Advantages And Disadvantages Of Ranching

Introduction: Ranch is a place with suitable amenities and implements where cattle and livestock animals are raised for meat, dairy or wool. Ranching is the practice of raising cattle and livestock animals in a confined space. Ranching is mostly practiced in America and Europe. The sub-Sahara Africa is yet to embrace ranching — they still practice the extensive or traditional system of livestock production which is nomadic and primitive method. In extensive system, cattle are moved from one location to another by nomadic husbandmen covering long distances in search of pasture. In most cases, this results in a very low level of production (both beef and milk) because the cattle lose weight (average weight of Nigerian breed is 550kg for bulls and 463kg for cows), milk and their maturity is delayed, milking is not carried out regularly and more often than not, there is no record for milk produced by each cow. Read problems of beef and dairy production in Nigeria for more.

Table of contents


Advantages of ranching 

Disadvantages of ranching 



Proper breeding: Ranching helps you to monitor your herds and choose your breeding program. When the herds are kept in a ranch, you will be able to know when your cows go into estrus and when they are ready to breed and go ahead with breeding. You can pull out the bulls for some time  say 64 to 85 days if you do not want year round breeding and calving. Artificial Insemination can properly be carried out in a ranch farm than in open field. Read Conditions to Recommend Use of Artificial Insemination in Livestock Breeding

How To Upgrade Nigeria Indigenous Breeds Of Beef And Dairy Cattle 

Production of quantity and quality beef and dairy: The cattle and livestock animals in a ranch are well feed, don’t lose weight by moving from one place to another, they receive good veterinary  care. Morbidity rate is very low. Milking can be properly done as at when due in a hygiene and clean manner, and with the right equipment.

Good health and biosecurity management practices: It’s easy to care for the health of livestock when they are in the ranch than in open field. The cattle can easily be vaccinated against diseases. Incoming animals can be isolated first and get their health information. And sick animals can also be isolated to prevent the spread of the diseases. Implementing biosecurity in farm animals has long term benefits both for the producers and consumers. 

Solves feed problem In Zero Ranching, there are usually grazing field with good pasture for the animals to graze and/ or hay baling, and portion for crop planting from where other roughages and concentrates can be produced. The animal dungs serve as source of manure to the grasses and crops. Read more on Importance of Ranching in Solving Feed Problem

Peace: Ranching makes for peace in the society. There wouldn’t be conflicts between the herders and crops farmers. Farmers-herders clashes are usually as a result of cattle trespassing and destroying farm crops while on open grazing. 

Quality lifestyle for herders: Herdsmen and their families will have access to basic social amenities and infrastructures like water, electricity, hospitals and schools. They will have access to decent life. Moving from one location to another denies the herders' children their right to education. 

Security: Security of the livestock and the herders. Ranching will curb cattle rustling. It will not be easy for rustlers to invade a ranch and it is  easy for them in bushes and open fields. 

Read also: Types of Ranch


Capital: The major disadvantage of ranching is cost associated with establishing and running it. To establish a ranch requires huge capital which many animal farmers may not be able to raise. Ranching is very costly. Some of the costs are: 

  • cost of land: Ranching requires vast land, such land is not easy to come bye. Not every livestock farmer can afford it. 
  • Building of farm structures and buildings: Building the pens, stalls and barns, storage building and staff quarters need huge investment.
  • Cost of milking equipment if the ranch is for dairy production. These costs affect the profitability of the farm business. 
  • Cost of feed: Ranchers depend much on purchased feed to feed their livestock because it is not easy to acquire enough space of land that will make for grazing field and hay inside the ranch. Drought also affect the grazing field in the ranch, if there is no irrigation. 
  • Cost of Healthcare and Biosecurity: As good and important as animal healthcare and biosecurity are, they are very expensive. 

Weather: In some seasons and areas there may be extreme weather conditions like drought where the grass will not grow normally, therefore leaving the livestock with little or no pastures to feed on. And there will not be much grass to bale into hay. It is very hard for start-ups to make it in dry or drought season.

You should also read the requirements to set up mechanized cattle ranch.

Conclusion: As it is in everything, ranching has both advantages and disadvantages, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Ranching is the best way to go in cattle and livestock business in Nigeria. The earlier we embrace it the better for us as a nation for peaceful coexistence and economic growth. 

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Ikechukwu Evegbu

Ikechukwu Evegbu is a graduate of Statistics with over 10 years experience as Data Analyst. Worked with Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A prolific business development content writer. He's the Editor, Business Compiler

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