What is Cattle Production?
Cattle production involves keeping bulls and cows for meat (beef) or milk (dairy) purpose. Cattle feed on grasses, legumes, roughage etc. That is why they are called herbivores and they are also known as ruminants (because they have one stomach with four compartments). In Nigeria (West Africa), commercial beef cattle production is very common especially in the Northern part of the country.
Prior to publishing this article, I received a lot of phone calls and emails from people that are interested commercial ranching business; I mean commercial cattle production. The first question most of them ask me is; Is commercial cattle production profitable? My response is always yes and no. It is possible that someone you know is into the business and he or she is making it through the enterprise. Yes! But do you know if he or she has the knowledge needed for proper management? Or do you know the breeds of cattle on his or her farm? Back to the main issue, this enterprise can be lucrative based on the fact that management principles and the fundamental knowledge have been known.
Cattle production is the management of bulls and cows for production beef and/or milk purpose. Commercial Cattle production is where the goal of production is to make money through selling of live cattle or animal products (meat, milk, etc.). This enterprise is divided into three sub-production types, based on the purpose of production.
- Beef cattle production- for meat (beef) production only.
- Dairy cattle production- for milk production only
- Dual-purpose production- for both milk and meat production.
Just like any other business enterprise, you need to carry out feasibility study before going to cattle production business. Before anyone can start cattle business, he or she must be sure that feeds and herbage are sufficiently available for the cattle. Cattle are herbivores i.e. they eat vegetables. Although, they can also take concentrates. Another thing about this business is that location and climate has a great influence on the performance of both bull (male cattle) and cow (female cattle). For example, cattle that have their native home in a temperate region may not survive or thrive in a tropical region. Therefore, before starting a beef cattle production business, the following points must be noted.
Facts About Cattle Farming
- It requires a lot of capital at the start and less after.
- It is a labor-intensive business.
- It could be a long term business if well-managed.
- The breed of cattle to be selected for beef production should have standard body conformation for beef cattle.
- Means of feeding and supplying water to the cattle should be considered and known.
- The prevalence of tsetse flies in the proposed site or location of production.
- ‘De-horning’ should be done for cattle with horns for easy handling and to prevent injury.
- Do not purchase animals from the same place.
- If there is enough land, establishment of pasture should be done before bringing in animals.
- Diseased animals can be a threat to other animals; so get animals that are certified healthy.
- Provide shade, good water and fence the farm round with barbed wire to prevent uncontrolled movement of animals.
- Breeding plans or program should be known beforehand.
- Consult experts in the field.
Beef cattle production is worth investing on and with time the profit will start coming in.