In calf fattening business, calves are raised on nutritionally balanced feed to get targeted weight gain in a specified time. These calves are grown in groups and each batch stays on farm for a period of 120 days. The expected live body weight gain ranges between 700 – 850 grams/day. Higher yields are achievable with better farm management, and by selecting better quality breeds. Calves are raised in rural and semi-urban areas and sold in urban markets normally in livestock markets (Mandies).
Cattle farming & calf fattening farm that is suggested in this article is based on raising 180 calves per year at the farm premises. The calves, preferably males, between 9-12 months of age, are fed on nutritionally balanced concentrate ration or Total Mixed Ration (TMR) as major source of energy and protein for a period of 120 days to get higher body weight gain. Live weight of these calves is around 100 kg. If these calves are fed properly on formulated fattening feed, an additional weight up to 96-100 kg can be achieved. The daily weight gain varies between 700 to 850 grams depending on the quality of feed given to them. The subject business can be set-up at any appropriate location with easy availability of fodder and water. There is a year-round market, however, the demand increases before occasions like Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. On these occasions, well fed animals are sold at premium price higher than usual weight based price.
Metropolitan cities like Lahore, Multan, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Ziarat, Peshawar, D.I. Khan etc. are major markets of meat. The rural and peri-urban areas around these and other major cities across the country with abundant water and availability of fodder make a better choice for such farming; provided access to livestock mandies and veterinary services is ensured.
Apart from Sialkot, Jhang, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal in the Punjab, livestock markets in peri-urban locations of all cities of other provinces such as Karachi, Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Larkana, Dadu, Qila saifullah, Panjgur, Pishin, Quetta, Bannu, Laki Marwat, Kohat, Peshawar are primary markets, in addition to specially arranged locations for larger cities during Eid festival in the urban markets. Normally animals are sold on ‘Live Body Weight’ basis; the price of fattened calves varies according to animals’ health and market conditions. Following are some of the target clients for farmers;
Calf Fattening Procedure in Pakistan
Selection of animals based on breed and age: There is no beef breed developed in country. It is recommended that calves (preferably male) of local cattle breeds such as Sahiwal, Cholistani and Red Sindhi may be selected, however, calves of Tharparkar, Rojhan, Dhanni, Lohani, Bhagnari may also be considered for fattening purpose. For sacrificial purpose, the cross bred calves of Brahaman, Angus and Charolais etc. are also considered. The Sahiwal and Cholistani male calves are raised for good meat production and dressing percentage i.e. 55%. After fattening, the fat to muscle composition is also acceptable. The carcass weight is desirable by meat traders and exporters.
Selection of animals with excellent body score and health conditions: initial live body weight should be around 100 kgs at 9-12 months of age. Little emaciated animals may also be accepted for fattening as research shows that these animals respond efficiently in terms of feed efficiency.
Housing: A good housing leads to good management practices and ultimately optimum production. Generally, housing should be:
- Less expensive
- Well ventilated, comfortable and dry with hygienic environment
- Easy drainage and removal of dung urine and waste material
- Protective from extreme environmental conditions
- Maximum sun exposure: axis of length to be east to west
- Availability of feed and water for 24 hours
- Planed so that future expansion may be possible when required
Feeding: Adequate weight gain through the use of balanced feed purchased from well reputed companies or formulated accordingly. Animal should be fed Total Mixed Ration (TMR) @ 3-3.5 % of live body weight. Additionally, urea molasses blocks and salt blocks can help in better daily weight gains. Green fodder is offered at 5% of body weight (wet basis) to every animal.
Watering: Daily supply of clean drinking water in clean troughs i.e. 15 to 20 liters of water consumption/animal/day maintains the production capacity of the animal. Due to TMR and salt offered, animal tends to consume more water.
Disease management: De-worming for endoparasitic infestations is necessary in each batch shortly after arrival at farm. Timely vaccination against infectious diseases should be done as a prophylactic measure. At a well managed farm, mortality should not exceed 2-3 % per year in the fattened animals.
Record keeping for each batch: The animals should be ear tagged on arrival at the farm. The information to be recorded includes breed of animal, initial live weight of animal, age of animals, date of purchase etc. The records for regular weight gain, medication and de-worming etc. are also important.
Culling: Selection of good productive animals and regular culling of uneconomical animal.
Regular technical assistance from the livestock professionals and experts.