Mojalefa Tlou, Waterval, North West Province
We have not had any rain and are expecting our summer calves in the next few weeks. Our biggest challenge is the lack of grass because of the veld fires we have had in the past few weeks. We will need to supplement heavily and provide extra feed for our animals while we wait for the first rains to boost the grass flush.
We really have a problem with people deliberately burning the veld; it causes major problems and adds unnecessary costs to our operation. We feed a supplementary protein lick to our pregnant cows. Once they have started calving we will provide them with licks that are high in energy. This should help the cows raise their calves and maintain good body condition.
We have just vaccinated our cattle against lumpy skin disease using MSD’s Lumpyvax®. We have also vaccinated against the major clostridial diseases. [Farmers can use available multivalent vaccines like Afrivet’s Prondivax multiclostridial 8 or MSD’s Covexin® 10].
We are hoping that the rains are not delayed as this may force us to creep feed our young calves so that they don’t depend entirely on their mothers’ milk as the cows may be struggling if there is not enough grazing.