Last update: 17.05.2019

Grazing of grasslands in Dviete floodplain

Pasturing for grassland maintenance in Dviete floodplain takes place since 2006, when Latvian Ornithological Society, local NGO "Dvietes senlejas pagastu apvienība" and ARK Nature (the Netherlands) implemented a project with the aim to establish grazing scheme in Dviete floodplain grasslands, supported by Vogelbescherming Nederland. 22 'Konik' horses and 18 cattle were purchased within the project, two grazing enclosures with a total area of 168 ha were arranged.

At the beginning of LIFE+ project, in January 2011, 46 horses and 56 cattle already pastured in Dviete floodplain, due to natural increase. Enlargement of grazing areas was planned within the LIFE+ project; for this purpose 39 'Konik' horses and 31 cattle were purchased in the Netherlands in September 2012. The horses were let in a new grazing enclosure of 85 ha at the left bank of Dviete river near Zariņu sala, while the cattle joined the herd at the right bank of the river near Putnu sala. The enclosure at Putnu sala was enlarged by 28 ha within the project. After the purchase of grazing animals, 99 horses (including foals) and 105 cattle (including calves) grazed in floodplain grasslands.

Currently 106 horses and 100 cattle are grazing in Dviete floodplain in an area of about 350 ha in total - 56 horses and 71 cattle (16 bulls, 55 cows and heifers) in the grazing area at Putnu sala, 50 horses and 29 cattle (6 bulls, 23 cows and heifers) in the grazing area at Zariņu sala.

Grazing animals live outdoor all the year, suppressing overgrowth of grasslands with bushes and trees. They are additionally fed with hey in winter.

Constantly growing number of animals could be considered as more than sufficient for grazing of Dviete floodplain grasslands, therefore the partner of the project ARK Nature displaces some of the young animals to other areas of grassland maintenance. In January 2014, 6 horses from Dviete floodplain were moved to “Dambīši” of Vietalva parish, Pļaviņas municipality. Eventually, horses of Dviete floodplain will make a part of the herd of 50 horses, planned to transport from Latvia to Slovakia (Eastern Carpathians) in autumn 2014.

Ilze Priedniece