Rains Bring Bonus for Livestock

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By Petronella Sibeene ARANOS The heavy rains that have fallen in most parts of Namibia might not only bring about good crop harvests at the end of the season but plenty of grass for animals to graze as well. Animal Health Technician in the Aranos area, Charmaine Kauami indicated that this year, farmers would not struggle with animal feed, as there was plenty of grazing. Kauami told New Era that unlike in the past where rains would be insufficient, the heavy rains this year have supported grass growth. “Grazing this year will be good and the animals are also in good health.” Aranos area, surrounded by about 200 farms, is characterised by agro-economic and socio-economic diversity and its main activity is goat and sheep farming. During previous years, farmers were forced to leave the settlement for other areas in search of grazing. Last year, good grass was sparse because of insufficient rains. The existing shrubs also dried up early, resulting in animals going hungry in places. This situation forced many farmers to sell most of their animals, as they were afraid of losing them to hunger. “Most farmers who had for example 1 500 animals lost about 900 due to drought,” she confirmed. Apart from good pastures, this year promises fewer diseases that come with drought. Diseases such as Pasteurella and Botulism might be rare. The two diseases are usually caused by lack of the element phosphate, which is absent in dry grass. Though she could not provide statistics on reported cases of the diseases last year, Kauami said generally the animals are in good condition. Cases of ticks are also rare this time. “The health of small stock is better compared to last year. My office has not yet received any complaints from farmers,” she confirmed. Usually, farmers facing problems that are animal related contact the veterinary office but according to the animal health technician, no such calls for advice have been received.