Cattle Ranching: A Multi-million Naira Agribusiness
Businesses like Cattle Breeding/Ranching, not on the list of favorite businesses for most people are really lucrative. Why? The reason is that even though fewer people consider cattle farming when looking for good businesses, a very high percentage of people consume beef and a lot of other cattle products daily.
Cattle production involves keeping bulls and cows for meat (beef) or milk (dairy) purpose. Cattle feed on grasses, legumes, roughage. That is why they are called herbivores and they are also known as ruminants (because they have one stomach with four compartments).
In Nigeria (West Africa), commercial beef cattle production is very common especially in the Northern part of the country, but with innovation, one can have a ranch or breed cattle in any part of Nigeria profitably both in and out of rain season.
Cattle farmers are not just limited to selling meat or milk; there are tons of other products that they can sell.
In fact, no part of a cattle’s body is a waste product, from the horns down to the hoofs. Let me show you some of the products that can be gotten from cattle which you can sell to make money.
•Meat •Cow dung’s for organic fertilizer production •Milk •Cheese• Cowhide• Cow Bones •Cow Hooves •Cow Bladders •Cow Horns
Starting A Cattle Farm
Farmland-: The most important thing that you would need for this business is a large piece of land that can be used as a farmstead.
The land should have good green pasture because the grass is the staple for cows. You can look for a land whose owners are not currently using and lease it for use as a cattle farm or you could consider purchasing your own land which is the best. Then, you should fence it to protect the cows from being stolen or wandering off.
Land Preparation: Prepare the land for cattle farming, you may call it a ranch, the preparation of the land is necessary by planting high yielding pasture (grasses, legumes, roughage) which you can source within Nigeria which the cattle’s will feed on.
Research has shown the pastures sourced within Nigeria are better than the imported because our climate and breeds of cattle’s are considered.
Acquire the Necessary Facilities-:
The first facility you would need for your cattle farm is a good fence to serve as security for your farm. Then, you would need a good source of water may be a borehole, well or an artificial stream to provide a steady supply of drinking water for the cattle.
You may also need to construct a small farmhouse to serve as a store and living quarters for anyone you employ to take care of the cattle. You may also need to construct a shed for the cows in case of harsh weather or plant trees.
Feeding the Cattle-:
The largest percentage of expenses you would incur on your cattle farming business will be on feeding. Although cows feed on pastures, by-products from maize, cassava, a fruit etc, but with the availability of cattle feed now in the market it can have a balanced diet, as a result, it becomes a health and fattened.
According to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, if you haul cattle from Kano down to your ranch, by the time you take them, you fatten them and, in less than three months, you will make money. If you are able to do that, the people will buy a cow that is healthy, well-fed and big, rather than the one that trekked from Sokoto or Kano. That is to say, it is a business to venture.
Monitor your livestock regularly. Contact a proficient veterinarian who takes care of immunization.
Mating and Reproduction-: When stocking your farm with cattle, to begin with, you would need to stock up on both female and males.
The males would be used mainly for reproductive purposes. Just like other farm animals, cows have their heat period and you would have to monitor your female cows to know when they are on heat so that they can mate with the male cows.
Most cattle farmers don’t rely on natural reproduction because it doesn’t produce fast results like artificial insemination. With artificial insemination, your herd can grow bigger faster. Before you embark on this method of reproduction, ensure that you consult experts to put you through on the right procedure and as soon as a female cow gets pregnant, you should separate it from the rest and care for it specially, with the right nutrition and comfort to reduce stress and a risk of abortion.
•Diseases: Diseases such as Tick damage and tick-borne diseases, Gallsickness, Tuberculosis (TB), Cattle measles, Anthrax, Diet-related problems, Lumpy-skin disease (LSD) etc. But can be prevented through early vaccination.
• Cattle Rustling: This has been a big challenge in Nigeria cattle business that is why adequate security should be made to before starting this business, such as fencing etc.
• Capital: Capital can be a very major challenge in this business but with availabilities of Agric funds from the government this is becoming less challenged. Forming of a cooperative society among breeders or ranchers will make fund sourcing easier.
• Feeding: With the planting of high yield pastures now available in Nigeria through research institutes and availability of water supplies it will be addressed.
Just like every other business venture the profitability is high because of the high demand for beef and it’s by-products.
Leading Example Of Cattle Breeding/Racing Business
OWONIKOKO Ranch and Farm is a leading cattle breeding and fattening company involved in upgrading and multiplying cattle breeds/herds with local adaptability and improved performance and yield, the innovative breeding technology of artificial insemination and careful selection.