As a communal farmer near the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands town of Ixopo, Thabo Cele understands his responsibility in helping his cattle get through winter in reasonable comfort and good health.
“Since I was a kid there were cattle and goats at home, but now I can say I am the one who is responsible for them,” says Cele, beaming with pride.
At 21, he is not only an inspiration to other young farmers in Mzansi, but also a pillar of strength to the promising pockets of small-scale farming in Highflats. Cele means serious business, and also recently graduated from the Cedara College of Agriculture.
In Ixopo, farmers have come to rely on the Voermol Protein Block to strengthen their cattle, especially before and during the cold winter months.
The Protein Block supplies them with protein, minerals and vitamin A, and the product is specially developed for cattle and sheep which are on protein-deficient pasture or are being fed roughage.
“Winter is coming now and the grass quality is dropping. The protein level in the grass is dropping. You need a mineral supplement, so the cattle can get some protein and minerals to balance their diet,” says Cele.
Cows and winter nutrition
He is a firm believer that winter nutrition and environment management will help to maintain a cow’s core body temperature, keeping cows warm from the inside out. Also, he has learnt that, typically, a cow’s feed increases by as much as 20% during the cold winters.
According to Cele the Voermol Protein Block is in a ready-to-use form and also quite easy to handle. He explains that he can only truly grow his herd if his animals are in a good condition.
“I have a small number of cattle but I want to grow it, so I need them to be able to reproduce. If the cattle are not getting enough minerals in their diet during winter, they are less likely to reproduce. That means my herd will grow slower than I want it to grow.”
The Protein Block is his secret weapon in reaching greater farming success.
“It helps with maintaining my cattle’s condition. I farm communally, which means my herd goes and mixes with other people’s cattle. During winter, my cattle does not experience a drop in condition as severely, compared to others in the area. That means they reproduce earlier in the season than the other cattle around.”
Molasses to the rescue
As the country goes deeper into winter, Cele plans to also add the Voermol Molasses meal to his herd’s diet. Experts say it contains a high level of B vitamins, trace minerals, and reduces the separation of feed and licks. It can also be used as a partial substitute for grain.
Cele says that the positive effects of the protein block on his cattle has eased his mind somewhat. “When winter is gone, there’s not the stress of improving their condition first and then going into reproduction.“
Win R1 000 Voermol product voucher
This week, one lucky Food For Mzansi fan can stand a chance to win a Voermol product voucher worth R1 000 (excl. VAT).
To enter the lucky draw, simply WhatsApp us on 081 889 9032 with details about your favourite Voermol product and the difference it makes on your farm. Hurry, entries close on Monday, 24 May 2021 at 15:00. The winner will be announced in the 26 May 2021-edition of Farmer’s Inside Track. T’s and C’s apply.