Cattle farming involves rearing and domestication of cows for commercial purpose. Cattle are hoofed mammals that belong to the genus Bos, a part of the Bovidae family and are native to various parts of the world except for the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Cattle farming has grown to be one of the most popular of the global livestock production sector with about 1.5 billion cattle head (FAO, 2015).
Types of cattle farming
Cattle farming can be categorized into three types based on breeds like
1. Beef cattle breeds reared for meat production.
2. Dairy cattle breeds raised for milk production and other dairy products.
3. Dual-purpose breeds reared for both meat and milk.
Requirements for starting a cattle farm
Starting a thriving cattle farm depends on the business plan and other factors which include location, housing, breeds, feeding, and other management practices.
• Make a feasible business plan:
This should contain how you want to run the farm, the type of farm you want to have, the number of cattle herds within your specified budget. Determine your production aims whether you want to rear for meat, milk, or dual purpose. The business plan should also contain your marketing plan.
• Get a good location:
Cattle are ruminants that feed on mostly grass and forages. Therefore, your cattle farm should be sited at a location near to pasture or grassland to allow convenience in feeding. Although, you can start with a small cattle farm, procuring a large land area for semi-intensive management is preferable. This allows the cattle to graze conveniently on their own before going back into the constructed houses to rest and regurgitate. The nearness of the farmland to an available market is also an added advantage.
• Provide good housing:
Housing (pens) should be constructed under a shed to protect the cattle from harsh environmental conditions such as rain, unfavorable weather, and predators. The housing must be spacious enough to allow the proper flow of air. This would not only help to allow ventilation but will also reduce the risk of disease infestation. Proper drainage must also be ensured to allow free flow of water to prevent hosting of disease-causing organisms by stagnant water.
• Get the best cattle breeds:
Start your cattle farm with healthy and hybrid breeds to guarantee successful cattle farming. It is essential to purchase a good breed of cattle to begin your farm from an excellent source with vaccination history.
• Employ the services of workers and professionals:
Employ the services of workers to help in the daily routine management of the cattle farm and professionals especially a veterinarian to occasionally check the health status of your cattle herds and to administer vaccination regularly. A veterinary specialist will help you in handling your animals to reduce or prevent diseases.
Daily routine farm management.
• Feeding and water supply:
Cattle as ruminants feed mainly on forages and varieties of feed ingredients containing fiber, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to ensure fast and healthy growth. Water supply should be available and adequate at all times. A matured cattle of 100 pounds body weight drink an average of 1 gallon of water during the cold season and 2 gallons during hot seasons. Water can be supplied in drinking troughs.
• Regular sanitation:
The cattle houses and environment should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. For a better waste collection process, the floors of the pen can be slatted and ensuring the floor is kept dry is essential for a disease-free environment.
Benefits of Cattle farming
1. They produce essential products like meat, beef and milk there are benefits too.
2. Cattle are strong mammals that can be left alone to graze on pastures and grasslands. Thus, it requires much less work than other forms of livestock farming.
3. Useful by-products like the leather, farmyard manure are also derived from cattle.
4. In a few developing countries, cattle are also used for work on the farm like for plowing the soil, transport, irrigation, etc.
Cattle farming like much other livestock production is a lucrative agribusiness. With the right training, knowledge, and innovative financing, you can start a successful cattle farm.