From the Editor
Farmers are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the summer rains as they prepare for the upcoming cropping season 2023-2024. With a sense of excitement and determination, they begin their preparations to make the most of this crucial time. An important step is to assess the condition of their fields and make any necessary repairs or improvements as discussed in this issue. They carefully inspect the soil, checking for nutrient deficiencies and ensuring proper drainage. By addressing these issues early on, farmers set the foundation for a successful crop. Farmers consult agricultural experts, exchange knowledge with fellow farmers, and rely on their own experience to make these important decisions. This issue is furnished with articles to help navigate the upcoming season. Once soil analysis are done farmers diligently prepare the land for planting – ploughing, tilling and liming – ensuring optimal conditions for seed germination and plant growth. This labour-intensive process requires patience and physical strength, but farmers approach it with unwavering commitment. It is safe to say that, the preparation process for summer cropping is a time of excitement and hard work for farmers.
On the other hand, in the livestock industry, as it is the Zimbabwe Herd Book’s year of the Nkone, the issue celebrates indigenous cattle, also known as native or local cattle. These refer to cattle breeds that have evolved and adapted to specific regions over a long period of time. They have developed characteristics that make them well-suited to the local environment, including resistance to diseases, tolerance to climatic conditions and efficient utilisation of local resources. The beauty of indigenous cattle lies in their unique physical features and diverse appearances. Different regions around the world have their own indigenous cattle breeds, each with its distinct qualities and visual appeal, in this issue the Nkone, Tuli and Mashona breeds are discussed. These breeds often display a range of coat colours, patterns, horn shapes, and body sizes.
By focusing on indigenous cattle breeds, farmers can reduce their reliance on imported or exotic breeds, which may be less adaptable to local conditions. This not only helps preserve the genetic diversity of cattle populations but also contributes to the conservation of traditional knowledge and cultural heritage associated with these breeds. Furthermore, indigenous cattle breed often have a lower environmental footprint as they are adapted to the local ecosystem, reducing the need for intensive inputs such as feed supplements and veterinary medicines. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future topics. We hope you enjoy reading this issue of our farming magazine and wish you all the best for the upcoming summer cropping season.