Farmers who have been traditionally producing food and cash crops should also consider engaging in livestock production as a way of augmenting their income.
During recent years, weather patterns have been unpredictable and as a result the country wrote off 300 000 hectares of crops due to drought during the 2014/15 farming season. Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development in charge of livestock, Cde Paddy Zhanda said mixed farming would cushion the farmers. He also pointed out that the livestock farmers should acquire different breeds that are less expensive to maintain, are resistant to diseases and have higher returns.
The Boran, which has not been very common in Zimbabwe, was only found at Forester Farm in Centenary and has got very high returns.
The few indigenous farmers who have managed to breed the Boran have not only excelled in their ventures but are now proud exporters of the breed to neighbouring countries.
As stated by one Mr Buks van den Berg from South Africa, the Boran has survived in the African continent for over 1 300 years. Its genetic composition of 24 percent European bos Taurus breed, 64 percent Bos Indices and 12 percent African Bos Taurus is what makes it a unique breed. It gives it its key hybrid vigor.
The Borans are unique in that they can go for days without water as they are known to have survived in the deserts. They can travel for more than 15 kilometres in search of water when the need arises.
The breed is also easy to calve. It can produce better weaning weights of calves while calving heifers can take bulls early.
While heifers reach puberty at an average age of 385 days, the beasts are known for longevity. At 15 years, they will still be highly fertile even under harsh conditions. Fertility is the most important element in livestock production. While most heifers from most breeds give birth after every year, the Borans do so within a shorter period of time.
The Boran cows have a good mothering instinct with good udders that are capable of producing enough milk. Protective as they are, no predator can pounce on their calves such that the survival rate of the Boran calves is much higher than that of other breeds.
Endowed with a loose but motile skin with short covering hair and a high secretion of an oily substance which makes it less desirable host for ticks and flies, the Borans are highly resistant to diseases such as lumpy skin and day stiffness among others. Its long eyelashes and long tail also protect this breed against insects.
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