Farmers schooled on cattle care

30 October 2019 | Local News

The Northwest Division chief veterinarian, Dr Kennedy Shoombe, has urged northern livestock farmers to take good care of their cattle in order to make sure that they are in good health.

He urges them to learn when to vaccinate for which diseases, when to deworm, which supplements to give their livestock and in what amounts.

Shoombe was speaking at a meeting at Omundaungilo in Ohangwena with Namibian farmers whose cattle graze in Angola. The meeting was attended by hundreds of farmers and international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah was a main speaker.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said the majority of Namibian cattle are found north of the veterinary cordon fence (VCF), in what is known as the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) which consist of the nine northern regions of Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Kavango East, Otjozondjupa and Zambezi.

This area is prone to cattle diseases.

“Due to international regulations on cattle sickness, this area where many cattle are found is unfortunately also where many cases of cattle sickness and diseases are being reported.

“The government is trying by all means to control cattle sickness through free annual vaccinations. The aim is to make sure that we are keeping healthy animals,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

Most of the farmers in the NCA are part-time, subsistence farmers on communal land. They do not do much to control livestock diseases.

“Many of the diseases that affect your cattle are common and can be treated, but because you do not make an effort to treat them, they end up killing your cattle. Whenever your cattle are sick, visit our Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) offices so that we can recommend drugs for you,” Dr Shoombe said.

“The DVS annually administers free vaccinations in the NCA, but these vaccinations are for specific diseases and not just for any disease. For our animals to stay healthy, we must know when, why and what to vaccinate. We must also make sure we deworm.”

Shoombe also told farmers that they must always provide supplementary calcium and phosphorus licks, both in times of good grazing and in drought, to make sure that their cattle are strong.

“Other farmers south of the VCF supplement their cattle with calcium and phosphorus throughout the year, but for you here you may only supplement your cattle when its drought. Calcium is one of the main components of bone and so is an important but often overlooked factor in achieving proper growth in young cattle, while phosphorus has been shown to increase fertility, calving rates and calf growth rates,” he said.