Villagers in some parts of the Midlands Province have started counting their losses following the death of more than 75 cattle in the past two months due to lack of pastures and water.

Livestock in communal areas is now in a dire condition as pastures are running out, but the situation is better at farms where there is good grazing, boreholes and water bodies.

Farmers have since been urged to harvest grass, wheat straw and stover as supplementary feed for their livestock.

De-stocking is also another method to avoid further losses as the money raised can be used to supplement feed for the remaining cattle.

In an interview yesterday, Midlands provincial crop and livestock officer, Mrs Medlinah Magwenzi urged farmers to get extra feed for their livestock.

She said the most affected communal farmers were in Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Kwekwe and Zhombe.

It’s unfortunate that communal farmers in the Midlands province have started losing cattle due to lack of pastures and water. To date we have received reports to the effect that over 75 cattle have succumbed to drought in the past two months and these are mainly in Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Kwekwe and Zhombe. These areas when we have drought are always hard hit,” she said.

Mrs Magwenzi said the drought has seen pastures and water running out.

She said water sources are also now very far from villages which makes it difficult for cattle, already poorly fed and thirsty, to access them. The Midlands provincial crop and livestock officer said the available pastures are now of low quality.

Farmers are commercially advised to sell, cull cows that are old and those that are not productivethe heifers and cows that calve once in two to three years; steers over two years, old oxen, excess bulls. One bull is to serve 25 -30 cows. If there are more bulls then cull by selling. The money from all these can buy supplementary feed,” said Mrs Magwenzi.

Credit: Chronicle

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