Cattle resources in Nigeria are mainly concentrated in the Sudan, Southern Guinea, Northern Guinea and the Sahel ecological zones in a descending order of distribution. Cattle production is a major part of the livestock sub-sector contributing substantially into the national economy through its supply of animal proteins in form of beef and milk, raw 
materials to agro-processing industries in form of commodities such as hides, beef, milk, bones, horns and hooves; provision of gainful employment and livelihood to a host of people and families as well as a 
source of farm power in animal traction and cow dung for bio fuel and soil fertility. The valuable contributions of the cattle industry relate to foreign exchange earnings, instrument for capital accumulation or saving and a number of socio-cultural roles in different societies. 
However, cattle production in Nigeria lags behind meeting all the expected contributions satisfactorily. The output of cattle is low and this reflected from less than 2kg of beef and 23g of milk is derivable by an individual Nigerian annually from local stock. A number of constraints are involved ranging from nutritional, genetic make-up, to socio economic and institutional constraints. This study will endeavour to put 
status of cattle production into perspectives that will enable students 
appreciate and develop focus to finding lasting solutions At the end of this unit, you should be able to: 
• identify and describe breeds of cattle in Nigeria in relation to their adaptation, physical features and productivity as dairy, beef or dual-purpose breed 
• describe systems of cattle management and the underlying factors determining preference for one to another under different circumstances 
• list some constraints to cattle production in Nigeria 
• discuss strategies for improving cattle production using opportunities lying around us optimally. 

3.1 Breeds of Cattle in Nigeria

The Nigerian cattle population is dominated by the zebu breeds. Data 
from FAO (1980) and Lamorde and Franti (1975) indicate the following percentage composition of the national herd: 
• (White Fulani) Bunaji 51.0 
• (Red Fulani) Rahaji 14.0 
• (Sokoto Gudali) Bokoloji 11.5 
• Adamawa Gudali 11.5 
• Others 12.0 
• Total 100.0 
In addition to indigenous breeds, various exotic breeds have been introduced mainly for cross breeding to improve milk and meat production of the indigenous cattle; these include the Holstein-Friesian, Brown Swiss and Jersey for milk production, and the South Devon, Sahiwal, Brahman. Santo Gertrudis, Droughtmaster and Butana for beef production. Nearly all the exotic introductions are found on government 
and institutional ranches and dairies, and they constitute a very small percentage of the national herd. 
The other production coefficients of the national herd are more difficult to derive. The calving rate has been estimated to be 45 per cent (Lamorde, 1974, Saka Nuru, 1976). There appears to be general 
agreement to an estimate of 15 per cent for calf mortality, whilst the adult ornon-calf mortality rate has averaged 4 per cent. Off-take is generally assumed at about 10 per cent, although there is no statistical basis for this as a considerable proportion of the slaughtering is not 
recorded. The cow culling rate has been estimated at about 10 per cent, whilst the replacement rate is about 15 per cent. Pullan working with traditional herds on the Jos Plateau has given live weight estimates of cows, heifers, and steers as 250 kg, 175 kg and 235 Kg respectively. 
ILCA (1980) studies indicate the possibility that a high proportion of the animals sold are for reasons of sickness or unthriftiness, and in some cases this may account for as high as 50 per cent of the sales. Hence an average carcass weight of 125 kg at 49 per cent killing out has been 
suggested. Extrapolating from a national herd of 9.3 million and an average killing out percentage of 49 per cent, the above model would give annual sales of around 117,000 tonnes of dressed beef. At 
N2.25/kg, this would represent a farm gate value of about N262 million. 
The combined value of stock and milk sales at the farm gate is therefore in excess of N400 million per annum. 
There is a need for caution in the use of these data as the absolute basis for projections, especially when the data cover a relatively short period of time, which may not entirely reflect the typical cyclic pattern of weight losses and gain experienced by most traditional herds. The off take rate has been estimated to be as high as 16.9 per cent among traditional herds (Lideco, 1980) while live weights observed over a longer period of time indicate higher average than those of Pullan or ILCA (1980). Recorded live weights of Sokoto Gudali and Bunaji 
yearling bulls and steers purchased from traditional herds on delivery at the Feed Lot Operations, Mokwa, indicate an average of 230 kg (Olaloku, 1977). In addition, there are other components of national herd productivity including manure and draught power. These become relevant and of great significance in an integrated crop and livestock farming system. Indeed, the value of the manure is underscored in the existing symbolic relationship between arable crop farmers and pastoralists in which the latter is allowed to graze crop residues in exchange for manure from the stock. 
Nigeria has indigenous breeds of cattle from which could be raised animals of suitable type and productivity, whether for economic production of beef or milk; but that nutrition must be improved in order 
to achieve optimum productivity. Generally speaking, the yield per animal unit is very low but it is pertinent to remember that this is from herds subsisting on the savannah lands of the most northerly states, which provide, during a wet season of from four to five months, a coarse 
herbage of only very moderate feeding value, being almost bare of keep during the seven or eight months of the dry season. Thus the animals suffer annually, a prolonged period of malnutrition, often of near – starvation and at no time in the year do they live on what can be regarded as nutritionally adequate level. 

3.2 Systems of Cattle Production 

The Traditional System Outline: 

Cattle production under the traditional system is generally associated with the pastoralist transhumance which has developed over 
the years as an adaptation toenvironmental and historical factors; it 
constitutes the main component of cattle production in the country with the pastoral Fulani as the centre of focus. The traditional livestock grazer was faced with the problems of seasonal variations in forage availability, water, disease, social interactions with the arable crop farmers, government taxation demands, and the need to cater for his family. The resulting evolution has led to a range of husbandry practices geared to overcoming these problems, particularly availability of grazing and the need to avoid the tsetse fly transmitting trypanosomiasis. 

Classification of Pastoralist

Ethnic, ecological and economic factors all influence ownership and management of cattle, independently and in combination. As a result, there is an almost infinite number of permutations, but four groups can be broadly recognised: 

1. Nomadic or Fully Mobile Pastoralist 

These practice pure transhumance, with no permanent place of residence and no regular cultivation. They and their families 
move with the herds, generally in a southward direction during the dry season and moving back during the rains. They have average herds of about 80 – 100 head of cattle together with some sheep and goats (20 – 40). In the search for grazing and water, areas of tsetse fly infestation and other diseases are avoided; their movement is also determined by the location of arable framing communities which provide crop residues for grazing, as well as markets for sale of produce and purchase of essential needs. 

2. Semi-Nomadic or Less – Mobile Pastoralists 

In contrast have a permanent place of residence where the elderly members of the family stay with some of the stock, such as the Lactating cows. The other stocks are moved away in search of 
grazing and water for long periods of time during the dry season. 
They practice some cropping (often hiring outside labour) although livestock remains their most important economic activity. This group generally does not own as many cattle as the former group, but all their other practices are similar. Indeed, it is claimed that this is a transition stage to full sedentarisation. 

3. The Semi – Settled Pastoralist 

These have a permanent place of abode and practice some supplementary cultivation for food production. They keep smaller herds and usually only move out in search of grazing and water towards the end of the dry season. They sometimes construct temporary shelters, and grow and harvest crops at the beginning of the rains before moving back to their home base.

4. Settled Pastoralists 

These live continuously in permanent settlements all year round, and practice arable cropping in addition to livestock husbandry. 
Herds are grazed during the day by children or hired hands and the animals are tethered at night. Some of these look after stock for owners who live in the urban areas. 

Pastoralist Management

In order to survive in a purely nomadic 
system, each unit must control enough livestock to sustain itself. While 
many forces have led to the continual process of settlement a key factor 
is herd size which, either due to inheritance or disease may cease to be 
viable economic unit in its own right so that recourse to cultivation is necessary for survival. However, with allowance made for a total dependence on the proceeds of livestock husbandry and the constraints of perpetual mobility, the husbandry system holds good for both 
nomadic and settled Fulani. 

The Mobility of Cattle is a Feature of all 

Extensive Grazing System

At the extreme the pure nomads may move hundreds of kilometers and stay nowhere more than a few days while for the permanently settled, the grazing zone may be within say five kilometers of the camp. For the latter there are three, albeit indistinct, phases in the year. During the 
growing season the herds are kept off the crop lands in large units. 
Immediately after harvest the cattle are put in is graze crop residues; this is often, but not always, by arrangement with the farmers. As the dry season progresses the herds; are progressively subdivided for grazing, smaller units being better able to seek out and utilise small patches of 
grass, crop residues, etc. in some areas there is a separation of the ‘wet’ animals; (cows and calves) and cows that are in an advanced stage of pregnancy, which are left behind in the ‘Mashekari’ or permanent place of abode while the rest of the herd is moved out in search of feed. The wet herd is grazed in areas like the fadamas (the low plains) that have good dry season supplies of forage and water. 
A close examination of the traditional pastoralist system reveals a stronger emphasis of milk production than beef, and the system of management that ensures all year round supply of milk from the herd. 
Milk is a major source of income for the family’s day to day needs, and women attend markets daily in order to sell the sour milk (nono), butter (mai) along with millet or sorghum ball (fura); the fura is sold with the nono mixed by the vendor and is consumed on the spot. Household 
heads also attend market regularly and the trading pattern leads to a natural affinity between herd movement and the location of markets and population centres. 
In conclusion, it should be stressed that the general concept of the traditional grazier as a nomad who cannot settle is fast disappearing. The picture that now emerges is that between 40 – 50 per cent of traditional Fulani graziers are settled, another 20 – 30 per cent are estimated to be semi-settled, whilst only about 20 per cent now remain in the traditional 
nomadic system of production. This is significant for it means that the often stated constraint that nomadism has on introducing technology to the cattle industry does not apply to over 50 per cent of cattle owners. 

The Modern System 

The introduction of semi-intensive and intensive methods, modeled on those successfully employed for beef and dairy production in agriculturally advanced countries, is largely confined to government, parastatals and institutional research farms. They commenced with the establishment of a number of governments Livestock Improvement and 
Breeding Centres (LIBC) in different parts of the country during the late 1940’s and early 1950s. This trend continued into the 1960s and has attracted the attention of some farmers in the private sector, who, in corporative groups or as individuals have started mixed farming enterprises. These mixed farming operations have gained popularity amongst the educated groups (retired public servants, etc) who are 
taking advantage of the Federal Government’s encouragement of 
agricultural production through the provision of guaranteed credit facilities. Though initially influenced by Fulani systems cattle production on these units has some element of specialization into beef and milk production whereas in the traditional system, both are complementary products of the cattle industry. 
Beef Production: The establishment of beef cattle ranches has taken place mainly in the Guinea Savanna zones. The ranches are stocked with indigenous cattle breeds such as the Gudali (Sokoto and Adamawa), the Bunaji, and in the ore southerly areas the trypanotolerant N’Dama has been introduced along with the Ketuku or Borgawa cattle. Management plans on most ranches have included provision of extensive range 
grazing, sometimes undersown with legumes, with allocations of 3 – 4 
hectares/animal in the Southern Guinea to 4 – 6 hectares/animal in the Northern Guinea and Sudan Savanna zones. Some of the ranches provide improved pasture areas of about 0.125 ha/animal for dry season feeding (Upper Ogun Ranch in Oyo State) or maize and grass silage also 
for dry season feeding and feed lot operations (Mokwa Ranch, Niger State). Mineral salt licks are provided in the paddocks and all year round watering from dams and bore holes. Deworming and vaccination against the major cattle diseases are carried out routinely, and cattle dips are provided for control of ectoparasites, particularly ticks, some recording has been carried out but because of the inconsistency with which this has been done, it has not been very easy to utilize these records in a meaningful evaluation of technical and economic performances. 
A ‘Steer Fattening Unit’ scheme was introduced for small-scale producers in the Derived Savanna areas of the old Western Region in which, under a system of continuous bush grazing with adequate water supply, mineral salt licks and facilities for tick control and deworming 
possibility of profitable beef production using trypanotolerant breeds and crosses was investigated. This idea caught on with many farmers in the area, and has continued with modified aspects of the scheme and today a good number of them fattern steers for supply to slaughter 
houses in Ibadan and other urban areas. A recent apparently successful development along these lines is the Smallholder Fattening Scheme introduced by the World Bank Assisted Livestock Project Unit (LPU). 
Feed lot fattening of yearling bulls steers on a commercial scale was introduced into the Nigerian beef industry about a decade ago on the Mokwa Cattle Ranch. A significant development was the introduction of sugarcane molasses from the Bacita Sugar Factory into the fattening diet in late 1972. The fattening programme was planned to coincide with the 
end of the sugar cane harvesting season, so that large quantities of molasses would become available for feeding during the long dry season period of November to April. 
The bulls and steers were purchased from the traditional herds as yearlings aged 18 – 24 months, predominantly Sokoto Gudalis with some Bunajis with average weights of 200 – 240 kg. They were 
quarantined for 30 days during which they were vaccinated for CBPP, anthrax, and proplylactic treatment with ‘Berenil’ against trypanosomiasis, as well as drenching for worms and spraying for 
ectoparasites. Therefore, they entered the feedlots with two-week adaptation period on the molasses based feeding regime. Group fed, each animal received approximately 3 kg molasses, 3 kg cottonseed, 5 kg grass/maize silage plusad libitum supply of salt licks and water. Over a- three-month fattening period, the animals average 300 kg live weight at average, daily gains 682 gm. The dressed carcasses were marketed 
through the cold stores and supermarkets in urban centres of Lagos and Ibadan. 
Although the records indicate substantial improvements in the physical performance of the indigenous breeds under the modern as compared to the traditional system of management, it is pertinent to note that the different models of the modern sector taken together only account for a very small percentage of the National Herd and their contributions to the beef market is therefore correspondingly small. 
Milk Production
Milk production under the system of management isconfined almost exclusively to government or institutional experimental farms. The dairies are generally located within easy marketing distance of consumption centres, and attempts have been made to organise 
dairying countries. Herd size varies from 30 to 50 on the experimental stations and from 50 to 200 on the ‘urban’ dairies operated by various State Ministries of Agriculture. The animals are housed, milked by hand and/or machine, and the milk is usually processed before distribution to consumers. The animals are maintained on cultivated pastures with supplementary concentrates, and standard milk recording is practiced on most farms. 
Although milk production per animal under the modern system has been substantially higher than that obtained by traditional producers, the results have not been very encouraging when compared with their 
counterparts elsewhere. Low performances have been attributed to poor management resulting in low pregnancy rates due to poor organisation 
of the breeding programme especially heat detection for Al, long calving intervals, short lactations, and little attention to balanced feeding in terms of concentrate or forage use. In addition, there tended to be very little selection of stock at the time of purchase. 
In terms of increased milk production in their own right, the contribution of these dairies has been insignificant and they have incurred high costs and considerable manpower demands. Although it could be argued that their role is as research and development centres, this could be justified if their breeding and production objectives are carefully defined and 
satisfactorily implemented along with the generation of records from which objectives evaluation of performance can be made; in most cases this has been the case. 

3.3 Major Production Constraints 

Feed Supplies:

 The provision of feed that is adequate both in quantity and quality are available all year round countries to be one of the major problems of cattle production in Nigeria. Communal grazing of the natural range is the primary source of nutrient supplemented by crop 
residues during the dry season. Feed supplies during the latter when natural vegetation becomes rank and unpalatable, are particularly acute and is aggravated by an imbalance between stocking rate and range carrying capacity. A consequence of overstocking is a high incidence of 
erosion and a reduction in the capacity of such areas to produce feed in the following growing season. This is the case in many of the country’s high cattle production areas (e.g. Mambilla and Jos Plateau) and becomes extremely acute in the Sahelo-Sudanian savannah ecologic 
zone, where the dry season is often long and severe. 
When it is prolonged for more than a season, as was the case during the 
Sahelian drought of 1972 – 74, considerable losses in animals usually 
result. Apart from the drastic reductions in productivity of the surviving stock, some impairment of the reproductive function may result as well as a general lowering of the animal’s resistance to disease. 
Expanding arable cultivation is further limiting the natural range area that is available to the livestock owners and in 1965 a programme of establishing grazing reserves was initiated in an attempt to secure a year round source of forage feeding for the traditional herds. The reserves were to provide infrastructures – water, access roads, and centres for the 
provision of inputs such as feed supplements and minerals licks. 
However, the grazing reserve programmes have not provided the expected solutions to the feed problem of the traditional herds, and further review of their function and development is required. 
A supplementary feed programme was also initiated to prevent the seasonal weight losses resulting from low quality herbage and from the long distances trekked by the animals with the attendant risks of disease transmission and parasitism. It was also seen as an attempt to encourage settled animal production among the traditional livestock producers. The first attempt was in 1962/63 by the then Northern Nigeria Government 
under the ‘Fulani Amenities Programme’ aimed at introducing concentrate feeding to cattle to reduce loss in weight especially during the peak of the dry season. The subsidy element of the programme was to be phased out over a 6 year period by which time stock owners were expected to recognise and appreciate the benefits of supplementation.
The supplementary ratio took the form of equal parts of groundnut cake and cotton seed cake, 2% common salt plus mineral salt licks. 
The scope of the programme has since been broadened and redesigned to demonstrate to the traditional livestock producers the economic benefits of feeding supplements such as hay, groundnut, cottonseed cake etc. Observations however indicate that the programme has not had the desired effect due largely to inadequate and untimely distribution of the supplements. To some extent poor infrastructural facilities (transport, storage) and lack of personnel have been responsible for this and has led 
to poor coverage of the remote areas along with inconsistent supply. An 
imbalance between demand and supply has encouraged undesirable commercial exploitation, and there is evidence of an increasing shortage of the major ingredients used in the supplementary ratio formulations in the last few years. 


Breeding programmes to achieve improved milk and to a lesser extent meant production, have adopted the following approaches: 
a. crossing indigenous cows with bulls (naturally or by Artificial Insermination (AI) of higher producing exotic breeds, mainly the Holstein – Friesian and to a lesser extent the Brown Swiss and South Devon cattle. 
b. importation and maintenance of purebred exotic herds. 
Achievements in both approaches have so far been impaired due largely to lack of a properly coordinated national breeding policy programme. 
Cross-breeding has not followed clearly outlined objectives; rather some form of upgrading has been done but there is no definite evidence yet as to what stage this upgrading should be stopped. . Reproductive performance of cows is an important consideration when assessing the achievements of breeding work already carried out, since this trait is 
correlated with milk production. Data from both Agege and Vom which showed large variations in all the traits, indicated that little culling had been practiced. The long calving intervals recorded may be due more to management problems, particularly heat detection and prompt service especially where AI is practiced. Faulty feeding has also been implicated, as well as the lack of regular pregnancy checks as cases of ovaries were quite common in some of the herds. 
The conclusions from the experiences of the breeding approaches on the government ranches and dairies so far, are: 
a. that there are possible benefits in crossbreeding, but there must be well-defined national objectives for milk and beef production and a well organised AI programme. Such objectives will guide the choice of exotic breeds to use andpossibly the source of such importation 
b. the programs should be clearly spelt out so as to ensure continuity in execution and a continuous evaluation of achievements 
c. the pioneer or pilot urban dairy projects have made some contributions to our knowledge of the problems of commercial 
milk production in Nigeria. They therefore remain a useful component in ourattempts to establish an organised dairy 
industry in the country 
d. there is now sufficient technical base on which to formulate guidelines for the management of existing and proposed stations for commercial dairy and beef breeding and production operations 

e. given such condition, it should be possible within the next decade to extend the benefits of these programmes to increase productivity of the national herd. 


The important epizootic diseases of cattle in Nigeria include rinderpest, contagious pleuropneumonia, foot and mouth disease, anaplasmsis, babesiosis and of course trypanosomiasis. These diseases limit production in cattle wherever they occur. In particular, 
trypanosomiasis has rendered millions of hectares of land unsuitable for cattle production. Dematophilus has become important particularly among the imported stock on government dairies and amongst the indigenous breeds, particularly in the higher altitude areas of Jos, Mambilla and Obudu Plateaux. Foot and mouth disease is also assuming importance with the increase in importation of exotic cattle. Mastitis is also known to be assuming significance especially in view of the 
increasing emphasis on commercial dairy development. Tick-borne diseases, such as heartwater, babesiosis, anaplasmisis are especially important in imported cattle herds. 
Although some progress has been made in the diagnosis and control of some of these diseases, those remaining constitute a potential hazard to cattle production in Nigeria. Not much headway has been made against such as coetaneous streptothricosis, heartwater, brucellosis, tuberculosis, vibrosis, and mastitis, most of which may result mainly from bacteriological infection. There are also nutritional, toxic, metabolic and 
organic diseases. Together these reduce the productivity of the national herd, although their effects may not be as telling as those of the major epizootic diseases. 

Land Tenure: 

The trend of increasing settlement by pastoralist cattle owners, which has occurred over the last decade, can be attributed to a number of reasons: • The Sahelian drought of 1972 – 1974 which severely affected the crop farmers, also indirectly affected pastoralists, for apart from feed shortages for their stock it also upset the pastoralists ability to get food in exchange for milk and milk products. This forced many to cultivate crops for their own consumption. 
• The need for a national, state and LGA identity, particularly the struggle for ethnic recognition was more emphasized during the last decade than ever before, and has provided an additional motivation to settle. 
Despite the trend however, land tenure remains a major obstacle to development for the grazers do not have secure individual rights to land. 
For with very few exceptions, right over a land, whether cultivated or uncultivated, is already claimed by the traditionally settle communities practicing crop cultivation. As a result, the presence of settled pastoralist is accepted as a concession rather than a permanent tenure, and rarely 
extends beyond the area of crop cultivation except with regard to the 
traditionally recognised rights of communal range grazing. In such cases, the grazers have neither the opportunity nor incentives to invest in land improvement so that they are unable to realise the full potential benefits that settlement should allow. This remains a critical issue in cattle development in Nigeria, the implications of which are outlined below. 

3.4 Strategies for Improving Cattle Production in Nigeria 

The Situation: Communal grazing of the natural range is the primary source of herd nutrition and there is an inverse relationship between actual stocking density and range carrying capacity. This is largely due to the incidence of tsetse fly which requires a certain degree of humidity to survive so that infested areas have relatively good rainfall and a high 
natural forage growing potential. Serious overstocking occurs within these areas of cattle concentration to the extent that malnutrition is the single most important disease affecting cattle in Nigeria at the present time. 
The fact that overstocking occurs is a function of both communal land 
ownership and the propensity of cattle owners to increase their herd numbers. Various reasons account for the latter including prestige, security and the frugal demands of cattle owners for cash income other than that required for the welfare of their stock. This notwithstanding, there are two overriding factors which must be borne in mind. 
• Provided that mortality is less than inflation and the demand for cash income is low, it is economically rational to build up herd numbers rather than increase off-take
• Even if overstocking is a generally recognized problem amongst cattle producers, no one producer would be encouraged to destock without the assurance that other producers would not 
build up their numbers to fill the vacancy that this destocking has created. 
In consequence of the above, herd numbers, even in areas of serious overstocking, continue to rise partly as a result of natural herd increase but possibly, due to in-migration of herds from neighbouring countries. 
The effects of overstocking are that the carrying capacity of the range itself declines, herd productivity deteriorates to a level that counterbalances or exceeds the effect that the increasing herd numbers would otherwise have on off0takem and nutrition becomes such a 
limiting factor that the opportunity for raising herd productivity by means of other technologies, such as veterinary and genetic improvements is very limited. 
The Options: To a large extent, therefore, production improvements from increase in the national herd will only materialized if: 
a. The areas of cattle distribution are extended either by control of the tsetse fly, chemotherapy or a wider use of trypanotolerant breeds 
b. Natural range production is supplemented by use of purchased 
feeds, or 
c. Natural range production is improved either by controlled grazing (which would generally imply some stratification of the 
transhuman pastoralist system) or, more importantly, through pasture and forage production. 

Nutritional Improvements 

Extending the Range Area. While significant progress in physical control of the tsetse fly has been made, eradication is expensive and can induce undesirable environmental changes when the technique is based on persistent toxic insecticides. 
Control procedures are also becoming increasingly more complex as the fly free front moves southwards. 
Chemotherapy is effective in areas of medium to low tsetse challenge but correct dosage and regular application are necessities which poses considerable organizational problems when applied to large numbers; incorrect or indiscriminate drug usage also runs the risk of certain strains of trypanosomes becoming resistant to chemotherapy. The alternative of using trypanotolerant breeds faces a severe and expensive supply problem since most of the breeding stock would need to be imported. 
Although the productivity of trypanotolerant breeds such as the N’Dama have been shown to be comparable with that of Zebus which have a much larger body size, their importation is beneficial only in terms of improving domestic meat supply rather than resolving the problems of Nigeria’s significant cattle population which is 96% Zebu unless a crossbreeding programme with N’Dama bulls is carried out over 
successive generations. Importation of these breeds also requires a high degree of organization and control for their tolerance does not make them immune to tsetse challenge. 
During the last decade there has been a significant build-up of cattle numbers in hitherto regarded tsetse infested areas in the Middle Belt due both to the pressures of overstocking in more northerly areas and to the natural control of the savannah species brought about by rising population pressure and expanded settlements. There remains, however, a considerable risk of severe trypanosomiasis problems if cattle numbers were substantially increased in these areas without being preceded by a 
formal tsetse clearance programme. 
Supplementary Feeds: The use of supplementary feeds must be viewed 
to a large extent as a short term solution and is in any case constrained by supply. It does not address the root cause of overstocking and therefore does not prevent the continual degradation of the range that overstocking causes. Agro-industrial by-products are in very short 
supply in the context of national herd development, and that which is available is to a large extent already accounted for. The prospects of a domestic grain and vegetable protein surplus becoming available for conversion into cattle feeds is extremely doubtful particularly when 
account is taken of the demands which the more efficient monogastrics are also likely to have on feed supplies. For the ruminant group, the economic and foreign exchange implications of using imported feedstuff to supplement the national range are highly disadvantageous. 
Notwithstanding the above, agro-industrial by-products have a major role to play in specific development schemes and given the constraints on national supply it is important that mechanisms are introduced which will encourage their most effective use. 
Thos would include directing available supplies towards those classes of livestock which will generate the most significant impact on production, and also ensuring that priority is given to cattle owners who are to receive an integrated package of technological improvements, the benefits of which would be severely constrained by inadequate nutrition. 
These opportunities are expanded later in the report.
Range Improvement: Various possibilities exist for improving the carrying capacity of the natural range. These include introducing grazing practices which are in harmony with the agronomic characteristics of natural range species, stratifying production into a form which exploits the comparative advantages of different agro-ecological zones, and 
planting improved pastures to replace the natural range species. 
Considerable problems however are encountered in the application of this technology to the pastoralist cattle owner. First and foremost is that to be effective requires control of both stock movements and stock numbers and the record of success in both of these is particularly not encouraging. Pasture improvement faces the additional problem of seasonality of production and the need to either conserve wet season surpluses to meet the critical shortage of the dry season or to use pasture species with the ability to produce green foliage in the dry season, the 
former, in the context of pastoralist units on the communal range, is extremely difficult to apply. 

Land Reform: 

While the ability of the pastoralist communities to exercise traditional control measures on number and movement of cattle should be fully exploited, the record of success is extremely poor. It must therefore be anticipated that under a system of communal land ownership cattle owners will wish to maximize their herd size rather than optimize returns to land. Without an incentive for the latter, which would require fundamental land reform, all measures to improve herd nutrition must be considered partial or short term solutions. 
Furthermore, in the absence of individual incentives to invest in land improvements, rangeland development will depend heavily on public sector services which will further limit the scope for development from the standpoint of manpower, finance and logistics constraints. 
To date there has been no progress on land reform which offers any means of resolving this pressing problem for cattle development. This subject will be further pursued later. But the need for government to seriously address this issue must be continuously stressed. In any event 
however, progress will be a long term undertaking and the scope for improvement within the existing tenure system must be exploited. 
Other opportunities 

Genetic Improvements: 

Compared with twelve indigenous breeds under similar management, the Bunaji is above average in main productive traits. 
However, the breeding programme at Shika between 1929 and 1959 which has as its main objective an increase in genetic potential for milk production of Bunaji, gave an annual increase of only 1 – 1.5 per cent. 
Exotic breeds usually have a higher genetic potential than indigenous breeds: Table 1A and B shows the yields of imported and of cross-breed cattle at various centres in Nigeria indicating that the first cross of Zebu with Frisian could potentially double milk yield. The results achieved so far underline the possibilities of increasing productive performance 
through crossbreeding with a well organised A1 programme. 
Improved genetic potential however will not be realized if other factors of production are in limited supply and exotic breeds, particularly as purebreds, are generally more susceptible to disease, climatic and adverse management practices. Since the lower genetic potential of local breeds is in most cases not fully utilized because of inadequate nutrition, genetic improvement will only be applicable to areas where these more 
fundamental problems of production have already been successfully resolved. 
Veterinary Improvements: While nutrition may be regarded the most important livestock problem in Nigeria today, it is essential that development package is implemented within the framework of a 
comprehensive veterinary health programme. Veterinary services are 
also in high demand and have affected a higher proportion of livestock owners than any other development component; veterinary technology is far more advanced than production technology and its benefits are more immediately visible to the livestock owners. 
Production technology must therefore be extended within an integrated package in which disease prophylaxis and treatment is a key component. 

Pregnant Cow Recovery 

Considerable improvements could also be made in building up the national herd by culling of unproductive stock and alternative stock and altering the ratio of adult males: adult females from the current estimated figure of 1; 1. 25 to about 1: 20. Additional contributions to 
the buildup of the herd can also be expected from a successful salvage 
programme of pregnant cows bought for slaughter. On the basis of surveys carried out in Zaria and Kaduna areas. About 300 pregnant cows are slaughtered monthly in each of these areas. Spread over the country, such losses constitute a major constraint tot the achievement of a rapid 
buildup of herd numbers and the growth of the national herd.


Improvement in cattle productivity lies in identifying the cattle resources and opportunities available and applying technical know-how to harness the resources for ameliorating the constraints. This is the import of learning this unit. For instance, selection of individual animals and breed, and optimal exploration of feed resources have been combined with effective implementation of policy and health management to bring about tremendous improvement on the supply of animal products by nations like India, and recently Kenya is heading for similar feat. 
Nigeria seems to have the potentials to attain higher level of productivity faster compared to many developing nations. 


The study unit focused on cattle resources of Nigeria as an important segment of the livestock sub-sector contributing goods and services to the national economy. It potentials of industry to attain optimal supply of these values are being constrained by a number of factors, which can be improved upon if strategies and efforts are carefully deplored by 
individuals, government and institutions that together form the stakeholders. 


1. Identify two breeds of cattle with potential for beef or dairy production. Describe each breed under the following points: ecological adaptation, physical features, performance and productivity characteristics. 

2. What factors are underlying the presence of several management systems of cattle? 
3. Give account of distribution of cattle in the ecological zones and changes in the distribution accompanying the seasons. 
4. Enumerate the management systems for cattle production and discuss one you considered amenable to adoption for quick and far reaching improvements. 
5. Recommend a set of production strategies for developing a beef cow-calf enterprise in one of the North Central States. Give some economic benefits of your recommendations. 


Butterworth, M.H. (1985). Beef Cattle Nutrition and Tropical Pastures. 
London, U.K: Longman (Publ.) FMA & GRNC. Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Green Revolution National Committee (1981). “The Green Revolution – A 
Livestock Production Plan for Nigeria,” Pp. 40 – 47. 
Payne, W.J.A. (1990). An Introduction to Animal Husbandry in the Tropics. Fourth Edition. England, UK: Longman Scientific &
Technical (Publ.) 
Powell, J.M. & Taiylor-Powell, E. (1984). “Cropping by Fulani Agro�Pastoralists in Central Nigeria.” ILCA Bulletin (19): 21 – 27.

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