Beef cattle are mainly raised for meat production There are two types of beef production enterprises to engage in; Production of weaner calves for sale, fattening young stock for slaughter. Choosing the type of operation depends on the availability of resources such as land size, financial capital among others. The indigenous breed types in Uganda are; the longhorn ankole cattle: the Bahima and Kigezi, the east African short horn: Zebu, Nkendi, Lugwere, Usuku, Karimajong and Boran, the intermediate breed: Nganda, Nyoro, Nsonga and Kyoga., The major exotic beef breeds include; Hereford, Aberdeen, Angus, Charolais, Boran, Red poll, Beef shorthorn and Bonsmara. The challenges in beef cattle include diseases and parasites for example; foot and mouth and disease, inconsistent supply of feeds and water, fluctuations of prices in meat market among others.
a. Adapted to the local environment which is characterized by inadequate forage
b. Experience low growth rates thus have fewer nutrient requirement
c. Ability to withstand ambient temperatures
a. Growth rate; breeds with fast growth rate and early maturing are preferred
b. Carcass quality; breeds with the best meat quality preferred by the market
c. Calving percentage: the calving percentage should be between 90-95%
d. Adaptability to production conditions
a. Observe your cattle frequently and closely to be able to detect ill-health and attend to injuries and disease conditions promptly.
b. Use proper management practices to get the best health care for your animals.
c. Vaccinate your cattle as recommended to control diseases
d. Deworm your cattle frequently and control ticks and other harmful organisms by applying acaricide frequently
e. Identify plants that are toxic to animals to minimize cases of deaths due to fodder poisoning
f. Newly purchased animals should be isolated
g. Animal houses and premises should be regularly disinfected
h. Certain diseases must by law, be notified to veterinary authorities such as foot and mouth disease, rinderpest and anthrax
There are several feeding systems for beef cattle production; extensive grazing, semi-intensive grazing, intensive grazing and feed lot grazing. Nutritional requirements for beef cattle vary depending on the breed, size, physiological state, level of production and system of production
a. Don’t embark on stocking your farm before having a proper feeding regime.
b. A good feeding regime should be pasture-based but balanced in terms of nutrient provision. It is cheaper to grow your own pasture however, this is often affected by seasonal droughts that cause scarcity of pastures and water
c. Monitor weight gains of your herd by weighing them regularly
a. A bull pen should have a shaded resting area of 12-15 meters squared and a large exercise area of about 30 meters squared. Ensure there is enough space for the animals to move, lie down and rise freely.
b. The walls of the pen must be strong to avoid sudden breaks
c. Ensure a comfortable, clean, well-drained and dry lying area
d. The housing should have a provision of sick pens for isolation of sick animals