Importance of Ranching in Solving Feed Problem

Table of contents 

  • Introduction
  • Ranching 
  • Livestock feeds and feeding 
  • How ranching solves feed problem 


Feed is the major cost in livestock farming. Cost of feed is one of the reasons herders in West and North Africa adopt nomadic system of husbandry where the livestock openly graze. It’s not that the herders who are predominantly Fulani like to live in the bush rather, it is because they can’t afford to buy the feeds that can feed their livestock, if they were to adopt sedentary method. Read Advantages and Disadvantages of Ranching, this is well explained in the article. 

Alt: = "photo of cattle grazing on field in a ranch"


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. 

Livestock Feeds and Feeding 

Feeds for cattle, goats and sheep include roughage, concentrates, water, mineral and vitamin premix.  The sources of roughage include grass, legume hays, cereal crops residue and corn cobs. Concentrates sourced from rice offal, groundnut cake, maize offal, cotton seed cake, guinea corn and mille.

Good feeding means providing good grazing pastures and minerals with calcium, clean water in right proportions during the wet and dry seasons. 

A ration for a livestock should be about 3% of its weight. For instance, if a cattle weighs 250kg, its ration should be 3/100 * 250k = 7.5kg. The ratio of roughages to concentrates is 60:40 

Ration is the total feed that is given to animal in a day. 

Alt: = "photo of cattle feeding in a ranch"

How Ranching 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. Practically, most ranchers practice mixed farming. The ranchers who do not practice zero ranching are the ones who face feed problem and expend so much on feeds. With good grazing pastures within the ranch, there will be regular supply of feeds for the livestock both in dry and rainy seasons because such pastures can be maintained through irrigation during the dry season. Producing feed locally helps in minimizing the risk of introducing new pests in the area and protects the livestock from feeding on poisonous plants. 

Alt: = "photo of farm tractor"
Farm Tractor 

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