WINDHOEK - Agra ProVision is following up its recent introduction to new technology with a course themed More Grass, More Money tomorrow to allow Namibian farmers to calculate forage availability and estimate fodder flow projection for the dry season ahead with another course.
The course is at the Agra/Bank Windhoek Ring in Windhoek and will last until 16:00. Agra ProVision’s Bertus Kruger recently explained the importance of fodder flow planning during a seminar at Agra Hyper, Northern Industrial Area in Windhoek. The well-attended seminar got the attention of commercial, communal and emerging farmers who all received a complimentary copy of the new, Photo Guide to estimate Forage Availability in Namibian Rangelands. The seminar was part of an ongoing effort by Agra and various role players to save the country’s rangelands. ProVision paved the way with the annual Rangeland Forums which have been taking place for the past five years.
Kruger explains that there is always a demand for and a supply of forage, depending on the rainfall received. When forage availability is in balance with forage demand, no problems (droughts) are expected. If rainfall is less in the next season, forage demand will stay the same, while forage supply will decrease, leading to forage scarcity and drought. He stresses the importance of pro-active decision making (see schematic illustration below), saying it is important to decide as early as possible in the season how much forage can be expected and whether it will be enough for the animals present.
If forage will not be enough, pro-active de-stocking should take place to prevent forage shortages or drought instead of waiting for too long and then become re-active by trying to sell animals that are in a bad condition or approach government for drought support.
Kruger reminded those who were present that the three most important questions livestock farmers should ask are: When is it most likely to rain again so that new grass can grow, How much grass do I have at the end of the growing season and how much will cattle eat during the dormant period? “Over the first question of when it is most likely to rain again, the farmer has absolutely no control. The second question of how much grass the farmer will have at the end of the growing season, is to a large extent dependent on the rainfall received, but the farmer does have limited control over it to ensure that maximum forage is produced by creating a good perennial grass stand able to use available rainfall in the most effective manner. The third question is equally important and can easily be calculated by the farmer,” he informs.