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Central University of Technology, Free State (2000)

An integrated system of growth trait improvement in beef cattle under communal management conditions

Mulaudzi, James

Titre : An integrated system of growth trait improvement in beef cattle under communal management conditions

Auteur : Mulaudzi, James

Université de soutenance : Central University of Technology, Free State

Grade : MAGISTER TECHNOLOGIAE : AGRICULTURE 2000

Résumé
In the past, indigenous cattle in South Africa (SA) were mainly used as foundation stock for upgrading with Bos taurus cattle, which were thought to be superior. These attempts failed in the tropics and subtropics and attention was focused on the development of various indigenous cattle breeds (Kars, Erasmus & Van der Westhuizen, 1994). The introduction of new breeds, in an attempt to improve the indigenous breeds has become a common practice. This has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of pure indigenous cattle. The Nguni and Afrikaner represent the two indigenous Sanga cattle breeds of South Africa, with Pedi described as a relative or variant of Nguni. Presently, commercial beef producers are showing renewed interest in the indigenous breeds, especially Nguni, owing to growth and favourable reproduction characteristics under adverse conditions such as drought and parasite burdens. Indigenous cattle play an important roe in the traditional subsistence style of farming. Milk production for sale and household consumption is of overriding importance. Draft power and manure is of major importance to farmers. Meat production may have to be considered as a by-product until such time as marketing and price infrastructure have been developed to increase the economic motivation to produce meat for increased income. In the recent past, lobola was a system used to move cattle from one herd to another, thus preventing inbreeding. Cattle are also used as some form of savings and as an insurance against unforeseen events. Although genetic improvement of traditional livestock may not necessarily be the top priority for improving their productivity, the introduction of new breeds may provide the trigger and focal point for other developmental changes that could contribute more to overall productivity than the new breed per se. The breed to be inttoduced should lead to a medium-term improvement in productivity and should have s· )a to environmental stress than indigenous breeds. The possible advantage of crossing local African breeds is that there would be little or no loss of resistance to environmental stress. The objective of this study is to develop an integrated system of growth trait improvement under communal management conditions. Matters of great concern include body measurements to improve markets for cattle and to develop baseline data for future intervention programmes.

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