Agriseeds to develop pasture seed varieties

partitioned wooden box filled with a variety of seeds and grains
LOCAL seed manufacturer, Agriseeds,  owned by South Africa’s ZAD Investment Limited,  intends to avail new seed varieties for pastures to complement Government’s Command Livestock Programme, recently approved by Cabinet.

Cabinet this year approved a special programme on livestock production expected to run for between three and five years. For the programme to succeed, stakeholders said, there was need for development of appropriate pastures.

Agriseeds’ latest intervention is in line with Government’s call for local livestock producers to focus on efficiency. Nutrition is a key component of an animals’ well-being and research says up to 70 percent of the full developed livestock is determined by nutrition while the balance is determined by the animal’s breed.

Improved animal nutrition is expected to go a long way in better carcass weight, which stands at a lowly 165 kilograms per beast against Government’s target of 200 kg.

Agriseeds director Ivan Craig told The Herald Business that there is a gap in terms of availability of nutritious pasture, hence current efforts to boost production.

“We are pushing as Agriseeds to make sure the fundamentals are right before the programme starts being rolled out. We are looking at supplying seed and technical expertise to boost production of pastures across all cattle breeding regions.

“We are going to dispatch a team to assist farmers on plant management and the value addition that goes around it and also issues around hay bales,” said Mr Craig.

“I have moved around the country talking to stakeholders on the need to come up with the right varieties of pastures to boost livestock production,” Mr Craig said.

He has held meetings with Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister (responsible for livestock) Paddy Zhanda over the matter.

According to Ernest Derembwe, a research technician with the Research Station of Marondera, there are grass varieties with as high as 21 percent crude protein content while some veld varieties have crude protein content as low as eight percent.

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