“Get big or get out” is a common call among farmers that may not necessarily be true. Herd and flock expansion is the most common way to grow a livestock operation, but niche markets also offer positive opportunities for growth. Focusing on continuous improvement in management and innovation are other ways of growing your profit.
Ratselane Marumo of Afrivet says rising prices in agricultural products are an enormous challenge to farmers, but cutting regular treatment programmes and biosecurity measures in herds and flocks may lead to worse problems. “There are more diseases out there after the rains we’ve had, so farmers should schedule vaccinations and stick to them,” he explains. Keeping your herd healthy is part of what makes growth possible. The less mortalities there are in a herd, the faster animal numbers will go up.
Feed is more expensive now, but farmers should think twice about cutting feed. Winter grass is very short on protein and must be supplemented with a decent protein lick. It is better to put growth plans on hold and sell off animals than to keep them short of feed.
The agricultural sector offers many training programmes, and Marumo advises farmers to take advantage of free training & consult with agribusinesses like Afrivet. When farmers and farmworkers are faced with difficult situations, training counts. Loretta Visagie, a black woman farmer from Klipkop near Vereeniging, says it best: “Training teaches you how to handle a challenge.”
Even in remote places, where a lack of veterinary support may seem to hold back growth, there is help. Marumo says to access assistance, farmers must get closer to their agribusinesses.
For more information, visit www.afrivet.co.za