Have you been thinking of cattle rearing business? Then you are in the right place because in this post you will find the best tips on how to start, succeed and make cool money. Cattle farming is very lucrative but not easy, it is capital intensive and has long gestation period. This may not be the kind of news you want to hear but the truth has to be told so you will understand what you are going into. L As a begginner in cattle rearing business you have to get yourself another source of income before you go fully into it as your main source of income. This is because profit doesn’t come immediately. But if you are patient and focus cattle farming will make you rich.
Rearing of cattle can be done in two ways; zero grazing (stall fed system) and pasture based system. Many farmers are now adopting zero grazing just like in Goat Farming because it is more profitable. Especially when you have to subject the cattle to fattening for those into meat production. As we speak, Akwa Ibom State has concluded plans to import 2,000 pregnant high yielding breeds cow from Mexico that will produce new set of livestock that are tolerant to diseases, produce good stock of meat and plenty milk that will be used for all kinds of dairy production.
About 95% of dairy food consumed in Nigeria are imported into the country from Holland, Brazil etc. Just few days ago Federal Government announced plans to stop the importation of dairy food into the country. This should be a cheery news for some entrepreneurs because this will create opportunity for jobs and money making. We have a large population of dairy consumers at hand. Going by the number of cattle farms we have in Nigeria presently; they are not enough to meet with the rising demands.
CATTLE TEARING IN NIGERIA
Cattle rearing in Nigeria is for hides/skin, meat and dairy products but meat production is the highest in the chart followed by dairy. Nigeria dairy industries comprises of milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter and infant formular. Milk is the largest in the industry accounting for 61% turn over according to Augusto and co. That means we need more cattle farmers that will go into dairy production.
The amount of raw dairy needed for production by Companies cannot be sourced in Nigeria. Because of this they travel to countries like Brazil, China, Holland etc to buy dairy. Cheese market is still very small when compared to yogurt this is because yogurt are package in small drinkable containers which encourages increase buying.
TYPES OF CATTLE REARING IN NIGERIA
Before you start cattle rearing you have to; chose the type of production to go into. Either for dairy or milk production because it will determine the type of flock you should buy. Some cattle breeds can either be useful for meat production or more profitable for milk production. Rearing of cattle for meat is cheaper than that of milk production. Having this knowledge will help you to draw a good business plan for your cattle business.
Cattle rearing is good in arid regions that is why Northerners has the highest number of cattle farmers. The major challenge for southern grazers is the issue of tse tse fly. But under intensive grazing system this can be put in check by applying insecticide around the pens environment.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THIS POST
- How to start cattle rearing
- Things to consider before starting cattle farming business
- Breeds of cattle
- How to secure your cattle farm
- Pens construction
- Challenges of rearing cattle
- Gestation period of cattle
- Cattle fattening
- Dairy production
- Diseases of cattle
- Involvement of Veterinary or experience herders
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE STARTING CATTLE REARING BUSINESS
- Acquire farmland
- Purchase good stock
- Gather good source of feed and pasture for grazing
- Make available source of water
- Employ the services of a veterinary specialist and experienced ranger
- Maintain good environmental hygiene in the farm
- Finally maintain good management system
Acquire land depending on the size of herd you are planning to raise. Construct two rooms for workers accommodation in the farm. Assuming you acquired 10 hectares of land for cattle farming you can fence round four plots with wire. This is to keep them in an enclosure for shelter, after grazing and for concentrate feeding/medication when necessary.
You need money to buy flock, feeds and for the general management of the farm. The prices of cattle varies according to sizes and breeds. The price can be less depending on the market. After purchasing the flock you can go ahead and; deworm them, give antibiotics and multivitamin to them.
When drawing business plan for cattle rearing you have to factor in the money for fencing and borehole construction. Borehole will cost not less than #200,000. Fencing may be more than that amount, you will also require money to build workers house and pens. There are many other things you need money for example; dog, duck, cat or geese purchase. Troughs for putting concentrate and water. Buying of feeds and planting of cattle plants such as; mulberry, roughage, sorghum etc.
AGE OF STOCK/SIZE OF HERD
You have to decide on the age of flock to buy bearing in mind the length of their gestation period. If the cow is too young it will take longer for it to conceive and deliver but the price will be lesser than a matured cattle. Another thing to consider is the number of cattle you want to rear. Remember it is capital intensive so you have to factor your herd size to the capital at hand. If you are starting with less than 10 heifer, it is advisable to use artificial insemination. Because keeping a bull will be expensive. It is the same advice for those who want to upgrade the generic of the flock to pure breed.
There are breeds for different purposes either for dairy or for meat productions.
BREEDS FOR MEAT PRODUCTION
- N’ dama
- Muturu (West African Dwarf Shorthorn)
BREEDS FOR DAIRY PRODUCTION
- Sokoto Gudali
- Adamawa Gudali
- Fulani White
The male and female can graze together but you have to separate them for a short time when the cow calfs.
In cattle rearing water is very important and to all livestock just as it is to every living thing. Cattle needs plenty of water. In an intensive or semi intensive cattle rearing it is a must to make provision for a standby water. So construct borehole or well facility even if there is pipe borne water around the environment.
SECURITY/FENCING OF CATTLE FARM
The fence should be constructed in such a way that it will be difficult for anybody to get cattle out of the pens.
- Construct a very strong iron Boulder fence inside the farm where they can retire for sleep even if you have done fencing around the farm before. Attach metal caps both on the fence and the gate.
- Use interlock to lock the gates so that it will be very difficult for cattle rustlers to break the locks.
- Put dogs in your cattle farm whenever there are intruders their barking will scare them away.
- Be very unpredictable especially with your visits to the farm.
- Keep the activities in your farm to yourself even from friends and close allies.
- Be at alert whenever you see strange faces and visitors around your cattle house.
- To prevent snake bites on cattle rear Duck because they have sharp eyes and can be fast to see small snakes and kill them. They number of ducks may not be much two or three is okay. Another animal to keep in cattle farm is Geese they can also see afar and will make so much noise that vibrates and echo far whenever they see predators. You can keep 3-4 geese in a cattle pens. Cat can also be kept against snakes.
Cow needs about 20kg worth of feeds daily which is equivalent to 10 litre full baskets of feeds. Cut grasses into pieces and mix with wheat brain to feed cattle. Feed them two times a day; morning and evening. Allow cattle for dairy to spend two hours in their feeding section and close the place to avoid over feeding. Mix roughage with concentrates, a bag of offal is #3,000, eke is #2,500 a bag.
PRICES OF CATTLE
The prices of cattle varies according to the size of each cattle and the breed. Gudal breed is between #45,000-#55,000 for a four to five months old heifer. This breed is easy to domesticate it grows bigger than other Nigerian breeds and are not aggressive as others. To buy calves at a reduced price go to the North, States like Taraba, Katsina, Sokoto etc. during dry season between March-April when leaves and ground are dried. Cattle rearers at this point are looking for buyers and will gladly sale at a give away price when they eventually find buyers. At this time too many people go there to buy so you will see people to join hands and pay for a truck or you can be chatged #5,000-#10,000 for a calf. A trunk can convey 45 calves for #130,000. However, you will pay levies and taxes to the market authorities, it is not much it’s between #500-#1,000.
Cattle fattening is the process of feeding special feed, diets and supplement to some selected bulls under semi/intensive care system to encourage rapid weight gain. The fattening of cattle is best for meat production business and not for milk because instead of fattened cow to produce plenty milk they will rather produce less. This is because too much feeding or excess food interferes with cattle’s digestion process and their overall milk production.
There are two ways of carrying out cattle fattening.
You can buy a weaned calves and feed them over a period of 12 months in other to achieve the body weight you desire. A bull under fattening will require about 3% (body weight) of forage a day, water and supplements. When it is supplemented with grains their weight will increase from 0.5-0.7kg or 1kg per day.
CATTLE CROSS BREEDING
You can cross breed exotic breed with our local breed to get stronger breeds. But you have to be careful not to cross breed a huge specie with small ones because the cow may not be able to deliver the calf. Instead you can buy the exotic female cow and be cross breeding it with the local breeds until you attain all round exotic breed.
GESTATION PERIOD IN CATTLE
The gestation period for a cow is 9 months about 284 days. It gives but to one calf at a time but on rare causes can give birth to triplets and twins.
DISEASES AND CONTROL MEASURE
- Red water caused by blue tick
- Gall caused by biting insects
- Tick infection
SIGNS OF DISEASE IN CATTLE
- Loss of appetite
- Nasal and eye discharge
It is very important for you to get the services of a veterinary doctor for the health of your cattle. Maintain good hygiene by weeding round your cattle farm.
SIGNS OF PREGNANCY
- Udder keeps enlarging
- Bull refusing to show interest on the cow
- The foetus heartbeat can be noticed or felt
- It forms a seal at the cervix to protect foetus against bacteria.
IMPORTANT NOTICE IN CATTLE REARING
A pregnant cow should not be allowed to go into heat throughout its 285 days of gestation period.
SIGNS OF HEAT
A cow show signs of heat every 21 days. Example of signs include:
- Sniffing and lip curling
- Allowing other cows to mount on them
- Clear discharges from vulva or enlarged vulva
- Increased urination
- Restless and aggressive behaviour
- Drop in milk production
SOME OF THE CATTLE FARMS IN NIGERIA
- Sebore farm Adamawa State
- Nagari farm
- Shonga cattle farm
- Jessam Cattle Ranch And Farm, Enugu
MAJOR PRODUCERS OF DAIRY IN NIGERIA
- Fan milk
- Prosmasidor etc.
CHALLENGES OF INTENSIVE CATTLE GRAZING IN NIGERIA
Some people are of the opinion that intensive grazing is somehow risky because according to them if there is any disease outbreak it will affect all the cattle and probably wipe them off. The remedy is to prevent such occurrence by maintaining good hygiene and employing specialist to be checking your herd from time to time.
Market traders are waiting to buy cattle which are never enough. You can start your own meat packaging business and make more money. For your dairy product ensure you have a collection centre close to you or you locate where you can be supplying to.
The subject of cattle rearing is very broad. I will be writing on how you can start dairy business and cattle fattening so keep in touch with enibest.com.ng.
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