A message hit my inbox one day
“Good morning VaMudhumeni, my name is Eric farming in Macheke. I’m considering grass options on a farm for up to 50 cattle. Let me know when you are free to take a call.”
From the message, the area has already given you a glimpse of the climatic conditions however it’s not enough. It also hard to tell how big the farm is, even given that figure (50) which might indicate the potential carrying capacity but all this does not matter. The most important questions are-
Which systems are you considering Breeding-in or Buying-in? Those who are not familiar with these terms kindly refer to my previous article on Production Systems.
Do you want to venture into Beef production or Dairy? Dairy animals require highly nutritious pastures to produce quality milk e.g Lucerne
Do you intent to grow your pasture of natural rainfall or irrigation? Some grasses have high water requirement than others as compared to others. Lucerne does well under irrigation whereas Katambora and Giant Rhodes are drought resistant and they even do well in dry regions.
Lastly, will you feed as hay or grazing?
It only after the farmer has availed the information above, that the grass options becomes clear and would gladly recommend them from an informed position.
By Lynette Simango