In conclusion, it would probably be a good idea to raise the problem of the size of the housing units for young cattle, especially young bulls for fattening. Apparently, the juxtaposition of a large number of units raises no particular problem, as long as the required space standard specifications are met.
In addition, it appears that the establishment of battery housing based on any of the three open housing systems described meets the needs of the scale economy given the theoretical compression of fixed costs and the relative reduction of certain variable costs such as labour.
However, experience has shown that the efficiency of units of this kind rapidly peaks, especially in the developing countries. This is due to different factors:
the concentration of large numbers of animals encourages the development of a specific disease situation, which can overtake most of the herd in a very short time. The consequences can be grave - one example is respiratory infections, which are really the worst problem.
really large livestock units are much less flexible in terms of the market: what they need is a large-scale processing system which is rarely to be found in the developing countries.
the technical and administrative problems of managing a large unit are very difficult to solve (feed supplies, labour supervision, control of the animals and the like.
For all the foregoing reasons, it does not appear desirable to encourage developing countries to create housing units for young cattle with accommodations for more than a few hundred head.
Lastly, independently of the sale of the breeder or feeder unit, amortization costs on the buildings can vary from 1 to 10 as part of the total cost of the feeder (young bulls) or breeder (heifers) enterprise, according to which materials are selected, which system is used, and the rate of utilization of the buildings.
Another equally important effect of animal housing is how it affects labour efficiency. And lastly, and most difficult to assess, the building and how it is used, which has an impact on the performance of the cattle not to be overlooked. This gives some measure of how important it is to make the right choices.
The proposals put forth in this work must be able to solve this problem in most of the developing countries. It might be a good idea to emphasize that though these proposals may appear to be extremely flexible, they do proceed from a global approach, and constitute a coherent system within which one ought not with impunity to sacrifice one or more elements of the system. The risk might well be to put in jeopardy the effectiveness of the system as a whole.
So we must stress that no substitution, modification or refinement of existing housing should be contemplated unless it leads to immediate and significant improvement of one of the three following criteria:
labour-saving, and hence the impact of labour costs on the operation;
the comfort of the animals and, as a result, their performance;
how sturdy the housing complex is, and consequently the length of utilization and amortization of the installations.
All these comments lead to the recommendation that technical people in charge of building animal housing for young cattle exercise permanent supervision over the building-site. If the plans are simply left in the hands of a livestock raiser, or even an entrepreneur, upon returning to the building-site a month later, there may be quite a surprise in store…
FAO ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND HEALTH PAPERS:
1. Animal breeding: selected articles from World Animal Review, 1977 (C* E* F* S*)
2. Eradication of hog cholera and African swine fever, 1976 (E* F* S*)
3. Insecticides and application equipment for tsetse control, 1977 (E* F*)
4. New feed resources, 1977 (E/F/S*)
5. Bibliography of the criollo cattle of the Americas, 1977 (Bi E/S*)
6. Mediterranean cattle and sheep in crossbreeding, 1977 (E* F*)
7. Environmental impact of tsetse chemical control, 1977 (E* F*)
7. Rev. Environmental impact of tsetse chemical control, 1980 (E*)
8. Declining breeds of Mediterranean sheep, 1978 (E* F*)
9. Slaughterhouse and slaughterslab design and construction, 1978 (E* F* S*)
10. Treating straw for animal feeding, 1978 (C* E* F* S*)
11. Packaging, storage and distribution of processed milk, 1978 (E*)
12. Ruminant nutrition: selected articles from World Animal Review, 1978 (C* E* F* S*)
13. Buffalo reproduction and artificial insemination, 1979 (E***)
14. The African trypanosomiases, 1979 (E* F*)
15. Establishment of dairy training centres, 1979 (E*)
16. Open yard housing for young cattle, 1981 (E* F* S*)
17. Prolific tropical sheep, 1980 (E*)
18. Feed from animal wastes: state of knowledge, 1980 (E*)
19. East coast fever and related tick-borne diseases, 1980 (E*)
20/1. Trypanotolerant livestock in West and Central Africa, 1980 (E* F*) Vol. 1 - General study
20/2. Trypanotolerant livestock in West and Central Africa, 1980 (E* F*) Vol. 2 - Country studies
21. Guidelines for dairy accounting, 1980 (E*)
FAO PLANT PRODUCTION AND PROTECTION PAPERS: 27 titles published
FAO CONSERVATION GUIDES: 6 titles published
FAO FORESTRY PAPERS: 26 titles published
FAO FOOD AND NUTRITION PAPERS: 18 titles published
FAO AGRICULTURAL SERVICES BULLETINS: 45 titles published
FAO IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE PAPERS: 38 titles published
FAO SOILS BULLETINS: 46 titles published
Availability: August 1981
C - Chinese
E - English
F - French
S - Spanish
Bi. - Bilingual
** Out of print
*** In preparation
The FAO Technical Papers are available through the authorized FAO Sales Agents or directly from Distribution and Sales Section, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.