So, you want to start cattle farming but you have no idea what equipment you will need? It can be a confusing endeavour to start out with, especially if you are a novice at farming, to begin with, but following a simple list of essential equipment can help to make this a simple process. Outlined below is some of the equipment you will need for cattle farming.
Troughs, barley beef feeders, cattle feed trailers, calf creep feeders, feed bins and high-density feeders are all options you could look into. You should also look for a used feed mixer for sale in South Africa to save on costs.
Be sure that if you are using troughs, you have enough for the number of cattle that you have, and research what food is an optimal choice. An easy way to keep your cattle fed is to allow them to graze in pastures, as this saves you from having to rely too heavily on feeding equipment. Natural grazing as a feeding technique can also help to eliminate soil erosion and other damage to the ground.
Water troughs are usually made from galvanised steel and are vital to keeping any form of livestock on your farm. You will be able to find watering troughs in a variety of sizes to fit your the size of your herd.
Using wooden watering troughs is not advisable, as it can become unhygienic and difficult to clean properly. If you want to save water in difficult times, you should invest in a rain catchment tank and use this water for your cattle. Be sure that it is fitted with a sieve so no debris can collect in the water, or you could build a pond in the pasture where your cattle grazes so they have access to water no matter where they are.
A shed for sleeping and cold days
Keeping your cattle warm, dry and sheltered is important for any successful livestock farmer. You could look into an open-sided, single slope roof shed for your cattle, as this is one of the easiest structures to build, and provides suitable shelter for both hot and cold weather.
Open sheds should face the south for winter sun and block the prevailing winds. If you are looking for something more solid, an open-sided, clear span pole shed is a viable option. It provides more space for equipment and any side of the building can be open to the environment. Be sure that both structures have sloped roofs so that hail, snow and rainwater will run off of them and not collect and cause leakages in the roof.
Cattle crates or crushes
Cattle crates are cages which are used for holding cattle still when you are examining, treating or branding the animals. This is an important piece of equipment to have as it is near-impossible to make a cow or bull stand still while you are examining or branding them.
You will find that cattle crates or crushes are made from steel and are available in a variety of sizes to fit any farm needs. The main purpose of these crates is to ensure the safety of both the person treating the animal and the animal itself. It can become dangerous if a distressed cow or bull is not restrained, leading to injury for both parties.
Cattle handling system
A cattle handling system is often used in conjunction with a cattle crate, and is made up of hurdles and gates made of metal which is often galvanised. These structures are used to keep cattle in a holding area before they are moved to the treatment area.
A cattle handling system and a cattle crate are joined together by a structure called a working chute, which allows the cattle to walk from one structure to another without running free. A cattle handling system does not have to be permanent, and you can erect it every time you need to move your cattle. This can be tedious, however, so you could keep it as a permanent fixture on your land.
Weighing your cattle is important, as knowing their weights will allow you to know whether they are healthy or not. Weighing platforms are popular choices for cattle farmers, but you will find that there are other options you can use too.
You can use pallet beams on your weighing platform to create cattle scales, or place flat boards on top of this to weigh smaller animals such as sheep or goats. A floor scale is a convenient option, as you do not have to lift animals onto the scale but simply walk them onto it. This is ideal for using in a pen or in a cattle crate. A pen-type scale can give a highly detailed analysis about the weight of the animal, and will not slip as there is a mat placed on the bottom of the scale to remedy this problem.
Running a cattle farm may sound like a daunting undertaking, but if you have the right equipment it can be a rewarding experience. The very first pieces of equipment you will need are feeding equipment and watering equipment. Be sure that you have enough for however much cattle you will be keeping. You will need to erect a suitable shelter for your cattle and have the right equipment to house the animals before and during treatments, branding or vaccinations.