Article by: General Beven Mundida, Animal Production Specialist
Many farmers may find it difficult to start 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 that he should be able to tell what he wants from keeping the cattle. The farmers should consider resources available, which include size of the farm, grazings and pastures available and the nutritional value of the pastures.
This will help the farmer to budget if there is need of supplementary feeding and the quantity if the need be for the supplements.
Finance should also be considered in the planning. The farmer should take into account his own finance; borrowing water; its cost and proximity to the livestock. The farmer should decide the management system for his cattle; if he is going to venture into extensive or intensive system of management.
This also includes the breed, the purpose of the enterprise; for instance a farmer may be specialising in commercial breeding, growing and feeding.
When choosing the breed, the farmer should consider conditions at his farm, and assess whether they are suitable or not. If the farmer decides to venture into commercial breeding then he should consider the type of breeding he should use. If he is to artificially inseminate, then extra management would be required.
There has to be skilled and experienced personnel; genetics should be imported and facilities for storage should be present. If the farmer decides to commercially breed his cattle then he should stick to the chosen breed rather than changing.
The farmer may also choose the type of feeding. He may choose intensive feeding, irrigated pastures or supplementary feeding.
A livestock producer should allocate resources wisely. There is no need of using up all the money, since a farmer has to feed, breed and care for the cattle.
A good cattleman does not always carry out every duty on the farm but knows the right person to contact for his cattle farming operation.
A farmer can use outside expertise. There is need for a good manager, nutrition consultants, veterinarians and marketing personnel.