Beef farmers receive pasture management, breeding training
WITH signs of the projected El Nino induced drought continuing to firm by the day, local beef concern, National Kraal has partnered with Grasslands Research Station to train farmers on ways of managing their cattle competitively through the drought and contribute effectively to the national agenda of increasing beef production.
National Kraal director and Livestock specialist Mr Christopher Magona said the training complemented both public and private players’ efforts towards reviving the beef industry and promoted professional farming. The training focused on breeding, cattle health management, beef cattle nutrition management and pasture management.
“In the face of climate change challenges, it is key for farmers to do efficient breeding. Breeding is key for the profitability of cattle farming businesses and improves the quality of the herd through increasing the number of productive and efficient animals, which fetch more value on the markets,” said Mr Magona.
He added that breeding productive and efficient animals reduced production costs since it takes away the burden of keeping unproductive animals, which confirms the attainment of what is termed ‘resource efficient production,’ which is good for profitability.
As part of the training, farmers were taken though nutrition management during drought conditions and were taught on supplementary feeding, urea treatment of stova, grass bailing, pasture growing and management.
“The trainers were alive to the projected El Nino induced projected drought for Zimbabwe and accordingly, emphasis was placed on the need for strategic destocking so that the number of animals match available resources,” said Mr Magona.
He emphasized that the training highlighted the vital role of pasture establishment in improving grazing land productivity. By establishing pastures, farmers can increase the carrying capacity of their land, enabling them to accommodate more animals even on smaller plots. It also allows for the production of abundant feed for livestock, which can be stored as silage and can enhance animal performance and promote environment sustainability.
“The detrimental effects of overgrazing were highlighted, and farmers were introduced to various grass species suitable for their animals. Grasslands Research Station served as a valuable resource for hands-on training, providing farmers with a first-hand experience of different grass species and their management techniques,’’ he added.
The farmers also gained valuable insights and skills necessary for successful beef production and received knowledge, which will empower them to navigate their way past challenges, maximise productivity and contribute to the revival of the beef industry both in local and international markets.