Mash Central Bureau
Mashonaland Central’s provincial livestock officer Mr Daniel Kampiyao has urged farmers to start collecting and stocking hay and maize stover for their livestock ahead of the winter season.
Mashonaland Central lost over 1 500 cattle last year to drought and Mbire is the only district benefiting from Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund programme of providing training on feed formulation, promoting pasture production and providing subsidised commercial feed to farmers.
Mr Kampiyao said this is the time for farmers to collect hay for their livestock for use in the dry months.
Last year the country lost 66 088 last year due to drought and Matabeleland South and North, Masvingo and Midlands were the worst affected. Mashonaland Central lost 1 552 cattle, the provincial herd now stands at 590 547.
“The grass should be cut now because it still has high nutritional value. Hay cutting also helps in curbing veld fires, which cause a lot of damage to property,” he said.
“Farmers must stock hay in bales and place it under shade to preserve its nutritional value. Harvesting both soya bean straw and maize stover, paddocking also helps in avoiding veld fires. “Farmers can also harvest leguminous veld pods such as those from acacia trees and also buy commercial beef survival meals.”
Mr Kampiyao said apart from drought, cattle in the province also succumbed to tick borne diseases.
“Drought was not the only threat to livestock production last year but also poor dipping behaviour and to avoid last season’s disaster, farmers must supplement their livestock and dip their cattle once every week in summer and once a fortnight in the drier months,” he said.