Farmers’ Diaries: Lerato Senakhomo

Lerato Senakhomo, Nigel, Gauteng

We have just finished selection from our Nguni stud herd with the Nguni Stud Breeders Society and have separated our young bull culls for fattening.

We prepared them for the Eid (Eid al-Fitr), meaning ‘festival of breaking the fast’ – a celebration marking the end of Ramadan. This is an important feast in the Muslim community, and I’ve been supplying Muslims in my area for years.

For this celebration, Muslims only slaughter oxen and do not use normal feedlot prices when purchasing. They just look at the size and if the price suits the size, they’ll pay.

The farm produces yellow maize and grass for commercial purposes, but we hold back a portion for our own use, specifically for feedlotting and supplementing the herd.

We mix our feed, which mainly contains crushed yellow maize, grass and soya oil cake. The feed mix is taken to the Agricultural Research Council for testing. Ngunis are not good feedlot animals and we’ll normally finish them at about 580kg (live weight).

We provide the same supplementary feed to the rest of the herd in winter to maintain a good body condition score.

We did our pregnancy tests in March and have about 62% of the herd pregnant, which I think is low. We will use this same feedlot feed to flush feed all the cows running with the bull that isn’t pregnant, just to boost their condition. Our next pregnancy tests will be towards the end of May.

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