Insurers paid farmers Sh1.35 billion insurance compensation for crop failure and purchase of fodder in the last financial year, highlighting the relevance of the cover that mainly targets arid and semi-arid households. Ministry of Agriculture data shows that Sh1.098 billion was paid out to 18,012 households in eight counties as livestock insurance compensation.
Livestock farmers in Lyantonde district have appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to combat an outbreak of a strange disease in cattle. Dr Ronald Bameka, the district veterinary ofﬁcer, said the rare strain has killed more than 300 head of cattle. According to Bameka, the disease was ﬁrst reported in April when several farmers lost cattle.
At a far-flung village in Oshana region in northern Namibia, Paulus Nuyoma herded his eight cattle to a water pond. “One, two, three…eight cattle are what I was left with after my livestock perished due to a dry spell. Not only is that, but looking on, this is the healthiest the cattle have looked in four years,” he said on Friday.
Warm and dry weather interspersed with isolated moisture advanced spring crop development ahead of average gains for this time of year, according to the Mountain Region Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. In northeastern counties, continued hot and windy conditions depleted soil moisture supplies and crop stress from lack of moisture was noticeable.
Beef producers have experienced a significant rise in bovine ephemeral fever, commonly known as three day sickness, after receiving significant rain in February. The arthropod-borne virus carried by mosquitoes and biting midges is more severe in heavier cattle, bulls pregnant and lactating cows, and some losses have been confirmed.
Midlands Provincial Public Service inspector, Mr. Andrew Chimanyiwa, on Sunday lost 20 head of cattle after they were struck by lightning at his farm in Gwenhoro outside Gweru. This, officials have said, brings to around 50 the number of cattle killed by lightning in the province since the beginning of this month.
Recent rainfall has brought much needed relief from drought and heat across the Central Tablelands, but the wet weather can also pose risks for livestock - the Local Land Services warns. "Now that we've had some rain in most parts of the region, it's a good time to review the vaccination status of livestock and give booster injections where appropriate, particularly for clostridial diseases such as pulpy kidney."
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