Beef cattle production performance and farmer profile in a communal environment of the Eastern Cape Province

Author: T Rust, JM Rust, NS Nongauza, CH de Ridder, NA Faku, S Moss & M Mpahla
Year: 2019
Issue: 1
Volume: 12
Page: 1 - 10

The study was conducted in Gwaba village, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, Eastern Cape Province. The study provides information that can be utilized to track change over time with respect to the livelihood status, livestock asset ownership and the production and reproduction profile of a communal cattle herd. Results from a structured farmer livelihood and agricultural productivity questionnaire indicated that the cattle owners are reasonably educated but old. They list farming enterprises as their main source of income. Animals are managed as one herd and an open mating season is followed. Theft is a concern forcing them to kraal their animals at night. Their biggest constraint is financial aspects followed by infrastructure needs. Animal production and reproduction status were recorded bi-annually. Both male and female animals experienced weight loss during the winter months. Estimated annual calving percentage seemed reasonable during Year 1 at 77%, however only 35% of those females reconceived the following year (Year 2). Phenotypic correlations for age, body condition score (BCS) and reproduction status (RS) were estimated based on annual reproduction data. BCS was important for reproduction success and reproduction in turn had a negative effect on subsequent BCS.

Keywords: Body condition score, body weight, husbandry, livelihood, productivity, reproduction status, small scale
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