Matopos Research Institute

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Matopos Research Institute

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

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Homann-Kee Tui S.,International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics ICRISAT | Valbuena D.,International Center for Tropical Agriculture | Valbuena D.,Wageningen University | Masikati P.,International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics ICRISAT | And 6 more authors.
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2015

In complex mixed crop-livestock systems with limited resources and biomass scarcity, crop residues play an important but increasingly contested role. This paper focuses on farming systems in the semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe, where biomass production is limited and farmers integrate crop and livestock activities. Conservation Agriculture (CA) is promoted to intensify crop production, emphasizing the retention of surface mulch with crop residues (CR). This paper quantifies the associated potential economic trade-offs and profitability of using residues for soil amendment or as livestock feed, and explores alternative biomass production options. We draw on household surveys, stakeholder feedback, crop, livestock and economic modeling tools. We use the Trade-Off Analysis Model for Multi Dimensional Impact Assessment (TOA-MD) to compare different CR use scenarios at community level and for different farm types: particularly the current base system (cattle grazing of maize residues) and sustainable intensification alternatives based on a CA option (mulching using maize residues norganic fertilizer) and a maize-mucuna (Mucuna pruriens) rotation. Our results indicate that a maize-mucuna rotation can reduce trade-offs between CR uses for feed and mulch, providing locally available organic soil enhancement, supplementary feed and a potential source of income. Conservation Agriculture without fertilizer application and at non-subsidized fertilizer prices is not financially viable whereas with subsidized fertilizer it can benefit half the farm population. The poverty effects of all considered alternative biomass options are however limited; they do not raise income sufficiently to lift farmers out of poverty. Further research is needed to establish the competitiveness of alternative biomass enhancing technologies and the socio-economic processes that can facilitate sustainable intensification of mixed crop-livestock systems, particularly in semi-arid environments. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Nkomboni D.,Matopos Research Institute | Sisito G.,Matopos Research Institute | van Rooyen A.,ICRISAT Bulawayo | Homann-Kee Tui S.,ICRISAT Bulawayo | And 2 more authors.
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2014

Despite the importance and opportunities that cattle present to smallholder farmers, their productivity remains low. High mortality and low fertility mainly caused by feed and health related factors are the reasons of low cattle productivity in semi-arid Zimbabwe. Mortality is unproductive as cattle that die, die with the feed that they eat. As most of the rain water is used for feed production through transpiration, mortality wastes it and lowers livestock water productivity (LWP). In this study we characterize the existing situation of feed, health, herd size and assess the impact of mortality and fertility on cattle production in semi-arid western Zimbabwe. The data were collected using household surveys and participatory rural appraisals (PRAs). Farmers were categorized into poor and better-off cattle keepers'wealth groups. A simulation approach using the DynMod model was applied to evaluate the extent livestock production and LWP can be improved by reducing mortality and increasing fertility of cattle from the wealth groups. Mortality was relatively high amongst the different classes of stock with an overall mortality rate of 0.17. Fertility was low with parturition rate of 0.48 on average. The projection of the current system showed a decline in cattle numbers for the poor and better-off farmers. For better-off farmers' cattle, mortality rate in absolute terms was higher than the poor farmers' cattle. Complex management with larger herds could be the reason for this trend. Reducing the mortality while increasing parturition rates improved cattle production for both poor cattle farmers and better-off cattle farmers despite the introduction of droughts after every 5years.We observed that as feed consumption increases with cattle numbers, the LWP index also increases. This results in effective utilization of feed resources. Addressing livestock management needs to be intensified as it was noted as an area of concern to address mortality and fertility challenges. Most farmers (64%) graze their crop residues in situ reducing fodder utilization. None of the farmers grow improved legumes and cereal forages for animal feeding during the dry season. Whereas, it was evident that feed shortages did not directly result in mortality except during prolonged drought when their immunity is compromised. Improving the extension services and better access to information, inputs and technologies on cattle production could have a strong impact on improving cattle productivity.


Tshabalala T.,Midlands State University | Tshabalala T.,University of Witwatersrand | Sikosana J.L.N.,Matopos Research Institute | Chivandi E.,Midlands State University | Chivandi E.,University of Witwatersrand
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2013

Polyethylene glycol (PEG 4000), Browse Plus™ (BP), wood ash (WA) and boiling water were evaluated as tannin deactivation methods on tannins in Acacia nilotica fruits. Twenty four Matebele goats of mean body mass, 38.7 ± 3.12 kg, were used in a digestibility and nitrogen balance trial. A completely randomized design was used, and the initial weight was used as a covariate in data analysis. The goats were randomly allocated to the treatments and were fed for 28 days on a basal diet of hay and A. nilotica fruits treated with PEG (MW 4000), BP, WA or boiling water. Acacia nilotica fruits had 4.39% catechin equivalents of condensed tannins, thus the amount of PEG, BP and WA used to treat the fruits was 1.5 parts per part of condensed tannin in the fruits. It was hypothesized that treating the fruits would deactivate the tannins in them and increase intake, digestibility and nitrogen retention. Treating the fruits for condensed tannins had no effect on hay and fruit intake. None of the treatments had an effect on the apparent digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, neutral and acid detergent fibre and nitrogen retention in the goats. The goats that were fed on the boiled fruits had a negative N retention of-1.03 g/day. It was concluded that none of the detannification methods improved feed intake, apparent nutrient digestibility and nitrogen retention. It is recommended that each detannification method should be tested on different types of tannins and at different concentrations before totally dismissing the treatments as not useful. © Copyright resides with the authors.


Nkomboni P.,Matopos Research Institute | Beekman S.,Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2015

The livestock sector in Zimbabwe has changed with the redistributive land reform programme. Land was distributed under two establishment models the A1 and the A2. Whilst A1 farmers are under common grazing and operate same as smallholder farmers, A2 resettled farmers were and are supposed to carry out and revive the commercial farming activities. Land redistribution was done with the objective of giving land to the landless; however, questions arise as to how this programme affected or influenced the beef value chains. The distribution of the fast track land reform programme shaped and restructured beef value chains in such a way that there was an entrance and egression of different chain actors. This review evaluates beef value chains in the A2 farms with reference to former commercial farms, how their entrance has changed market trend, chain actors, chain supporters and all the other stakeholders involved in the beef value chains. © 2015 Fundacion CIPAV. All rights reserved.


Mlilo D.,Lupane State University | Mlilo D.,Matopos Research Institute | Mhlanga M.,Lupane State University | Mwembe R.,Matopos Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Tropical Animal Health and Production | Year: 2015

Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is a fatal viral disease of cattle prevalent in farms bordering wildlife conservancies and national parks where cattle and wildebeests cohabit. The behaviour of the diseases and its related contribution to cattle mortalities has been poorly studied in the smallholder sector. A study was therefore conducted to established trends of occurrence and contribution to animal losses in 97 smallholder farms and eight commercial farms bordering Rhodes Matopos National Park (RMNP). A structured questionnaire and secondary records were used to gather the data in the smallholder and commercial farms, respectively. In the smallholder sector, cattle farmers from three villages were chosen as respondents in a survey to provide information on the impact and extent of losses in their cattle herds. Epidemiological data from January 2006 to April 2014 was extracted from farm records from two Matopos Research Institute farms. A seasonal pattern in MCF occurrence was observed. Most cattle mortalities were recorded during summer (February to May), with highest mortalities recorded from March to April. Sporadic cases were however recorded in October and November in year 2007, 2010, and 2012. The study further revealed that MCF caused 71 and 21 % of cattle mortalities in the commercial and smallholder sector, respectively. Deferred grazing of wildebeest hotspots by restriction of cattle movement during summer or November to April period avoids wildebeest-cattle contact. This can alleviate cattle mortalities due to MCF. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Tavirimirwa B.,Matopos Research Institute | Mwembe R.,Matopos Research Institute | Ngulube B.,Matopos Research Institute | Banana N.Y.D.,Midlands State University | And 3 more authors.
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2013

Development of communal cattle production can be a sustainable way to improve the livelihoods of the rural population in Zimbabwe. There is however, little information and research conducted to characterize, understand and develop the communal cattle production systems in Zimbabwe. This review focuses on the importance of communal cattle production, constraints to sustainable production and research needs necessary to improve the production systems. Communal cattle production in Zimbabwe is extensive and dominated by indigenous cattle which are adaptable to the local environment. Their important functions, which include provision of food security and socio-cultural role, are discussed. The major constraints identified are high disease and parasite prevalence, low level of management, limited dry season forage availability and poor marketing management. Any improvement in these constraints may lead to a sustainable increase in communal cattle production.


Nyamushamba G.B.,Women's University in Africa | Chikwanda D.,University Of Fort Hare | Matondi G.H.M.,Women's University in Africa | Marandure T.,Women's University in Africa | And 4 more authors.
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2014

A study was carried out to establish non genetic factors affecting milk, butterfat and protein yields in Zimbabwean Red Dane cattle. A total of 1325 unedited 305-day lactation records were obtained from Zimbabwe Livestock Identification Trust herd, with cows calving in the period 2002-2006. The Henderson Type III sum of squares in Genstat edition 14 program was used. Parity, days in milk, year of calving and age of calving had significant effects (P< 0.05) on milk, fat and protein yield; milk yield; protein and fat yield; and milk and protein yield respectively. An increase in parity resulted in an increase in milk yield and composition up to parity 4 and started declining in parity 5. An increase in days in milk also resulted in an increase in milk yield whereby the milk yield increased at a declining rate as from 350 days to 550 days. Milk yield and composition declined in 2005 and there was a decline in protein yield from 2006 to 2009. Lastly, milk and protein yield resulted in a gradual increase up to 58 months followed by a declining trend up to 103 months. Month of calving and days dry did not have significant effects (P> 0.05) on milk yield and composition of Red Dane cattle in Zimbabwe. The study showed that non-genetic factors have a significant effect on milk yield and composition of Red Dane cattle in Zimbabwe.


Mwembe R.,Matopos Research Institute | Nkomboni D.,Matopos Research Institute | Nengomasha Z.,RDRA Africa Regional Office | Sisito G.,Matopos Research Institute | Kufa M.,Matopos Research Institute
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2014

A study was carried out at Matopos Research Institute to observe how free ranging indigenous chicken budget their daily time in early winter and late summer. The objective of the study was to understand how fundamental daily activities vary with season and chicken strain. The data were analysed as a two season (late winter and early summer) by three-bird strain (Naked neck, Spotted and Red) factorial structure in a completely randomised design. The chickens allocated more of their time to feeding during late summer than in early winter. By contrast, more time was allocated to reproduction during early winter than late summer. The Red chicken strain displayed more reproduction activities compared to the naked neck and spotted types. All chicken strains had high locomotion, displayed less cleaning activities and drinking during early winter than late summer. In conclusion, time allocated to feeding and reproduction varied with time and chicken strain. It can be inferred that the quality of the scavenging feed resource base improved as it gradually progressed from summer into the winter. However, monitoring the time budgets coupled with crop content analysis can improve the understanding of the scavenging feed resource base variability hence improving the effectiveness of supplementation regimes and chicken productivity.

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