Beef-Dairy Local On-Farm Low-Cost Feed Formulation Solution A Success

The United States Government has through Fintrac Zimbabwe rolled out a very successful, Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Programme that has tremendously transformed the lives of many smallholder rural beef farmers in six districts in the country through the use of highly nutritious low-cost locally available feed materials.

Beef-Dairy Local On-Farm Low-Cost Feed Formulation Solution A Success

The United States Government has through Fintrac Zimbabwe rolled out a very successful, Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Programme that has tremendously transformed the lives of many smallholder rural beef farmers in six districts in the country through the use of highly nutritious low-cost locally available feed materials.

Many rural livestock farmers in the project area said that they never thought that they could earn a living through milking beef cows by simply feeding their animals with low-cost locally available feed materials before they can upgrade their herd and become dairy farmers.

The Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Programme has taught resource poor smallholder and rural farmers to use low cost locally available resources to feed their animals and enhance productivity.

Beef cattle farmers in Zezai Village in ward 11 in Chirumhanzu district in the Midlands, have successful adopted the use of locally available and nutritious feed materials to feed their lactating and dry beef cattle to enhance significantly increase milk production.

The Fintrac communications specialist Mrs. Imelda Takaona said that her organisation has exposed farmers to a number of locally available low-cost feed options that have helped them ensure sustained milk production that has helped them earn some money to improve their household food security, reduce the high prevalence of poverty; enhance agriculture productivity.

Herdman of Zezai village in Chirumhanzu district in the Midland province, Mr. Mutumwa Muzembi said that the farmers in his area have warmly accepted the Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Programme and have built fodder banks to ensure that they have sustained access to feed for their animals even in drier periods and continue to produce enough milk for the market.

Ms. Sarah Ndodha, beef-dairy farmer and aggregator in Zezai village has adopted the use of locally available low-cost feed like hay, locally growing grasses and shrubs, legumes and urea treated crop stover that they are blending with highly nutritious silage and molasses among many feed options to transform the beef-dairy concept into a viable production model.

The farmers are growing nutritious grasses like banner grass, star grass that they are fortifying with silver leaf grass to increase milk production.

The farmers have also taken to silage production which they integrate with crushed maize residue and fortified with calcium and phosphorous minerals.

The farmers gather the protein rich acacia tree pods, crush them and mix with cow-pea residue; sugar bean, velvet bean and maize stover, and give to the animals ad lib.

The Fintrac field extension and behaviour change and communications officer for Chirumhanzu district, Mr. Godknows Masunda, said that the farmers in his area have managed to get more milk when they used the locally available feed materials and have also recorded up to 60% onset of oestrus and conception rates of artificially inseminated cows that have since calved owing to the improved feed regimes.

Farmers in Umzingwane district in Matebeleland South gather the protein rich acacia pods which they crush to break their crude protein rich undigestible seeds to release up to 14% crude protein.

 

Beef and dairy production is only possible if a farmer has a sustainable source of water and many farmers have sunk boreholes to constantly watering their animals and ensure clean their milking equipment, utensils and parlours.  

 

By Francis S. Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason