The age-old question of what to choose between quality and quantity when it comes to livestock farming has been on many people’s lips for decades.
A recent gathering of local farmers on Saturday, which included renowned livestock producers such as Albert Tjihero, Niklaas Mbingeneeko and others, might have answered this question.
The experienced farmers reckoned both quality and quantity are important for livestock producers. Simply put, one cannot go without the other if both profit making and subsistence farming is what the farmer is aiming for.
In stud farming, the emphasis is on getting the best quality of the breed and thereby obtaining optimum prices for the livestock.
Commercial farming on the other hand mainly profits in quantity and has to do with - amongst others - keeping on many animals to be able to sell off for profit when needed.
The one-day gathering, which was organised by local farming organisation - Otjitamba Tjoututa - sought to interrogate pertinent questions to livestock producers, and possibly pave a way forward to the challenges faced by the farmers.
Mbingeneeko told the gathering that even when one farms for quantity, it is important that the farmer keeps livestock that are of good quality.
He said vital traits that make up each breed should be present in the animals one farms with in order to reap the best results when selling the animals.
“Whatever you choose to farm with, quality must play a central role. You need to have animals that have a good appeal even to the person buying them when you eventually decide to sell.
“What the eye sees is very important, hence the need to breed your livestock in such a way that you keep going forward in the genetic composition of your livestock,” he said.
Tjihero, on the other hand, is of the opinion that a farmer that wants to venture into stud farming should do so gradually and not take it all up at once as doing so could be detrimental to his farming.
He said stud farming takes long before a farmer could start benefiting from livestock farming, hence the need to keep a kraal of commercial animals that would sustain the farmer during such transition.
“Its a long road before you could start reaping the fruits of stud farming. It does not happen overnight. It requires a lot of meticulous planning and execution. In the meantime, you have to feed yourself, as such you need to prepare for that well,” he said.
Various part-time farmers attended the event, which also saw presentations from Agribank and another on fighting fire in rangeland.
Corry Katjiru of ‘Otjitamba Tjoututa’ told AgriToday that such meetings are aimed at getting farmers together so they could draw lessons from each other.
He said the one-day event does well in serving farmers, especially those that are employed and hardly find time to attend other fully fledged programmes.
“We are aware that in farming, no one is a complete expert on all matters. Hence, we need each other. We all learn from each other and days such as this achieve that well,” he said.