By General Beven Mundida
Many farmers may find it difficult to venture into cattle production but some cattlemen say this is very simple if he or she is to follow the correct procedures. The scheme needs adequate planning. When planning for cattle management, a farmer should begin with the end in mind. This means working backward from the motive of venturing into cattle production; one should be able to tell what he wants from rearing the cattle. The farmers should consider resources available, which include the size of the farm, grazing, and pastures available and the nutritional value of the pastures.
This will help one budget if there is a need for supplementary feeding and the quantity of the supplements needed. Finances should also be considered in planning. The farmer should take into account the financial costs of attaining water resources and its cost and proximity to the livestock. The farmer should decide the management system for his cattle; whether if he is going to venture into an extensive or intensive livestock farming system. The choice of the cattle breed is also important during the planning phase. This choice is guided by the purpose of the farming enterprise and the conditions of the farm. If the farmer decides to venture into commercial breeding then he should consider the type of breeding techniques one will use and the operation methods. If an artificial insemination method is to be used, then specialized expertise would be required.
During the planning phase thought is given to the type of feeding scheme to be adopted in the cattle husbandry. There exist a variety of feeding methods such as intensive supplementary feeding or irrigated pastures and paddocks or free-range pasturing. As a future livestock producer one should allocate resources wisely. There is a need to use funds sparingly in structural development and take into account the near future expenses of feed and veterinary costs before the cattle business takes off. A good cattleman does not always carry out every duty on the farm but knows the right person to contact for external expertise. There is need for a good network of nutrition consultants, veterinarians, marketing personnel and seasoned experienced farmers to share views from and learn from their mistakes without reinventing the wheel.
First Published on the ZiMunda Farming Website https://zimunda.co.zw/steps-for-successful-cattle-production/