Characterization of Cattle Production Systems in Nyagatare District of Eastern Province, Rwanda
Received Date: Dec 08, 2016 / Accepted Date: May 22, 2017 / Published Date: May 29, 2017
This study was conducted to characterize the cattle production systems in eastern province of Rwanda using pre-tested questionnaires, interviews as well as focus group discussions in a period of six months, despite all the interventions to improve livestock production in Rwanda, there is limited information/data available on the current status of cattle production systems, up-to-date information on challenges affecting the sector. The respondents were selected by multi-stage sampling technique at sector and cell levels, sample size were 360 farms. The result indicated that majority of farms (98.3%) were private owned by big families (five to seven members) and the majority (53.9%) of the farmers had only primary education. Most respondents 189 (52.6%) were in the age range 41-50 years. Most farms (48.3%) were located near trading centers. The farm size averaged 6.5 ± 0.8 arcs and most farms (64.7%) were fenced. Grazing on fenced farms (76%) was the main rearing system except in Rukomo sector (50%) where zero grazing prevailed. Natural pastures savanna grass land was the main feed resource tethering (9%) and communal grazing had diminished. Napier grass was the main planted forage (93.2%), followed by Chloris gayana (3.1%) and Brachiaria (1.2%). Legumes were rarely (2.5%) reported. Vitamin and salt blocks, hay and crop residues were the predominant supplementary feedstuffs. However maize and rice brans were reported to be the main feedstuffs used in supplementary feeding of lactating cows. Most farmers (89.7%) reported shortage of water as most of the farmers trekked their cattle to the nearest valley dam (59.2%), rivers (21.1%) and a few 6% had water on farms. Trypanosomiasis was most reported animal disease in sectors (Karangazi 85%, Rwemiyaga 82.8%). Tick borne diseases were not common rare (24.7%) while viral and mycoplasma diseases were hardly reported. Other methods of diseases control were vaccination, fencing (27.4%). The reported mean age at first calving (AFC) for Ankole cattle was 40.2 ± 0.3 months, calving interval and had the least mean milk yield of 2.4 ± 0.08 L. Higher calf mortality rate was reported. Majority of farmers (90.8%) never kept any records. Indigenous cattle were predominant (60.6%) followed by cross breed 24.8% and exotics 5.4% and all farmers kept small ruminants (goats, sheep, chicken and pigs). Natural breeding predominant (74.9%). In conclusion the main challenges were diseases, lack of breeding facilities, shortages of feeds, water, inadequate extension services. Farmers should adopt artificial insemination, improved pastures and introduce legumes in dairy nutrition, purchase diary meals and vita-mineral blocks for effective supplementation.
Keywords: Cattle rearing; Feeding; Breeding; Diseases; Records; Rwanda
Citation: Eugene M (2017) Characterization of Cattle Production Systems in Nyagatare District of Eastern Province, Rwanda. Rheol: open access 1: 107.
Copyright: © 2017 Eugene M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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