Feeding strategies for sustainable cattle production
AbstractCattle play a pivotal role in the social and economic welfare of the Swazi people. The major challenge however, is how to ensure that cattle production continues to meet the needs of the present Swazi generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This article describes the characteristics of the cattle production environment on Swazi nation land (SNL), highlighting the linkage between the production environment and cattle productivity. The article singles out nutrition as the most important factor limiting cattle productivity on SNL, and yet in Swaziland, it argues, there exist vast feed resources that are unused or poorly utilised and could make a major impact on cattle production. It then goes on to present an analytical framework for a feeding strategy that ensures sustainable cattle production – a strategy that mobilises all the feed resources in the country. This strategy is supported by research data from feeding trials involving feeds available in Swaziland. The study shows that there is need to develop low-cost feeding packages utilising crop residues and agro-industrial by-products especially for winter-feeding, and to adopt integrated farming systems in which livestock production complements crop production for efficient and sustainable use of resources and environment protection.
UNISWA Jnl of Agric Vol 8 1999: pp 31-38