Performance of indigenous beef cattle under two management systems at Pokuase, Ghana
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Animal Research Institute, PO Box AH20, Achimota, Ghana
A study was conducted to investigate the performance of a mixture of N'dama x West African Shorthorn (WASH) cattle (6 to 15 weeks old) raised under a traditional management system and an improved system (cut and carry plus supplementation with agro-industrial byproducts) at the Pokuase Research Station of the Animal Research Institute, Ghana, from March 2006 to February 2007. The performance parameters studied were live weight change, feed intake and the economics of production. Calves on the improved system outperformed (P = 0.001) those on the traditional system in terms of live weight gain. Calves in both treatment groups performed at par in terms of live weight change till the first week in September after which those in the traditional system slowed down comparatively. Those on the improved system exhibited a relatively steady gain in live weight. Revenue measured in terms of the product of live weight gain and the prevailing market price per kilogram live weight was higher for the improved system resulting in an overall higher gross margin for the improved system. Nevertheless, considering the return on investment farmers may be tempted to continue using the traditional system. N'dama x WASH calves could be raised indoors under improved nutrition and management practices to enhance live weight gain. This work thus provides a window for landless livestock farmers in creating wealth; as animals could be raised in confinement with some return on investment.