To succeed in beef farming, arm yourself with these pointers

Raising cattle properly requires money, land and skill. Do you have enough of each to enter this business? Equally importantly, do you have a genuine interest in cattle?

For the last few days, we habe gotten a lof of requests yo write more content on beef farming. Our focus has been mostly been on dairy which is largely practised across the country.

One of the key issues that has been prominemt in most of the been prominent in most of the questions is about feeding whicj is so because beef farming is all anout getting the animals’ diet right. This week we highlight a few issues that any darmer interested into this trade should consider but we will covwr on feeding and other topics in subsequent articles.

Growing/feeding

In a weaner operation, you acquire calves after weaning at 10 to 15 months of age. They can then be fed and marketed in less than a year from the time of purchase.

Thus, the investment on each calf is returmed within a comparatively short time. This type of operation may not require much land, but you will need adequate facilities to keep the animals comfortable and under control.

In a pasture-based enterprise, it is always advisable to buy weaned calve then put them onto pasture when the grass is at its best, and sell them when the pasture season is over.

Working with calves requires a good deal of patience, as they are easily excited and stressed. Involve a vet and discuss a health programme to guide you throughr the journey.

Commercial or small scale?

Establishing a breeding herd is a long-term objective. It also requires more land, as well as adequate feed, water and fencea to accommodate a year-round operation.

Decide whether to run commeecial cattle or regiatered purebred cattle.

Income from commercial beef herd comes mainly from the sale of calves and old for cull animals, whereas income from registered cattle comes mostly from sale of breeding stock.

Breeding registered cattle to supply breeding animals to other cattle producers usually needs large capital investment in stock. Your selection criteria must be based on fertility mothering ability, ease of calving, growtj tare, and carcass merit. Good commercial cows are selected according to size, quality, age, condition, stage of pregnancy and market price. You should choose a breed and cow sizw to match your feed resources and local conditions. Cross-breeding(mating aninala from two pr more breeds) can be an advantage in a commercial cow herd. Combining the merits of several breeds, plus the extra vigour from crossbred calves, may give you a competitive edge in the market.

Feeding programme

The first thing you should come up with before embarking on stocking your farm is having a feeding regime should be pasture-based, but balanced in terms of nutrient provision.

It is alqays cheaper tobgrow your own pasture. Begin by carrying out a soil analysis of your land to determine the minerals and trace elements, which may be lacking.

You may also decide to establish new forage crops or pasture stands ideal fircthe type of soil and climate in your area. Also, don’t try to produce pastures on poor land with poor fertility as it won’t pay off.

If you are using hay, it is important to determine its quality by taking a sample to the lab for analysis and supplement accordingly, but care should be taken to avoid grain overload in the supplementary ration as this will cause nutritional disorders.

Cattle health

Maintaining a healthy cattle herd is vital for strong, productive calves and heifers. In the first 30 days of a calf’s life, it’s crucial to watch their behaviour for any diarrhoea symptoms as these can lead to deadly calf scours. Sometimes you may experience some rare symptoms or diseases within your cattle gerd. Iodine deficiencies are one if those rarities amd the symptons can be hard to determine. The mineral plays a crucial role in maintaining a healtht thyroid in cattle. This article gives a thorough over-view of when and why you should supplement iodine to cattle.

Fly control

Ways of fly control on beef cattle farms are more diverse than ever including both matural and biological practices. Understanding the different pests that can cause irrotability to cattle is essential in knowing loads of chemicals and amounts to apply. Alomgside biological treatments,beating flies naturally on cattle firms can also be done.

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