BACKGROUND AND AIMS : The karoo biomes of South Africa are major feed resources, yet soil nutrient depletion
and degradation is a major problem. The objective of this study was to assess impacts of long-term (>75 years)
grazing during spring (SPG), summer (SUG), winter (WG) and exclosure (non-grazed control) treatments on
soil nutrients, penetration resistance and infiltration tests.
METHODS : A soil sampling campaign was carried out to collect soil to a depth of 60 cm to analyse bulk density,
soil physical and chemical parameters as well as soil compaction and infiltration.
RESULTS : Generally, grazing treatments reduced soil organic C (SOC) stocks and C:N ratios, and modified soil
properties. There was higher SOC stock (0.128 Mg ha-1 yr-1) in the exclosure than in the SPG (0.096 Mg ha-1 yr-
1), SUG (0.099 Mg ha-1 yr-1) and WG (0.105 Mg ha-1 yr-1). The C:N ratios exhibited similar pattern to that of C.
From the grazing treatments, the WG demonstrated 7 to 10% additional SOC stock over the SPG and SUG,
CONCLUSIONS : Short period animal exclusion could be an option to be considered to improve plant nutrients in
sandy soils of South Africa. However, this may require a policy environment which supports stock exclusion
from such areas vulnerable to land degradation, nutrient and C losses by grazing-induced vegetation and