Breeding objectives for in-situ conservation of indigenous Nguni cattle under low-input production systems in South Africa

Tada , Obert and Muchenje , Voster and Dzama, Kenedy (2013) Breeding objectives for in-situ conservation of indigenous Nguni cattle under low-input production systems in South Africa. ["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined] thesis, University of Fort Hare.

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the breeding objectives of in-situ conservation for communal Nguni cattle under low-input production systems. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 22 communal and 19 small-scale cattle enterprises to compare ownership patterns with respect to monetary value, cattle functions, herd dynamics, and reproductive efficiency of Nguni cattle. Nineteen communal Nguni cattle enterprises were used to determine the risk status class, effective population size (Ne), and inbreeding rate per generation (∆F) of communally-conserved Nguni cattle. Fifty-four representative farmers across enterprise ownership patterns were tasked to rank preferential traits of breeding indigenous Nguni cattle. A choice experiment was done to determine the economic weights of preferred trait levels by the farmers. Focus group discussions were used to derive the selection method and mating strategy of indigenous Nguni cattle. Descriptive statistics, χ2-tests of association and analyses of (co)variance were computed to ascertain the association between fixed factors, distribution of responses and determine significant factors affecting response variables. Nguni cattle across different enterprise ownership patterns were used for cash, meat and upgrading the herd. Farmers from communal enterprises perceived higher prices for open heifers, castrates and young cows than small-scale enterprises. Most farmers (67%) perceived Nguni cattle low-input production and in-situ conservation as profitable. Mortality rate was significantly lower (p<0.05) in small-scale (10.8%) than in communal enterprises (26.4%). Small-scale enterprises had lower inter-calving periods (16.0±1.10 months) than communal enterprises (22.7±1.07 months). The bulling rate was significantly higher in the communal (19.8±3.24%) enterprises than small-scale enterprises (13.9±5.22%). Seventy-four percent of the animals in the rural communities were of Nguni ancestry. The breed was classified as endangered-maintained. Effective population size (Ne) was higher in communal (19.5±4.60) than small-scale (14.1±5.03) enterprises. The increase in inbreeding co-efficient per generation (∆F) was significantly higher in small-scale (0.065±0.0143) than communal (0.053±0.0133) enterprises. The most preferred traits for breeding bulls were: aggression and mating behaviour (1.86), tick and disease resistance (1.90), and body condition score (2.69), while for breeding these cows were: tick and disease resistance (1.55), reproductive efficiency (2.02), and body condition score (3.14). Farmers indicated high economic weight on reproductive efficiency of the breeding animals followed by the adaptive characteristics. Farmers were willing to pay R37 939.00 (US$4 863.97) for a bull of high aggression and mating behaviour score and R17 185.00 (US$2 203.21) for a first parity cow of age less than 27 months. An “economic weight-dependent culling method” (EWCM) for each class of breeding animals and a “two-tier open nucleus mating strategy” were farmer-derived as the breeding objectives of conserving the indigenous Nguni cattle. Therefore, farmers are encouraged to adopt objective assessment procedures on breeding animals, implement performance data recording and penetrate the lucrative formal market. Keywords: Choice experiment, Economic weight-dependent culling, Enterprise ownership, Risk status classification, Two-tier open nucleus breeding scheme

Item Type: Thesis (["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined])
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Depositing User: Dr O Tada
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2013 10:33
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2013 10:33
URI: http://researchdatabase.ac.zw/id/eprint/303

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