ECLIPSE : how our intern Justine makes watching grass growth fun again

We teased you about her arrival on the June newsletter : there she is ! Justine, student engineer in international agribusiness development, joined the Selmet team in Reunion Island ! She is currently doing a final-year internship at CIRAD and is co-supervised by the Réunionese Association of Pastoralism. She is here to assess the variation in fodder density and growth within the framework of the Observatory of Grass Growth. Testimony of a Cirad trainee. 

Justine mesurant la pousse de lherbe Charline TEMPE Cirad

Happy Justine measuring the growth of the grass © Charline TEMPE, Cirad


"The Observatory of Grass Growth was set up by the ARP (Réunionese Association of Pastoralism) and the CIRAD and has been monitoring, for nearly three years, a network of reference plots positioned in different pedoclimatic contexts on the island. The aim is to observe a set of indicators of grass growth: biomass, height of cover, food value, seasonality, etc. The objective of my internship is to evaluate Réunion's fodder through the identification of factors of variation in grass density and the transmission of relevant indicators to the breeders.

For three months now, I have been measuring grass on a weekly basis at a farmer's farm working with the observatory and I also take biomass samples. In addition, I have also analysed the ARP database in order to produce a reference table showing a density adapted to different factors (presence of a kikuyu mat, height of the grass, dry matter rate, month).

For the next two months I will focus on the second phase, which consists of evaluating the ARP's agricultural advice. This feedback to the herders is the most important part of the project : without a good approach no changes can be made. To this end, I am going to carry out surveys among the livestock farmers monitored by the observatory and will thus be able to formulate ways of improving the methods used by ARP".