Zim losing 500 000 calves annually

13 May, 2024 - 15:05 0 Views
Zim losing 500 000 calves annually Calves.jpg

eBusiness Weekly

Business Writer

Zimbabwe could be losing up to half a million calves annually, translating to a potential economic loss of US$100 million to US$250 million due to low calving rates, according to a Second Round of Crops, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment report.

Calving rate is a critical metric in livestock farming, reflecting a herd’s reproductive efficiency.

It is calculated as the percentage of females giving birth to calves relative to the total number bred. A high rate indicates a healthy and productive herd, while a low rate, as seen in Zimbabwe, averaging 42 percent in 2023, suggests underlying issues.

The report highlights the concerning impact of low calving rates.

With a national beef cattle population of 5,72 million, Zimbabwe could potentially be producing significantly more calves.

The lost production translates to a substantial economic burden, hindering the growth of the national herd and potentially impacting livelihoods dependent on cattle.

Breeding herd (bulls, cows and heifers) constitute 63 percent of the national.

Herd Bulling ratios have slightly improved and range from 1:11 in small-scale farming to 1:15 in large-scale farming compared to a national target of 1:20- 25.

National cattle mortality decreased from 6 percent in 2022 to 4,6 percent in 2023.

The decreased cattle mortalities are attributed to improved animal husbandry practices and animal health management, especially the effective control of tick-borne diseases.

Disease still contributes the highest cause of cattle mortality (68 percent) followed by drought (13 percent).

The goat population grew by percent from 4,9 million in 2021 to 5,1 million in 2023.

The kidding rates in 2023 improved significantly to 106 percent from 84 percent in 2022.

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