, and the quality of such seed on local markets is rather poor. Forage seed production is less developed compared to other crops. This situation is due probably to the fact that forage seeds are considered by all stakeholders and mainly by farmers as a by-product of forage production. Therefore, most seeds are produced and distributed through the informal sector. The public sector plays almost no role in forage seed production, and instead it virtually directs all its efforts to supplying seed of strategic crops such as wheat, corn and rice as mentioned above, though small amounts of high quality seed are being made available to growers of forage crops (including berseem, alfalfa, hybrid sorghum, millet, cowpeas, Sudan grass, teosinte and guar) by the FCRD and ARC. Departmental regulations set standards for foundation (basic) and certified seed of forage crops. In addition to varietal development, the research program conducted at various research stations all over the country provides small amounts of high-quality seed, which helps to upgrade commercial supplies. In this way, the genetic identity of seed is maintained at those research stations through several generations. However, the amount of seed produced through research stations is very small (less than 1%) relative to domestic and foreign demands. It is worth mentioning that in spite of the fact that the average productivity of berseem for the whole country is 68.7 t/ha, the average productivity of Kafer El-Sheikh governorate is 111.6 t/ha. The improvement of berseem productivity in Kafer El-Sheikh is mainly due to the distribution and dissemination of improved berseem varieties seed from FCRD located at Sakha Agricultural Research Station. Moreover, recorded berseem productivity at Sids Agricultural Research Station from areas planted with certified seed of improved varieties and applying the recommended packages by FCRD surpassed double the average productivity. Demand for berseem seed is high due to its annual growth habit and its high sowing rate under Egyptian conditions. To meet the annual demand to sow one million ha, 47 619 t of berseem seed are required. Based on an average seed yield of around 595 kg/ha (250 kg/fed.), about 80 000 ha would be needed for seed production (around 8% of the total berseem area) just to meet the local demand.

Due to the unique characteristics of Egyptian forage crops and the numerous ecotypes and varieties present, especially for berseem and alfalfa, large amounts of these seeds are exported to many countries (El-Nahrawy and Rammah, 1995; El-Nahrawy et al., 1996).  Exported berseem seed (7 400 t in 1989) was the major component (86%) in all seed export and reached about 30,000 t in 2009. Considering the progress which has been achieved in cereal productivity, it is relatively easy to make progress in berseem productivity as well, which could result in transferring about 125-250 thousand ha to the wheat area from the berseem area, assuming there is no acute shortage in feed, which could be the case. If there is a big gap in feed which is likely the case, then it is unlikely that the wheat area can be increased. To eliminate this possibility different approaches to increase the feed supply will have to be found. It is very easy to produce certified berseem seed which could cover most of the berseem area within the five year plan, but the real problem is to create demand for it. To create demand we have to demonstrate to farmers the merit of the new technology and at the same time make the seed available at an encouraging price. This is why the coverage percentage of wheat and rice certified seeds is on the average about 25%. The net return is playing a big role in determination of the coverage percentage. What is needed to achieve this objective is support for the FCRD activities as well as effective collaboration among FCRD, CASP, Central Administration of Agricultural Extension (CAAE) and Central Administration of Seed Certification (CASC). The activities should be carried out as follows:

1- Technology transfers of the developed high-yielding berseem cultivars (Helally, Sakha4, Gimmeza1, Sirw1, Giza6 and Sakha3) as well as the optimum cultural practices to the farmers' fields through workshops, demonstration plots and field days.

2- Improve berseem basic and certified seed supply and create demand through an encouraging price to farmers.

3- Encouraging farmers to leave half the area or even the whole area of demonstration plots seeded with basic seed for seed production to accelerate the dissemination of the high yielding berseem cultivars.

 Limitations

1- The public sector plays almost no role in forage seed production.

2-  Since forages are not final products and are not easy to determine (such as for cereals), then it is necessary to encourage farmers to use certified seeds which needs demonstrations to convince farmers about the differences between good seed and bad seed.

3- As long as the farmers are not aware of the important role of good and certified seed from improved cultivars of the forages, the demand for seed will be very limited; hence the role of the private sector would be very small.

4- Unfortunately, the important role of berseem in Egyptian agriculture is not clear for the policy makers.

5- Pollination mode for berseem is still unclear and considering berseem as a self-pollinated crop makes limitation for isolation from neighbouring fields.

Crop Residues and By-products
Since there is limited natural grazing in Egypt, large ruminants mainly feed on crop residues. Buffaloes eating rice straw are a familiar sight. By-products are a part of the rations of dairy stock and fodders are often complementary to straws and stovers. Table 13 contains details of various crop residues, average amounts available annually and when they are available. The amounts of wheat, rice and corn straw and bagasse available are considerable.

Table 13. Crop residues, average amounts available annually and when they are available (2002).

Crop residue

Average amounts available annually (MT)

Availability Times

Rice straw

Wheat straw

Corn straw

Bagasse

Cotton straw

Barley straw

Lentil straw

Fenugreek straw

Chickpea straw

Lupine straw

Faba bean straw

Ground nut straw

3 484 701

7 295 385

3 207 645

8 687 354

1 760 209

543 878

5 897

4 295

28 841

7 526

607 997

6 031

Sept/Oct.

Oct/Nov.

Sept/Oct.

March/April/Oct.

Sept/Oct.

April/Dec.

March/April

"        "

"        "

"        "

"        "

Oct/ Nov.

Total

25 639 759

 
Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics Issue No.3, Cairo, Egypt (2002).

As farm crop residues and wastes can cause environmental problems unless they are re-cycled, their use or conversion and use as unconventional or non-traditional feedstuffs can be doubly beneficial. Upgrading the nutritive value of residues could be an important means of closing the feed gap. For example, in India (ICAR, 1996) the digestibility of wheat straw improved by 40-45% and voluntary intake by 86-100% when treated with urea (4 kg urea dissolved in 65 litres of water, sprayed or sprinkled on 100 kg of straw) and stored for 10 days. Crude protein content increased from 3.5 to 7.5 % and growth rate by 200-250g a day. The growing rate otherwise was 100-120 g a day. The approximate cost of treating straw was Rs 200-250 per ton. The treated straw contained 55-57% TDN and 3-4% DCP. In Egypt where most, if not all, of the wheat straw is consumed without treatment it is clear that if the farmers could be convinced to apply the technology of treating wheat straw with urea, then the outcomes could be considerable. The amount of wheat straw produced annually in Egypt is about 7.3 million tonnes (Table 13). The growing rate from using the same amount of feed could be doubled if the technology of treating the straw with urea could be transferred to and adopted by farmers. Similarly, converting corn and sorghum straws to silage at the right time would improve its nutritive value. The total amount of farm residues is estimated to be more than 25 million MT (Table 13). In addition, feed from various forms of waste totals some 3 million MT and includes: animal by-products (poultry manure and offal, tannery waste) and plant by-products (potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, grapes, dates, brewers' waste, and kitchen waste) (Table 14).

Table 14. Estimation of feed from waste and by-products.

Source   Amount (MT)
Potatoes   1 800 000
  Waste 50% 900 000
Tomatoes   4 694 000
  Waste 50% 2 347 000
Oranges   435 000
  Waste 50% 217 500
Mangoes   155 000
  Waste 50% 77 500
Grapes   550 000
  Waste 50% 275 000
Dates   610 000
  Waste 50% 305 000
MUNICIPAL REFUSE:   30% x 0.2 Kg x 1 Y  
  Waste 1 201 039
Layers slaughter 7 838
Layers manure 50% 136 224
Layers manure + LIT (RUM) 272 448
Broilers slaughter 107 600
Broilers manure + LIT (RUM) 854 444
 
Total feed from waste (estimated) 6 701 593

Source: Unpublished data
RUM = ruminant manure in litres;
30% x 0.2 Kg x 1 Year: 30% (30% of Municipal refuse is assumed to be usable as animal feed)  x 0.2 Kg (amount produced per person per day ) x 1 Y (365 days or 1 year).

Research results from various studies have shown that there were no big differences between traditional and non-traditional feedstuffs in terms of their nutritive value as measured by chemical analysis and amino acid contents and also between various non-traditional feeds (Table 15), and also average body weight gain, feed consumption and conversion and feed efficiency. When non-traditional feedstuffs were fed to 4-week-old chicks there were no significant differences between tomato seed meal and cotton seed meal in terms of animal performance (body weight gain and feed consumption) although there were feed efficiency differences (Table 16). These results are very encouraging in terms of making use of agro-wastes.

Table 15.  Chemical analysis and amino acid contents of tomato seed meal (TSM) and cotton seed meal (CSM)

Item                      

TSM (%)

CSM (%)

Item                     

TSM (%)

CSM

(%)

Crude protein

Gross protein value

M E (MJ/kg)

Ether extract

Fibre

Ash

N- free extract

Moisture

Amino acids

Lysine

35.9

75.0

6.4

3.2

22.9

7.0

23.1

7.8

 

2.2

41.1

65.0

11.3

6.5

7.7

7.6

29.0

8.0

 

1.6

Amino acids

Methionine

+ Cystine

Threonine

Isoleucine

Leucine

Valine

Phenylalanine

Histidine

Arginine

Tryptophan

 

 

0.6

1.2

1.2

2.2

2.0

1.5

0.8

3.1

0.3

 

 

1.1

1.3

1.3

2.5

1.8

2.2

1.1

4.3

0.5

Source: Unpublished data

Table 16. Body weight gain, feed consumption and efficiency of 4- week- old chicks fed cotton seed meal (CSM) and tomato seed meal (TSM).

Item

Ration 1 (CSM)

Ration 2 (TSM)

Initial body weight (g)

Final body weight (g)

Body weight gain (g)

Feed consumption (g)

Feed efficiency a

32.8

182.0

149.2

422.1

2.8

32.8

165.1

132.3

428.2

3.2b

ag feed required per g gain
bSignificant at P<0.05
Source: Unpublished data

Egypt is planting about 1.7 million feddan (714 000 ha) with corn for grain production in addition to about 81 thousand feddan (34 020 ha) for grain sorghum annually. After harvesting, most corn and sorghum straws are unusable and can cause environmental problems,  such as helping the spread of rats and insects i.e. corn borer. On the other hand if these corn and sorghum straws could be used in the right time i.e. after harvesting the ears and grains, to make silage, Egypt would be able to save about 20% of consumed berseem as well as improving productivity. Now most of the corn and grain sorghum acreages are planted with hybrids which stay green at maturity. Silage made from corn and sorghum straws of these hybrids, directly after harvesting ears and grains, with added molasses is comparable in nutritive value of 60-70 % of silage made from the whole corn plant. The estimated corn and grain sorghum straws in Egypt during year 1995 were about 4.31 and 1.5 million MT; respectively. The estimated total digestible nutrients (TDN), crude protein (CP) and the digestible protein (DP) were 56.6%, 5.67%, and 3.11%, respectively (Bendary et al., 2001). Using corn and grain sorghum straws for making silage would create about 2.3 million MT of TDN (5.81 million MT of corn and sorghum straw x 70% dry matter X 56.6 % TDN), 231 815 MT of CP (5.81 million tonnes straw x 70% dry matter x 5.67 % CP) and 126 077 MT of DP (5.81 million tonnes straw x 70% dry matter x 3.11 DP).

Silage made from corn and sorghum straws would be ready for feeding by the end of September to October which is considered a very critical time for feed availability especially for small farmers. This time is characterized by acute shortages in feed due to the termination of summer forage crops and unavailability of winter forage crops (mainly berseem). In addition to using the silage made from corn and sorghum straws to fill the feed gap, it could be used with berseem as a balanced ration to feed the animals which will lead to saving at least 20% of the consumed berseem as well as achieving higher productivity due to a balanced diet. Berseem covers about 96% of animal energy requirement and 177% of protein requirement during winter season (Oct. to May) and 60 and 79% of the requirements during the whole year.

Increasingly grains of new maize hybrids are harvested while most of the stovers stay green and have suitable moisture content for ensiling (Bendary and Younis, 1997). Therefore, fresh corn stover is produced in large quantities as green residues at maize harvesting time (about 40-50% of the corn plant remains in the field after grain harvest; Johnsonet al., 1966). This corn residue offers a large potential source of energy for ruminants and ensiling the residue may reduce field losses, improve palatability and give the producer more flexibility (Berger et al., 1979). Moreover, the success in making good quality silage from corn stover with and without additive will be of practical importance in animal feeding (Bendary and Younis, 1997; Etman et al., 1994; Gad Alla, 1991; Mostafa et al., 2000; Sabbah et al., 2007; Sittisak et al., 2009; Zedan, 1998).

Work under the FAO Project TCP/EGY/3102 (Steele et al., 2009) demonstrated that rice straw is a crucial ingredient of livestock feed during the second half of the year. It was estimated that 25% of the straw is chemically treated with urea and/or ammonia on the farm to up-grade the nutritional value and palatability. However, the extent of industrial livestock production remains to be determined, and thus the extent of commercial-manufactured livestock feed also remains unknown. Both are likely to feature in long-term agricultural planning for Egypt. The small-scale livestock producer depending upon low-cost feed is likely to face issues of cost/supply in the near future as competition for straw from other users arises. The MALR and others have made considerable efforts over the years to encourage the use of crop residues for livestock feed for small-scale livestock producers. Many of the recommendations provided by Nour (1985) have become part of traditional practice; and remain valid for small-scale production into the foreseeable future.

However, in spite of a number of past studies which have proposed strategies (e.g. Abou Akkada and Nour, 1986) for the development of animal feed resources, todate it has been difficult to translate strategies into practical action countrywide and much remains to be done.

Summary of the benefits of converting farm-residues and agro-wastes to conventional feedstuff.

Benefits of recycling farm-residues and agro-wastes as feedstuffs are:

1)Minimizing the competition between humans and animals on grains and pulses.

2) Minimizing the pollution. Recycling farm residues of various crop straws as well as wastes of different vegetables and fruits to feedstuff will help to solve a growing pollution problem.

3) By recycling farm residues and waste, cheap feedstuffs will be available to be used in formulating feed thus reducing the cost of producing meat and animal by-products. In addition, more cereals and pulses will be available for human consumption.

4) By using recycled farm residues and wastes, a new industry will be created.

5) Reducing imports of feedstuffs.


6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PASTURE RESOURCES

Rangeland Rehabilitation
Traditionally, rangeland grazing was the basis of livestock production. During the last few decades these lands have been exposed to degradation caused by transformation into agricultural land (increased water and wind erosion), by overgrazing leading to further erosion and narrowing of the botanical composition. Increasing animal numbers have disturbed the balance between available forage and carrying capacity. Greater emphasis needs to be given to the establishment of viable management systems to alleviate the degradation of the pasture lands in the Northern Coast and Sinai as well as introducing medic-cereal rotations and developing and distributing fodder shrubs to control desertification.

Possible ways to alleviate the degradation:
Conservation and where possible improvement of existing grazing lands (coastal, low plateau and high plateau) could be achieved through:

  1. Developing a tree seedling nursery capacity in the villages, and planting, in cooperation with local land users, of improved fodder trees and shrubs (Figures 5a &b).
  2. Enhancement of soil stabilization by the planting of windbreaks, using trees or shrubs with reasonable nutritive value.
  3. Identification, in cooperation with local user groups, of useful local forage species, initiation of seed collection and multiplication programs and, finally, over-seeding selected rangelands with seeds of good nutritive value local grass and legume species.
  4. Application of restricted grazing when it is possible.

Establishment of Improved Pasture
As mentioned above many of the common rangeland species occur naturally in Egypt. Considerable research and development have been carried out on these in the past through the Matrouh Resource Management Project (MRMP) aimed at realizing sustainable resource management and alleviating poverty in its mandated area, extending over 320 km along the North West Coast of Egypt with 60 km in land on average. The area has a semi-desert environment, moderated by maritime influence and a fragile resource base, with a low and highly erratic rainfall averaged at about 150 mm on the coast and up to 20 km inland, but drastically declines thereafter.  Research has been conducted to monitor and evaluate fenced plantations of selected range management areas and feed units planted under variable agro- climatic and socio-economic conditions for three years. The approach was assessed in terms of the impact of fencing on biodiversity enhancement, fodder production of the natural vegetation and economics of fencing in terms of total benefits and cost recovery period. It was shown that a satisfactory success could be realized due to implementing this range development approach in comparison with other common approaches. Fencing led to reviving 13 annual and perennial range species that were temporally extinct. Moreover, fodder dry matter has been increased by 3.11MT/10 ha, which is equivalent to 1400 F.U.  Identification of existing indigenous species and collecting seeds and trying to re-seed it have been attempted as well as applying restricted grazing and using these as demonstration plots for the nomads. A development of co-operatively managed artificial pastures in Matruh area in the North West Coast had little success because of the shortage of rainfall (not more than 120 mm).   The establishment of sown pastures proved to be very difficult in areas with annual rainfall less than 200 mm and in these areas extension of developing a tree seedling nursery capacity in the villages, and planting, in cooperation with local land users, of improved fodder trees and shrubs was suggested. Over the past four decades, large plantations of Atriplex spp. appear to be one of the best ways to rehabilitate desertified and eroded areas.

Integration of Forages into Farming Systems
Integration of forages, especially Egyptian clover, into farming systems is considered very unique not only in terms of agronomic aspects of fodder production in the cropping sequence, but on the complete package of socio-economic and technical issues as well as the sustainability of the natural resources, especially soil fertility, and on marketing of both forages and animal products.  Including berseem in the cropping system is a excellent choice for soil improvement and increasing soil fertility with its ability to add high levels of nitrogen (53-71 kg/ha) by symbiotic N2 fixation (Graves et al. 1996). It means that every year there would be more than 714 000 tonnes of fixed nitrogen (Abd El-Hady, 1993; Graves et al. 1996) added to Egyptian cultivated lands. Additionally, berseem has been for more than five thousand years considered indispensable in rotation with cereals, cotton and other crops due to its high N2-fixing ability. Without growing mainly berseem and other legumes, the high productivity of non-leguminous crops could not have been maintained. Also, using the crop residues for animal feed is common in the irrigated areas. As noted above, feed supply is a serious constraint on animal production in Egypt. Imported raw materials of feeds, which lead to a trade deficit, have been much used traditionally. Now there is renewed interest in all local feed resources. Large quantities of crop residues (more than 25 million tons) are available and frequently used by farmers.

Tree Fodder
Range vegetation is generally characterized by the dominance of perennial shrubs with some trees in the middle plateau and the southwest coastal ranges. Wadi beds in the north and middle parts of Sinai represent a valuable source of grazing for sheep and goats on account of the lush spring growth of the herbaceous vegetation. Rangeland vegetation is generally depleted from overgrazing and shrub uprooting for fuel wood. Overgrazing results mainly from the lack of alternative feed resources particularly during the long dry summer season. Efforts have been made to introduce fodder shrubs e.g. Atriplex nummularia and Acacia saligna in the sandy areas of the north coast to fix the dunes and provide supplementary grazing for animals. Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) was also recently introduced as a multipurpose tree for sand dune fixation, production of protein rich fodder and fuel wood.  Establishing viable management systems to alleviate the degradation of the pasture lands in the Northern Coast and Sinai as well as introducing medic-cereal rotation and developing and distributing fodder shrubs to control desertification is badly needed (Figures 5a & b).

Utilization of saline water for crop/forage production

Establishing irrigated forages such as alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), ryegrass (Lolium perenne L), pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.), cowpeas (Vigna sinensis L.), Egyptian clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.), Rhodes grass and fodder beet (Beta vulgaris L.) using poor quality underground water is considered one of the best ways of overcoming shortages in feed, especially in desert areas (Figure  36). Since most of the rangelands are degraded because of recurrent drought and overgrazing due to mismanagement, it is crucial to find sustainable sources of feed resources, especially forage crops. The Bedouins in Sinai are using drip irrigation systems for vegetable production to optimize and increase water use efficiency, since water resources are scarce. Forage crop production was begun using the available resources, starting with the cultivation of alfalfa under drip irrigation using salt-affected water on a commercial level. This new system of planting alfalfa using drip irrigation has been well-accepted by farmers due to the considerable need for feed in animal wealth development. After this other forages such as fodder beet, Rhodes grass, pearl millet, Egyptian clover and cowpeas have been introduced in order to have forages available year round (Figure 36). Following this success and the excellent adoption by farmers, it is intended to repeat the system in rainfed areas such as Matruh governorate.  

Figure 36a. Alfalfa and Rhodes Grass under Drip Irrigation with Saline Water (E.Cw 8.4 = 5376 ppm) Figure 36b. Egyptian Clover under Drip Irrigation with Saline Water (E.Cw 6.8 = 4352 ppm)
Figure 36c. Pearl Millet under Drip Irrigation with Saline Water (E.Cw6.8 = 4352 ppm)

 


7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL

The following institutions are involved in forage research and development:

  • Forage Crops Research Department, Field Crops Research Institute, Agricultural Research Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation - this is the lead institution in forage resources research and development. The mandate of the institution has paid great attention to the collecting, preserving, maintaining, evaluating, utilizing, enhancing and improvement of forage plant genetic resources. Varietal development of high-yielding and resistant and/or tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses as well as high quality fodder is of high priority. Several traits and characters including high yielding, disease and insect resistance and heat, salinity, drought tolerance serve as the basis of crop improvement in these programs. Local ecotypes have been used at an international level to produce commercial cultivars such as Big Bee [berseem clover c.v.] in Louisiana in USA . Special emphasis was put on forage legumes particularly the genus Trifolium alexandrinum and Medicago. Berseem and alfalfa germplasm from Egypt has been widely used in breeding programs around the world.
  • Animal Nutrition Research Department, Animal Research Production Institute, Agricultural Research Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation - this is the lead institution in determining the forage quality and upgrading the nutritive value of farm residues.
  • Range Research and Management Unit, Desert Research Centre, Agricultural Research Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation - this is the lead institution in range and pasture research and management.
  • Agronomy Departments in the Colleges of Agriculture in the Egyptian Universities - involved in teaching, practical training and research on rangelands and fodder crops. Many of the M.Sc. and Ph.D. research projects focus on forage resource problems from an ecological, agronomic, nutritional or economic angle.  

Contact Persons

Forage Crops Research Department
Dr. Mohye El-Din Abd El-Geleel
Director, FCRD
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel: 00202-35731813
E-mail: mohye52@yahoo.com

Dr. Farouk Metwalli
Forage breeder
Sakha Agric, Res. Stn. Kafer El-Sheikh, Egypt .
Tel:0020473230170

Dr. Magdy Maher Mosad
Forage Management Specialist
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel:00202-35731813
E-mail: magdykomeha16@hotmail.com

Dr. Salah Salem Mohamed Abo Feteih
Forage breeder
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel:00202-35731813
E-mail: Salahabofeteih@Gmail.com

Dr. Amal Ahmed Helmy
Micobiologist
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel:00202-35731813

Dr. Wafaa Sharawy
Forage Geneticist
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel:00202-35731813

Dr. Mostafa Abd El-Gawaad
Animal nutritionist
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel:00202-35731813

Dr. Gamal Ramdan
Forage Management Specialist
Sakha Agric, Res. Stn. Kafer El-Sheikh, Egypt .
Tel:0020473230170

Dr. Mohamed Hagagg
Forage breeder
Serw Agric. Res. Stn., Damyata, Egypt
Tel:00202-35731813

Dr. Mohamed Nour El-Deen
Rangeland Management Specialist
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel:00202-35731813

Mr. Mostafa El-Nahrawy
Animal Nutrition Specialist
P.O. Box 12619, Gamma St., ARC, Giza, Egypt .
Tel:002010-7740885
E-mail- mostafaelnahrawy@yahoo.com

Ms. Shereen El-Nahrawy
Forage Breeder  & dodder control specialist
Sakha Agric, Res. Stn. Kafer El-Sheikh, Egypt .
Tel:0020473230170
E-mail- mnahrawy 50@yahoo.com


8. REFERENCES

Abbas, M.S., M.H. El-Morsy, M.A. Shahba & F.I., Moursy. 2008. Proceedings of the 12th meeting of the sub-network on Mediterranean forage resources of the FAO-Ciheam inter regional cooperative research and development network on pastures and fodder crops, Portugal 9-12 April 2008.

Abd El-Hady, A. H. 1993. Potassium and its effects on crop productivity in Egyptian soils.  Bull. (in Arabic). Soils and Water Res. Inst., Agric. Res. Centre, Giza. Egypt.

Abou Akkada A. R. & A. M. Nour. 1986. By-product utilization in Egypt: A proposed strategy for the development of animal feed resources. ARNAB (African Research Network for Agricultural By-products. Towards Optimal Feeding of Agricultural By-products in Africa. Proceedings of a Workshop held at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, October 1985. ILCA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Abouzeid, M. 1992. Study on irrigation. Water Res. Centre, Ministry of Irrigation and Water   Resources, Cairo, Egypt.

Bendary, M.M. & M.A. Younis 1997. Evaluation of maize stalks for feeding dairy cows. Egypt. J. Appl. Sci., 12 (8) 1997.

Bendary, M. M.; G. H. A. Ghanem; E. S. Soliman; E. A. Amer & S. A. El-Zeer. 2001. Nutritional evaluation of ensiling fresh maize stover. 8th Scientific Conf. on animal nutrition (specific issue). 23-25 Oct. Cairo, Egypt, pp 105-116.         

Boulos, L. 1995. Check list Flora of Egypt, Vol. 1. Al-Hadara Publishing, Cairo, Egypt.

Egyptian Financial Group 1991. Offering memorandum and prefeasibility study of investment in Egypt's seed industry. Proceedings First Egyptian National Seed Conference, 20-22 May 1991, pp. 197-209.

El-Bagouri, I. H. M. 2008. Management of productive lands of Egypt: A presentation in IGBP Regional Workshop – MENA. 20-21 November 2008, Cairo, Egypt.

El-Beltagy, A. T. & A.F. Abo-Hadeed. 2008. The main pillars of the National Program for maximizing the water-use efficiency in the old land. The Research and Development Council. MOALR. (in Arabic). 30 page bulletin.

El-Hasanan S. El-H. 1996. The basics of identification of wild oats and means of controlling it in wheat fields. Technical bulletin No. 296 (in Arabic), CAAE, ARC, MOA.

El-Lakany, H.H. 1987. Protective and productive tree plantations for desert development. Proc. of 2nd Inter. Conf. on Desert Development, 25-31 January, 1987, Cairo, Egypt.

El-Nahrawy, M. 2008a. Pasture and forage status in Egypt- limitations and opportunities. The 9th International Conference on Dryland Development-Sustainable Development in Dryland; Meeting the Challenge of Global Climate Change, 2008, Alex. Egypt.

El-Nahrawy, M. 2008b. The Vital Role of Egyptian Clover in Egyptian Agriculture. The 9th International Conference on Dryland Development-Sustainable Development in Dryland; Meeting the Challenge of Global Climate Change, 2008, Alex. Egypt.

El-Nahrawy, M. & A. Rammah.1995. Current status and prospects of alfalfa seed production and use of seed in Egypt. pp.336-340, Proceedings, 3rd International Herbage Seed Conf. June 18-23, 1995. Martin-Luther- Universitat, Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany.

El-Nahrawy, M., A. Rammah & O. Niemelainen.1996. Seed production potential of forage crops in Egypt. International Herbage Seed Production, Research Group, Newsletter. Pp. 11-13.

El Shaer, H.M. 1996. Rangelands as feed resources in the Egyptian desert : Management and improvement. Proc. of the Inter, Conf. on Desert Development in the Arab Gulf Countries, State of Kuwait, 23-26 March, 1996.

El Shaer, H.M. 1999. Impact of drought on livestock production : Egypt experience. Proc.of Workshop on Livestock and Drought Policies for Coping With Changes, FAO – Desert Research Centre , 24-27 May, 1999,Cairo, Egypt.

Etman, K.E.L., E.A. Khafagi, W.H. Abdel-Malik, M.K. Hathout & M.F. El-Sayes 1994. Conservation of green summer forages as silage and its utilization in feeding growing lambs. Egyptian J. Anim. Prod., Vol. 31, Supplement Issue Nov. 175.

Fairchild, D. G. 1902. Berseem; the target forage and soiling crop of the Nile Valley, Egypt. U. S. Dept. Agric., Bur. Pl. Ind. Bull., 23:1-20, pp. 1-14.

FAO. 1996. Agro-ecological Zoning Guidelines, FAO Soils Bulletin 73. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

FAO. 2003. Strategy of Agricultural Development in Egypt Up To 2017.  MOA. May 2003, Cairo, Egypt (In Arabic).

FAO. 2010. Valuing Rangelands for the Ecosystem and Livelihood Services. Thirtieth FAO Regional Conference for the Near East. Khartoum, the Republic of the Sudan, 4-8 December 2010. Pub. NERC/10/INF/6 December 2010.

Gad Alla, S.A.H.Z. 1991. Technology of making silage with special reference to its nutritive value. M.Sc. Faculty of Agric. Zagazig University.

Graves,W.L., W.L.Williams & C.D. Thomsen. 1996. Berseem clover ; A winter annual forage for California Agriculture; University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Publication 21536.

Haggag, M. El-H., Z. M. Marei & M. Z. El-Nahrawy. 1995. Performance of mixture of ten ryegrass varieties with Egyptian clover in comparison with pure stand. J. Agric. Sci. Mansoura Univ., 20(11): 4537-4547.

Hegazi, A.M., Afifi, M.Y., El Shorbagy, M.A., Elwan, A.A. & El-Demerdashe, S. (eds) 2005. Egyptian National Action Program to Combat Desertification.  Arab Republic of Egypt, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, UNCCD, Desert Research Centre, 128p.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). 1996. Now and ahead (animal nutrition) page 121/2, blue book printed in June 1996, ISBN-7164-000-1.

Johnson, R.R., K.E. McClure, E.W. Klosterman & L.J. Johnson. 1966. Corn plant maturity. III- Distribution of nitrogen in corn Silage treated with limestone, urea and diammonium phosphate. J. Anim. Sci. 26: 394.

Lauchli, A. 1984. Salt exclusion: An adaptation of legumes for crops and pastures under saline conditions. In: Strategies for crop improvement, ed. R.C. Staples. New York: Wiley.

Mostafa, M.R.M., M.F. El-Sayes, K.E.I. Etman & M.K. Hathout 2000. Evaluation of maize stover silage in comparison with whole maize silage sheep rations. Animal Production in the 21st Century Challenges and Prospects. 18-20 April 2000. Sakha, Kafer El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Nour, A.M. 1985. Utilization of Rice straw on Small Farms in Egypt. Paper. Available at: www.fao.org/wairdocs/ilri/x5487e0b.htm

Rammah, A. M. & M.S. Radwan. 1977. The influence of seeding rate and cutting management on yield and botanical composition of a berseem-grass mixture. J. Agric.Crop Sci. 145: 103-111.

Sabbah, M., A.M. Allam, M. El-Hosseeniny, M. Fadel, H.M. El-Banna & A.R. Refai, 2007. Nutrients utilization and performance of lambs fed rations containing corn stover treated chemically and biologically. J. Agric.Sci. Mansoura Univ., 81:1993-2007.

Sittisak, K., C. Pala,S. Rungson & W. Metha, 2009. Effect of protein level in concentrate and urea-treated corn silage on rumen ecology and milk production in lactating dairy cows. Pak.J. Nutr., 8: 588-591.

Steele, P., A. El-Hissewy & A.T.Badawi  2009. Exploring opportunities for making better use of rice residues in Egypt,Technical Manual: Agro-Industrial Use of Rice Straw, Project TCP/EGY/3102, FAO, MLAR, ARC, Cairo, Egypt.

Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategy Towards 2030 (SADS). 2009. Agricultural Research & Development Council. Arab Republic of Egypt, Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation. Oct. 2009.

Tackholm, V. 1974. Student's flora of Egypt. Cairo University Pub.

Winter, E., & A. Lauchli. 1982. Salt tolerance of Trifolium alexandrinum: Comparison of the salt response of T. alexandrinum and T. pratense. Aust. J. Plant Physiol.  9:221-226.

Zedan Afaf, H. 1998. Silage of corn stalks and sugar cane tops in dairy cow rations. M.Sc. Thesis, Fac. Agric Cairo Univ., Egypt


9. CONTACTS

Mohamed A. El-Nahrawy, Ph.D.
Plant Breeder & Plant Geneticist
Field Crops Research Institute
Agricultural Research Centre
Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation
9 Gamma St., Giza, Egypt
P.O. No. 12619
Mobile Phone : (002010)1084160
E-mail: mnahrawy50@yahoo.com
    mnahrawy@link.net

[The profile was drafted by the author in June 2011 and edited by S.G. Reynolds, J.M. Suttie, and Dost Muhammad in June/July 2011].