Livestock farmers in the low-lying areas along the Zambezi Valley have been advised to move their cattle upland following a forecast of an El Nino-induced poor rainfall season.
The provincial livestock officer Mr Daniel Kampiyao said there is a need to protect the provincial herd which has significantly dropped from 541 000 in 2022 to 421 000.
He attributed the significant decline to a high commercial offtake of cattle as farmers willingly disposed of their herd due to January Disease.
As the rainy season approaches Mr Kampiyao urged farmers to constantly adhere to dipping routines to protect their herd from diseases.
“Farmers must start by de-worming their cattle to enable them to take advantage of green grass for bodybuilding. Cattle dipping must be done effectively once every week,” said Mr Kampiyao.
“Those in areas with few dip tanks are encouraged to do spray dipping and use tick grease in hidden areas. The Presidential tick grease programme is ongoing and farmers are receiving allocations. Farmers must vaccinate cattle against lumpy skin and black leg before the onset of rains.”
Mt Darwin has the highest number of cattle followed by Mazowe, Muzarabani and the rest of the districts in the Zambezi Valley.
Mr Kampiyao also urged farmers to invest in small ruminant livestock like goats which need less pastures and are both gazers and browsers.
Some small-scale farmers are not aware that goats require dipping and Agritex extension officers are raising awareness, he said.
“Others are not willing to take their goats for dipping exposing them to heart water disease, which is tick-borne disease,” he said.