By Mohamed Abdel Monsef and Ahmed Salama
Pivot irrigation systems allow the cultivation of 150 acres of clover in one day, while the same amount takes a month to cultivate using traditional means. Harvesting can be completed in record time, under 2-3 days, by using clover mowing and gathering machinery and using new transportation methods to move the crops to fattening facilities.
Waleed Gohar, head of the animal production department at an agricultural development company in Ismailia, says that clover cultivation takes 6 months starting from the beginning of September and extending to the beginning of May. During this period, the area is mowed 3-4 times every 30-45 days in order to feed cows, buffalos, goats and sheep.
Gohar explains that traditional methods are not viable in large fattening facilities, adding that the company owns a cow, buffalo and calf fattening facility. It has a capacity of 4,000 heads per year, in addition to a goat fattening and sale facility with production capacity of 1,000 heads per year.
He says that one round of raising animals on the farm last 6 months. Calves are brought in at a weight of 250kg and weigh in excess of 450kg after six months, after which point they are sold for meat on the local market. While the males are sold, the females kept and raised in many instances for the purpose of producing young calves.
Gohar added that the process of fattening sheep also takes around 6 months starting at 25kg and ends with 60-70kg, but the market season for sheep in Egypt is linked with the Eid al-Adha Feast each year, as consumption is concentrated on cow and buffalo meat for the rest of the year.
The animal production department stressed that it will present a study to company management to increase cattle production from 4,000 to 6,000 heads annually at a rate of 3,000 every 6 months.
All photos by Amany Kamal.