The economic viability of finishing Nguni weaners on natural veld and permanent pastures
The objective of this study was to investigate the economic viability of finishing Nguni weaners on natural veld and permanent pastures under dry land conditions. A group of 30 Nguni calves (7-9 months age) were randomly divided into two treatment groups: a group on Eastern Province Thornveld (Veld group) and a group managed on Panicum maximum pastures. The average daily gain (ADG) of the weaners in the Pasture group (0.606 kg/day) during this period was significantly higher than weaners on natural veld (0.434 kg/day). The profit per weaner (margin above direct allocated costs) in the Veld group was R246.56 higher than that of calves in the Pasture group but the highest return per ha was obtained from weaners raised on permanent pastures. These findings suggest that it was still more economic viable to finish Nguni weaners on the more costly Panicum pastures than on natural Eastern Province Thornveld.
Keywords: Indigenous breed, cattle, finishing, pastures