Recovery And Regeneration Of A Livestock Farm After The Drought

Stockfarm|May 2020

Recovery And Regeneration Of A Livestock Farm After The Drought
Drought, especially when prolonged, causes a drastic decline in available veld, livestock numbers and the finances of a livestock farm. Once the drought has been broken, livestock farmers are left with the question as to which practices will be best to repair drought damage and restore the farm to its former glory.
Dr Louis du Pisani

The conundrum most farmers struggle with is what comes first – veld, livestock or finances? The answer is simple. All three should be restored simultaneously as they are interdependent. However, implementing a recovery plan at all three levels is not that simple.

Precision farming and sustainability

The key guidelines in the process of recovery and regeneration, are precision farming and sustainability. The process should be carried out against the backdrop of the following recommendations:

• The ‘patient’ is in ‘intensive care’ and requires action that produces results from the onset. There is no time for playing games, experimenting or making the wrong decisions. Although sometimes bitter, the medicine is essential.

• Seek the advice of a multidisciplinary team consisting of a grazing expert, livestock expert and agricultural economist. Their first task should be determining the farm’s ‘morbidity’, followed by a treatment plan or turnaround strategy. Having a plan is crucial. It is all well and good to hope for the best, but without a strategy it remains a gamble.

• Decisions must be based on facts. It requires proper planning, level-headedness, good judgment and self-discipline. There is no room for outdated, flawed farming habits, sentiment, emotion or impulsiveness.

• It is a time-consuming process. There are no quick fixes.

• The turnaround strategy during the recovery and regeneration process requires a farmer’s full attention. Adjustments must be made timeously, when needed.

The deficiencies of poor veld

Veld that is in excellent condition is one of the profit drivers of a livestock farming enterprise. Compared to good veld, veld in poor condition has four deficiencies. These are:

• Less water in the soil profile (with the same rainfall) and drier soil.

• Plants that produce less roughage with the same amount of water

• Roughage of poorer quality.

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May 2020