Farmers' perceptions of the causes of low reproductive performance in cows kept under low-input communal production systems in South Africa
Tropical Animal Health and Production
Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa
The objective of the study was to determine farmers' perceptions of the causes of low reproductive performance in Nguni cows raised on communal rangelands in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Data were collected using participatory rural appraisals and structured questionnaires that were administered to 551 randomly selected farmers from ten communities in the Eastern Cape. Cattle herd sizes ranged from 3 to 11 and were mainly composed of cows. Cattle sales were ranked as the most important use of cattle in all the villages. Tick-borne diseases and poor animal condition were reported as chief constraints of cattle production in most communities. More than 60% of the interviewees reported that the age at puberty and age at first calving for their cows varied between 18 and 36, and 24 and 48 months, respectively. About 95% of the respondents reported long calving intervals and low bull numbers as major causes of low reproductive performance in cows in the communal areas. It was concluded that farmers perceived delayed age at puberty and at first calving, long calving intervals and low bull numbers as the major causes of low reproductive performance in Nguni cows raised on communal rangelands in South Africa. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
agriculture; animal; article; cattle; female; information processing; occupation; physiology; pregnancy; questionnaire; reproduction; sexual maturation; South Africa; Agriculture; Animals; Cattle; Data Collection; Female; Occupations; Pregnancy; Questionnaires; Reproduction; Sexual Maturation; South Africa; Animalia; Bos; Ixodida