Reproductive efficiency and herd demography of Nguni cattle in village-owned and group-owned enterprises under low-input communal production systems

Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, University of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice, 5700, South Africa.
Tropical Animal Health and Production (Impact Factor: 0.82). 01/2013; 45(6). DOI: 10.1007/s11250-013-0363-x
Source: PubMed


The objective of the study was to determine the herd demography and reproductive efficiency of the Nguni cattle in village-owned and group-owned enterprises under low-input communal production systems. Data on husbandry practices, reason of cattle entry/exist, herd structure, bulling rates, breeding females, age at first calving and calving interval were obtained from 22 village-owned and 19 group-owned enterprises in a cross-sectional survey of an ecologically controlled low-input cattle production system. Descriptive statistics and chi-square tests of association were computed on enterprise ownership patterns, husbandry practices and herd demography. An AN(C)OVA was used to determine significant factors affecting herd structure, mortality, age at first calving and calving interval in the enterprises. Village-owned enterprises had higher (p < 0.05) dipping frequency per season than group enterprises. The herd sizes were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in group-owned (29.9 ± 3.23) than in village-owned (23.6 ± 2.40) enterprises. Mortality rate was significantly lower (p < 0.05) in group-owned (10.8 %) than in village-owned enterprises (26.4 %). Group-owned enterprises had significantly more sales and programme retains than the village-owned enterprises (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between enterprise ownership pattern on cattle production potential and age at first calving (p > 0.05). Significant differences were observed on the calving interval (p < 0.05) where the group-owned enterprises performed better (16.0 ± 1.10 months) than village-owned enterprises (22.7 ± 1.07 months). The bulling rate was higher in village-owned enterprises, while the proportion of breeding females was higher in group-owned enterprises. Farmers with a college education had Nguni animals with the shortest calving interval. It was concluded that group-owned enterprises had significantly better calving intervals, mortality rates and overall herd structure than village-owned enterprises.

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