Nutrition food

This farmer learned a hard lesson in livestock nutrition

Winter is no longer a stressful time for this part-time KwaZulu-Natal farmer. Since he introduced Voermol’s molasses meal to his cattle, their condition has improved. He tells us, “This keeps my cows very strong and in good condition. “

Sipho Shibe always wanted to farm with cattle. However, shortly after deciding to take the plunge in 2016, one of his calves died. It was a great wake-up call that taught him valuable lessons about managing the nutrition of his animals.

Based in Magabeni Township, outside Umkomaas in KwaZulu-Natal, Shibe is now working to expand his farming business. He cultivates cattle and sheep and has also recently managed to secure additional land in a nearby area.

“When I started, I bought two calves in Pietermaritzburg in 2016,” says Shibe. “I learned a lot from my surviving calf. It became a big bull, and I got attached to it. We were very close so that when I was driving he followed me. That’s when I fell in love [with livestock farming] and that’s how I started with cows and sheep.

Shibe now operates over a dozen animals.  Photo: Supplied / Food for Mzansi
Shibe now operates over a dozen animals. Photo: Supplied / Food for Mzansi

Shibe then sold the bull to a friend of his for R10,000 and ended up buying a “beautiful Beefmaster heifer” instead.

Part-time farmer hungry for land

At the moment, Shibe is a part-time farmer. While his ultimate plan is to grow full-time with lots of animals, he’s limited due to space.

“The only factor that keeps me from growing up is space. I live in a small town and had about 12 Damara cows and 18 sheep. But, because of [a lack of] space, I had to sell some. Now [that I have] a rural location in Amakhosi land, I will move all my [remaining] cattle there. But I still struggle to put [up] a [farming] structure.”

For Shibe, it is certainly not all sunshine and roses. He had sold four of his cows and eight of his sheep, and two more cows have since died. However, these challenges do not dampen his enthusiasm for agriculture. He had always loved animals. “I always wanted to have my own breeding business. I always wanted to do it for my family.

Molasses to the rescue

Meanwhile, Shibe learns valuable lessons about animal nutrition. He discovered that winters were particularly harsh on his animals. There is no food they can graze on, and he had to make sure they get the nutrients they need to stay alive.

He goes on to explain, “I obviously had to feed my animals to make sure they didn’t lose a lot of weight and starve. [In winter], they really need those nutrients and proteins, etc.

The bull that started it all.  Photo: Supplied / Food for Mzansi
The bull that started it all. Photo: Supplied / Food for Mzansi

This is the reason why he decided to introduce Voermol products in the diet of his animals. Shibe is particularly fond of the molasses meal, which provides his animals with much-needed nutrients.

READ ALSO: The Mbense brothers keep the cattle in great shape with Voermol

The product is added to the feed or to the lick to make it more palatable, as well as to improve its texture and appearance. Molasses meal is also a good partial substitute for grains and is suitable for dairy cattle, feeder cattle, sheep, goats and even ostriches.

“Molasses is my favorite,” says Shibe.

“It’s a very good energy supplement and it keeps my cows very strong and in good condition. The cows are healthy, so they produce more and they also have enough milk for their calves.

“It’s the whole point of giving them Voermol products because I want them to be healthy. I want to help them with essential nutrients, especially in the winter when the nutrients in the grass are cut down.

ALSO READ: Every young farmer should know about “chocolate corn”

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