Botswana’s local farmers have raised concern about low prices and profits from low quality local tswana cattle breeds when selling them to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC).
An increasing number of them has decided to develop their livestock by crossbreeding beef cattle as the challenge to fulfill European Union (EU) standards of quality beef grows.
Local farmer and former BMC CEO, Martin Mannathoko, said that for a long time, under developed cattle have been doing badly in the market because of low kilograms. He stated that young and heavier cattle from 18 months to two years are mostly doing well in the market. “When feeding animals, it is important to have an animal that really converts the food into heavy meat,” said Mannathoko.
He said that cattle from South and North of Botswana are different because of different environments. He advised other farmers to develop their local breeds in order to get heavy fillet cuts of high weight of the international standards. According to Mannathoko, animals whose carcass weigh less than 200kg are still of poor standard.
Senepol Cattle Breeder, Davi Feo, said that the breed is heat tolerant, insect and disease resistant and have the ability to thrive on poor quality forage. He revealed that Senepol originates from St Croix in the United States of America.
He said that the crossbreeding of Tswana and Senepol will improve the beef production.
Feo said that one bull can cover up to fifty female cows. He stated that they export semen to distant places worldwide in frozen nitrogen liquid.
“With a long, slim profile at birth, Senepols are ranked as a top calving ease breed,” said Feo.
He said that senepol cows are moderate in size and have excellent foraging ability. He stated that it complements many breeds and helps to bring their advantageous traits to the areas where heat tolerance is a requirement.
In an interview, Lobatse Farms farmer, Michael Loopking, said a lot of local farmers have been reluctant to develop their animals, particularly cattle. He also welcomed this livestock breeding development. He said that it came at the right time of diversification of the economy and eradication of poverty. He stated that automatically the other cattle breeds like Brahman, redpoll, Simmental and jersey will improve the local beef production.
“I recommend young farmers to branch into these breeds as they provide industry with leading carcass quality,” said Loopking.