For small-scale farmers in rural communities, access to primary animal healthcare can be limited. This leaves their livestock at the risk of reduced production or even death. AfriVet director Vuyo Makapela, speaking on the Farmer’s Inside Track farming podcast, recommends that these farmers take their animals to communal dip tanks in order to prevent disease.
“Ticks and other external parasites, which cause direct damage to our valuable livestock as well as transmit diseases such as red water, heart water and gall sickness, are the most important causes of loss in production and even death in our livestock herds,” he says. “Controlling them through properly managed dipping thus has a positive economic and welfare impact on our animals and our communities.”
Makapela says that an additional advantage of using communal dip tanks is that farmers will have the health of their animals properly observed. “This is important as early detection of diseases is the most important factor in determining the speed and extent of recovery from any disease or parasitic condition.”
The need for communal dip tanks cannot be underestimated, and the location of those tanks play an important role in how effective they are. Makapela emphasises that the tanks, while government-funded, are a community benefit that farmers need to look after. “Because it is an asset, farmers have the responsibility of looking after it for their own benefit.”
Makapela explains that, for tanks to be effective, they need to be built close to a water source. Dip tanks require between 1000 to 1500 litres of water to work. However, the tanks should not be built too close to a river if the animals are required to cross that river, as the dip may simply be washed off. Most importantly, she says that the dip tank needs to be in a central place where farmers do not need to travel too far to access it.
“The most important factor to remember here is that when building a new dip tank, it is important to build it closer and central to the villages that would be serviced by that particular dip tank to ensure that there is minimum walking by the owners and animals.”
Read more about AfriVET and their dip tank project in the Eastern Cape here.
Other podcast highlights:
This week’s Farmer’s Inside Track farmer podcast also has other highlights from the agricultural sector:
- How to start an olive farm: The versatility of olives makes this type of farming very attractive – but like any other commodity, you’ll need to know the ropes. Journalist Nicole Ludolph chats to Western Cape olive farmer Briony Coetsee, who exports from her farm in Robertson.
- Farmer’s tip of the week: Our farmer tip of the week comes from Limpopo livestock farmer Michael Makwela.
- Book of the week: Our book of the week is This Farming Life by Tim Saunders. The farmer-author describes his life through the seasons. Our Sinelizwi citizen journalist of the year Terri-Ann Brouwers reviews this book.
- Animal Nutrition: Technical manager at Voermol Feeds, Dr Francois van de Vyver, joins us again to talk animal nutrition. Plus, we give away another R1000 Voermol voucher to a lucky listener.
- Soil Sistas: This week’s #SoilSista powered by Food For Mzansi and Corteva Agriscience is Gauteng poultry farmer Alisha Kalicharan. Her business is starting to flourish, despite adversity.
- Farmer Development: Covid-19 has forced farming businesses to get creative in order to survive. FarmSol boss Aron Kole talks to us about their pandemic strategies.
How to listen to Farmer’s Inside Track farmer’s podcast
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