Animal diseases under the spotlight at Rehoboth farmers’ information day
WINDHOEK - For small-scale farmers to succeed, herd or flock health must be promoted.
Thus all farmers in the Rehoboth area are looking forward to the farmers’ information day on October 20 at the TRC, when Dr Christiaan Witbooi of Vets24 will go into details about the various animal diseases and how to prevent them. The event is co-sponsored by Voermeester who will stress the importance of correct feeding of both cattle and small stock.
Dr Witbooi says the opinions and experiences of people actively involved in identifying and dealing with livestock farming health issues have too often been ignored or deprecated as being of little or no value. On the basis that this information is not sourced from scientific experiments or diagnostic tests. However, there is a growing realisation that much valuable and sometimes unique information can be easily and fairly reliably obtained using structured information days to elicit the experiences of those involved.
Some of the most important diseases are sheep scab, heart water, clostridial diseases (mainly pulpy kidney), endoparasites, bluetongue and ectoparasites. Sheep scab is ranked as the highest priority by many farmers, advisors and technicians and as a high priority by veterinarians. Pulpy kidney, bluetongue and worms are ranked as important by all the groups. Heart water is ranked as important and farmers additionally identify pasteurellosis, coenurus cerebralis (‘gid’) and black quarter as among the most important diseases. Veterinarians consider malnutrition to be an important underlying factor for most of the disease conditions.
Dr Witbaaoi says that lack of knowledge and skills and inaccessibility to them are the most important constraints for controlling diseases in small ruminants. He says there is a demand for all of the information available at the information day. Farming communities in his area rate agriculture and livestock as of high importance, with emphasis on ruminant livestock, indicating these are important for income generation. However, both farmers and their service providers (production advisors, animal health technicians and veterinarians) identified numerous constraints that prevent livestock production from reaching its full potential in terms of income generation and wealth creation.
Farmers reported experiencing many animal health problems but these were to a large extent dwarfed by larger problems, many of them related to land use, management and availability of products and services that can directly affect the well-being of the animals and the income of farmers.
Dr Witbooi also says that ways to improve veterinary service delivery to communal farmers need to be explored with the help of pharmaceutical companies and other private sector veterinary service providers. Some farmers do not know when vaccination is needed, how often to vaccinate or which animals to target. Similarly, drugs used by farmers are all too often completely wrong or ineffective. Training and education are clearly required to rectify these mistakes.
2018-10-09 10:11:10 11 months ago