We work on primary health care with cattle farmers and this includes managment and breed. 

The Msinga Nguni Project.

 

In 2003 The farmers of the Msinga/Weenen land reform area had already started looking at what options were available to them as land reform beneficiaries and stock owners. A severe drought in the same year killed many cattle in the area and set the seed for a Nguni project.

The farmers from various land reform farms and neighbouring areas approached MRDP to link them with Department Agriculture people that could provide assistance.   On approaching the Department we were invited to visit the Dundee research station which had a Nguni herd.

After further linking and meetings with officials and farmers we requested a retired bull from the Research station to try out the idea of having a captive bull that farmers could bring cows to.

Farmers then went through a process of selecting the cattle in their kraals with the strongest Nguni like traits as the whole process was aiming to improve their local herds gene pool. These were kept at the project site and farmers paid the herders a goat a year for the cattle to be kept there.


Nguni they called him when he arrived in October 2005. One of ancient stock.  An aristocrat. He arrived with a singular disability, however. He had no horns. The difficulties showed themselves immediately. He had to curb his instincts, surrounded as he was by local bulls and oxen. All fully armed with fine sets of horns.  In time Nguni solved the problem his own way. He learnt to operate at night in the privacy of the kraal. And sired 15 calves for the local farmers.

Nguni arrives in Msinga

 New younger blood was necessary as the farmers become more interested so the farmers requested a second Bull from Department Agriculture . And so Sulumlomo (wipe your mouth from the white ring round his mouth that looked like an African Beer moustache)  arrived much younger with horns and attitude.

 Sulumlomo with one of Makoti’s

 20 calves  have been sired by him and this part of the programme continues.

Many visits and sharing’s have happened with these farmers the Department and other farmers who are interested in livestock improvement. The next phase of the project  is now under discussion and the farmers want to approach the department with a proposal to swop out cattle they have, preferably non Nguni bulls, for pure bred Nguni cows so as to improve their own herds but more importantly be able to ascertain how the Nguni pure –bred’s and their offspring compete or fare against their part Nguni hybrids.

We as MRDP support this as we have been able to test livestock in real conditions and bring back real recommendations from the field.

The Msinga Nguni farmers promote the Nguni breed actively by talking from experience at dips and livestock association meetings and are actively involved in on farm experimentation with us as an NGO and have invited the Department and its staff to share in the research and further and future shared learning.

 They are also involved in a winter forage scheme to try alleviate scarcity of winter grazing and a animal health project to promote better herd health.

 Farmers practice with a weight band to promote proper dosages being used

We have researched, produced and printed a weight girth band for Nguni/indigenous cattle in partnership with the Department Agriculture. This is to assist with promoting proper dosing of rural farmers cattle.

The weight band regression for people wanting to make their own.

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A picture of an example of the weight band.

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