Importance of animals in an integrated farming system
With increased population, family land sizes are reducing while at the same time there is a reducing yield of crops leading to malnutrition, poverty and environmental degradation. Therefore, there is a need to plan in such a way that the little land farmers have, can sustain enough yield for a long time while at the same time conserve the environment. This will involve the integration of livestock, cropping and other land use systems. This type of farming is known as mixed farming system.
Advantages of animals in farming systems
- Animals can utilize low value feeds and in turn provide high value products such as meat, milk, eggs, wool, hides, skins and manure. Besides, animals may provide draught power to farmers, increase their social status and may act as a saving account.
- Keeping animals along with the growing of crops increase the security of sustainability and stability of farming systems. By applying manure to increase the production of a variety of food crops, not only helps families to get balanced diet but may contribute to generating some income when surplus is sold.
- In dry areas where cropping risks are high, livestock farming is very good security to check some of the eventualities.
- Where animal’s traction is used, farmer can cultivate longer areas with draught animal than by hoe. Animal’s traction does not use fossil fuel and its inputs are less than those for the tractors since ploughs and harness can normally be manufactured locally.
Understanding zero grazing
Zero-grazing is a system of keeping an animal in one place not allowing it to go out for grazing anymore. Fodder and water are brought to the stable by the farmer while at the same time the area is kept clean by the farmer.
Animals kept at the project (Khrutc)
Goats - Toggen –burg, saanen, Boer, Mubende
Cattle - Friesians, Boran, Jersey
Pigs - Landrace, Large white, saddleback, comprough, German pigs and
Poultry - Hamp shire, Hysex brown, broiler, local chicken
Rabbits - California, Chinchilla, Angola and New Zealand
Rats - Albino rats
Fish - Tilapia, Mud fish and cat fish.
It is important because it provides means of supplying forage to animals during scarcity periods. There are two main ways of conserving fodder
Hay is fed in dry form. There are two types of Hay
- Standing Hay
- Cured Hay
- It is preserved herbage under fermentation
- It is served when green and succulent
- It is served green and succulent
- It improves on appetite thus high in-take
- Less wastage while feeding is experienced.
- Crops which may not be palatable can be ensiled and fed to animals.
- It is an efficient method of storing animal feeds for a long time 1 -6 years.
- It requires 1/3 of space you would require to store the same quality.
Procedure of Silage making
- Harvesting in afternoon when sugar content is high.
- Chop into small pieces i.e. the smaller the better for faster fermentation (lacerating)
- The material should be evenly distributed in silo pit and compressed as much as possible to limit aerobic respiration. The location should uphill in properly drained area and the wall should be smeared or cemented.
- After placing and compressing cover it with water proof material and soil which also helps in compression.
What happens in the silo pit
There are two type of fermentation that occurs
It occurs for the first 4-l5 hours.
It occurs immediately after aerobic and how best compression was done to exclude the air
Macro-organism (academic just for general knowledge)
There are several types of micro-organisms involved e.g. lactic acid, Buteric acid., Bacill, Acetic acid bacill.
But the desired one is lactic bacill, thus we should keep fermentation around lactic acid stage Buteric or acetic acid accelerates the break-down of material including proteins which will produce Ammonia (NH2)
Chop the materials well
Cut in afternoon, avoid cutting when it is raining.
Carryout rapid filling and compression.
Ensure higher carbohydrates level to protein you can use additives e.g. molasses, maize flour cassava flour etc.