Running a farm takes a lot. A lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of patience as some the harvest some years is good and many others is not. Did you know that some estimates say that it takes over $5 million in capital to start a farm?
If you’re starting a farm, inheriting one, or just beginning to work on an existing farm, you’ll soon learn how important livestock management is. Whether you’re raising pigs, cows, goats, chickens, or all of the above, you need to manage your animals properly to yield the best results.
Read on for some livestock management basics.
Don’t Shun Technology
If you’ve always done things one way, it’s hard to change, especially when it’s going from old-school pen and paper methods to ones that use technology. However, if you want to remain relevant and manage your livestock efficiently, don’t shun technology just because it’s new.
Things like livestock scales and imaging tools allow you to monitor your animals, such as cattle, remotely. By monitoring their weight, you can adjust your feeding schedules and patterns using empirical data. This also helps with things like breeding or keeping an eye on their general health.
Genomics is another tool that can be used in livestock management. Animal genomics involves looking at the genetic makeup of a living animal to understand how breeding will impact the profitability of the herd and future livestock. This allows farmers to select the best animals for breeding.
Things like livestock markers can also help you identify, separate, and select your animals for breeding and health monitoring.
Disease prevention is of utmost importance. A disease or illness could quickly take out a large number of your animals. Things you can do to prevent disease or illness include limiting the amount of human food you feed them. Cows, for example, do better if they can graze in pastures with high fiber content.
If your animals are not local to the area, they may not have the immune system to fight off certain illnesses, so keep this in mind if you import cattle.
Feed Them a Nutritious Diet
What you feed your livestock will of course depend on what you are raising them for and what type of animal they are. For example, if you are raising cows, more variation in their feed and less red meat typically has a positive impact on milk and meat production.
Pigs also need a variable diet, and while they will eat pretty much anything, there are certain foods to avoid with them, such as milk, fish, sweets, fruits, potatoes, and cracked corn. Their nutritional needs also vary depending on how old they are and what size they are.
Livestock Management for the Budding Farmer
Learning how to farm, including livestock management, may have a steep learning curve, especially if you are new to farming. Utilize all the resources available to you to make your farm run efficiently and turn a profit.
If you found these tips helpful, be sure to explore some of our other articles. We’ve got everything under the sun.