Wednesday May 21 2014

Making the most from livestock

By By Michael J. Ssali

When most people go into livestock production, they tend to think only about the gains they expect from the sale of products such as milk, eggs or meat.
But the livestock farmer who also grows crops should expect a lot more than just the income from livestock products.

Improve quality
For instance, livestock by-products such as farm yard manure can be used by the farmer to produce high crop yields and lead to higher income.
It can also be used to improve the quality and effectiveness of other types of organic manure such as grass when the farmer makes compost.

Farm yard manure comprises of the animal droppings, the urine and all the grass on which the animals lie and the bits of grass dropped from the trough.

It enriches the soil with such nutrients as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, among others.

Save money, make money
The livestock farmer may save the money that would have otherwise been spent on purchasing fertilisers from shops.

When the sales from the eggs, the meat, or the milk are low, the farmer can make up for the loss with the gains from the high crop yields.
Livestock farmers who do not grow crops can also make money by selling animal manure to crop farmers. The farmer must, however, take care to maintain the manure in good condition.

Avoid too much exposure
If, for example, it is not well covered, the vital nutrients such as nitrogen may be lost and, in some cases, some of it may be carried away by run-off from rain water or even.
Too much exposure to sunlight will reduce its quality as is is supposed to be kept moist. All good farmers cover farm yard manure with a small layer of soil or some grass to avoid this exposure.

Note the by-products
Animal manure lasts much longer in the soil than artificial fertilisers and it is friendlier to the organisms that naturally live in the soil.
Livestock farmers should also be conscious of the by-products such as skins and hides, which are by themselves tradable commodities.

Don’t do this
This requires kindness to the animals all the time by not beating them or wounding them. The skin of an animal that suffered too many bruises and scratches does not fetch a lot of money because of the scars on