You, Too, Can Rear Cattle And Make Lots Of Money | Independent Newspapers Limited
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You, Too, Can Rear Cattle And Make Lots Of Money

Posted: Aug 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Celestine Amoke
When it comes to cattle rearing, your mind may quickly create a picture of nomadic Fulani herdsmen who take their herds of cattle and roam over the place. But the truth is that you can run a cattle farm successfully and profitably in a particular location. The purpose of cattle rearing is not just about raising some herds of cattle and selling them for cash, there are other business opportunities attached to it.
For instance, if you are interested in dairy products, you can rear cattle to make milk for sale to companies who produce canned milk, yoghurt and the likes or you could sell fresh milk to those who would process it into cheese or butter used as pastries and in cooking and baking.
If you are interested in meat production and packaging, you could begin cattle rearing to produce meat to supply to supermarkets, shopping malls, homes, schools and party organisers. On the other hand, you may be interested in producing hides and skins for the manufacturing of leather products such as shoes, bags, sandals, belts, and so on. In that case, you would be providing raw materials for shoe and leather companies.
Everything about the cattle is a money-spinner, even the dung the animals excrete can be sold as manure to farmers and horticulturists. What about the bones? They are very useful raw materials for industries producing chinaware. They could also be converted to livestock feed because of the protein and calcium content. Other parts of the cow such as the horns can be used as ornamental decoration while the hooves contain a type of protein used for making fire extinguishers. It is obvious that a lot can be derived from cattle rearing by adding value to the component parts derived therein.
To partake in this lucrative but neglected business, land is the most critical factor. You have to acquire land for the construction of a ranch. A ranch is a landscape with structures for the grazing of livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, horse and so on. The land has to be good pasture for the feeding of the cattle. The land should be large, depending on your purse and the scale at which you want to run the business. You could buy land or you could lease a farmstead. You can also use the open space in your compound to start up.
 Another critical factor to consider is security. The land should be properly secured with a strong fence round. There should be a good source of water in the farm for the cattle. There is also need for a farmhouse where the herdsman or rancher or cattleman, whatever name you would like to call him, would stay and which would also serve as a storehouse for the feeds. There should be other equipment such as facilities for watering, feed troughs and bale feeders.
If you are operating on a big scale, you may have other equipment such as tractors, trailers and handling equipment. However, the way to make the business profitable is to keep the ranch simple and keep running expenses low, at least at the beginning. Get good farm hands to manage the ranch for you.
Decide on the type of cattle you want to rear; whether for beef or for dairy. For beef, there are breeds like Red Polls, British White, Herefords, shorthorns and Galloways that are all good producers. For dairy breeds, there are excellent ones like Jersey, Brown Swiss, Holstein, Ayrshires and Guernseys. Choose from the type prevalent in your area.
Bear in mind that a dairy farm requires more equipment than one for beef. In addition to the aforementioned, you need to build a milking parlour, calving facilities and separate barns for keeping the cows that are not for milking. That notwithstanding, through research you find the type prevalent in your area and the one suitable for your purpose. You can start with just a few cows, from two to five cows and a bull for breeding. But because bulls are dangerous to handle, you need to be careful in relating with them. Where you have a breeding centre, it is safer to leave out the bull and go for artificial insemination for reproduction because it is faster. However, where there is none, there is no alternative than to get at least one bull. Get your breeding stock from healthy animals. Avoid emaciated and sickly animals.  You can start with three cows and a calf (three females and a male). A cow generally matures at about 15 months of age and is ready for mating. Monitor the females to know when they are in heat so that they can mate with the male.
As I said earlier, most expenses in cattle farming go into feeding. Although they largely feed on grass and pastures, there is need for you to provide energy-giving food such as wheat, corn and other grains as supplements, to make them grow faster and healthier.
A major part of cattle farming is marketing. Go to those who need you produce. If you produce meat, it is either you take it to cattle markets, or you solicit orders from meat companies like Eko Meat, supermarkets and shopping malls. If you produce milk, then you look for sales opportunities from dairy companies. Advertise yourself and your produce.
There is no doubt that the demand for cattle in Nigeria is high and scarce, no thanks to the Boko Haram insurgency that has crippled the raising of cattle in the northern region. Go to the market, and you find few pieces of meat for a small pot of soup going for as much as N500.  An average cow that usually costs between N150,000 and N200,000 now costs about N300,000 and still rising. You can latch onto the demand and supply gap and launch yourself into the business and rake tons of cash. However, to get the best out of the business, try to keep your expenses as low as possible. This will put you in a position to get high returns on your investment.
Health and Veterinary Services
There certain diseases that hinder successful cattle farming, such as tsetse, trypanosomiasis, foot and mouth disease and ticks. You must have a good relationship with a veterinarian who will look after the health aspect of the farm or teach you what to do and when to keep your stock healthy and virile.
Consultancy Services
If you are very much interested in this business and do not have sufficient knowledge about it, it would pay to engage the services of consultants to guide you. This is to avoid waste of scarce resources, which comes with trial and error. Alternatively, engage the services of those who know how to run the business for you. The large herds of cattle you see grazing in many parts of the country are not owned by the herdsmen. They are working for somebody for a fee. Take a shot at it; you will succeed!