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A drift in climatic conditions in recent years has drastically affected the livestock sector. The climate is often characterized by drought, in alternance with heavy rainfall events, and can oftentimes create the conditions for diseases outbreaks that can affect crops or animals.
Many times, as farmers, we overlook to make sure we are preserving feeds in case of likely or less likely to happen circumstances, such as drought or other calamities, that lessen the chances to be able to guarantee to our animals steady feed supplies.
Talking about efficient feed supply, we know that farmers struggle much on maintaining a consistent feed supply on farms. Ranch managers make a point in having storage barns for hay as a backup plan.
However, often after successive good rainy seasons when the vegetation flourishes and there is no real need for feed stocks, the art of storage may be temporarily overlooked. Such attitude often makes farmers more vulnerable, since they prefer to save money and many costs are avoided if not strictly necessary at the time, especially considering that feed costs account up-to 70% of total production.
Strategies to put in place to guarantee steady livestock feed supplies
Keeping track of each farm record is an essential management tool. Ranch records are a vital component of management, as one is able to track how much of profit or loss a ranch is making. Therefore, record keeping helps running a farm as each monetary transaction can be traced at any time. Even during the purchase of feeds, with the appropriate tools ranchers calculate how much input is necessary to achieve their production goals, which subsequently tracks the profit gained or loss incurred. Moreover, good ranch records and business accountability can help earn a rancher a loan from the bank or agricultural entities.
Storage barns for emergencies or increase of demand
Suppose a fire occurs on a ranch and consumes forage for grazing animals. Your storage barn becomes your backup plan, while sourcing other alternatives to feed your herd. Moreover, it is important to have storage barns on separate sites, because fire can easily spread from one storage barn to the other, if not handled appropriately.
Prepare feed rations with a feed formulation tool
By combining the available resources with supplements, optimizing crop production and keeping an eye on costs, farmers can provide adequate feeding to their livestock without draining their cash.
Use of silage in addition to the natural grazing
As a rancher the practice of the use of silage is often advisable. Improvement of herd health, increased milk yield and general productivity is associated with the use of silage. Use of crop residues has been practiced for quite a long time.
Participate to Training and workshops
We invite all farmers to not lag behind when animal nutritionists host workshops on feed formulation, which strive towards sustainable agriculture. Training ranges from the processing of urea-molasses blocks, silage preparation, various feed rations using available feed resources in an area. In many countries the Ministry of Agriculture, through the office of extension services and veterinarians, often host training workshops on various aspects of farming. Therefore, signing up for these activities is beneficiary as knowledge gained can be used for livestock.
To conclude, as farmers it is often advisable to have a backup plan on feed reserves and to always keep learning in order to be able to adjust to changing circumstances and stay ahead of the game by adopting new tools.