Story by Providence Maraneli
AS the government endeavours to increase the national cattle herd, agriculture experts have called on farmers to adopt silage-making to ensure their cattle have enough food all year round.
The enthusiasm demonstrated by Esigodini Agriculture College students in explaining how silage production can enhance cattle breeding to farmers who attended a livestock field day at Biano Farm in Umzingwane this Tuesday is testimony to the country’s endeavour to increase the national cattle herd.
A student noted, ‘‘Silage production is the only way to go farmers, with climate change and winter coming every year all farmers must have silage so that we protect our herd.’’
Another student said, ‘‘You can mix sorghum, maize stalks and other roughage so that you can come up with highly nutritional silage.’’
With silage having a higher nutritional value as compared to grass and tree leaves eaten by free-range cattle, agriculture experts are convinced the increase in the national herd is dependent on farmers’ adoption of silage production.
Simmental breeder Mr Obert Chinhamo noted, ‘‘All my cattle are ready to conceive and the conception rate stands at 100 percent, so I urge farmers to adopt silage production even at small scale.’’
Dynalab Chief Agronomist Mr Manex Ngono said, ‘‘Apart from silage, farmers should adopt foliage fertilisers that will enhance and boost fertility.’’
The government through the livestock growth plan seeks to increase the national herd from five million to six million by 2025
Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development
Honourable Davis Marapira noted, ‘‘From the way we are seeing here having very good silage provides our animals with a protein content of about 12 percent and this translates to the increase in production of cattle. If you look at our national herd it has been stagnant for many years and the reasons being poverty deaths. So this is the only way we can improve our herd.’’
Meanwhile, the government is working closely with farmers to contain January’s Disease by ensuring the availability of dipping chemicals and tick grease across the country.