Small holder livestock entrepreneurs: survival tactics in tough business environment

Taruvinga Magwiroto Acacia legume plant. Seen here growing at Henderson Researc Station, Mazowe. Planted pastures can be a great way of ensuring adequate nutritious supplies of feed to animals. Lucerne, seen here growing at the University of Zimbabwe Animal House garden, Mt Pleasant. Growing legume plants can be a cheaper way of supplying proteins to animals. It is common cause that the current hyper-inflationary situation … Continue reading Small holder livestock entrepreneurs: survival tactics in tough business environment

On-farm feed rations based on locally available ingredients (for goats and cattle)

Taruvinga Magwiroto We know that stock feed constitutes 65-70% of your running costs in livestock projects. We also know that most velds and pastures in Zimbabwe and Africa are degraded. Planting of improved varieties of pasture grasses and legumes has not been adopted much by farmers, due to communal nature of grazing resources; costs of paddocking; and shortage of water. This brings us to consider … Continue reading On-farm feed rations based on locally available ingredients (for goats and cattle)

Broiler deaths: common causes and solutions

Taruvinga Magwiroto This article I recommend that every broiler farmer to read, print out and move around with it! The trick in broiler production is to prevent illness. Once you start having large losses/deaths, you would have failed in preventing diseases. Here are the actions you take to minimise losses and why you do it. The first thing to note about broilers is that, even … Continue reading Broiler deaths: common causes and solutions

Farming in a changing world: critical skills, critical questions

Taruvinga Magwiroto Farming, be it livestock production or crop husbandry, is changing fast. Consumers’ tastes and preferences for food are changing. The world’s perception on food production is changing too. So how does that impact an A1 or A2 farmer in Zimbabwe today? Firstly, there is a growing concern for sustainable production. There is a drive towards abolishing the the old “productonist” paradigm of endless … Continue reading Farming in a changing world: critical skills, critical questions

Managing Broiler Breeders

By Patrick Shoriwa The genetics of Broiler Breeder is centred on meat production which is quite varying if you compare with Layer Breeders where the genetics is more specifically into egg production. This difference in genetics is a tall order for Broiler Breeder farmers because it becomes harder to get eggs from this breed. Therefore there is need for more attention in the rearing and … Continue reading Managing Broiler Breeders

Profitability in Dairy Farming

Brighton Gweshe The profitability of a dairy production can be calculated and assessed for the whole herd or for a single cow and this is dependent on the record keeping method adopted by the farmer. However, there are major economic factors which affect milk production in dairy farming and the factors include dairy breeds, calving interval, feed quality, yield/cow, price/litre and seasonality. These and other … Continue reading Profitability in Dairy Farming

Broiler Production: Common pitfalls to avoid.

Taruvinga Magwiroto In many years of working with broiler farmers, I have seen them make many simple mistakes that caused them huge losses. I want to share with you some of the errors, and how to solve them. 1. Chick failure to grow:- you hear these kinds of stories numerous times. One farmer said his chicks were so stunted that by week 10, they were … Continue reading Broiler Production: Common pitfalls to avoid.

Practical record-keeping: examples

Brighton Gweshe As explained in the previous article, there are five main types of animal production (physical) records and these are: individual records, stock registers, production registers, input records and inventories. This and the rest of the part 3 articles will take time to outline different types of physical livestock record which farmers may keep in livestock and animal production. Simple designs of animal record … Continue reading Practical record-keeping: examples

Farm Records (2)

By Brighton Gweshe The importance of keeping farm records was discussed in part1 and more emphasis was on understanding the significance of recording in farm business. It is also important for the farmer to always remember that farm planning depends on analyzing past performance, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the business and using this knowledge to make both present and future decisions. The basis … Continue reading Farm Records (2)

Layers: problems and solutions

So you have a poultry layers production unit? Or you’re thinking of establishing one? Maybe 100 birds, maybe 25? You will still benefit from this article! What can possibly go wrong anyway? Non layers:- Layers are egg-making machines. Or so we want to believe. But in a flock, you will always get the slackers, those which feed without producing. How do we detect them and … Continue reading Layers: problems and solutions