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Village-level fattening techniques for bovine in the Senegalese groundnut basin

Two village-level fattening techniques, which consider the scarcity of forages on small farms and take advantage of price variations on local markets, have been successfully tested under the Sudano-Sahelian climate in Senegal. Fattening young bull calves (one to two years old, 120 to 180 kg live weight) on fallow land and pastures during the rainy season guarantees an excellent growth rate of 600 to 800 g per day. During the dry season, the fattening of older bull calves (two to three years old, 180 to 250 kg live weight) enhances the value of crop residues as an appropriate supplement to concentrate feeds. In any case, the daily weight gain never exceeds 300 g. The variability of individual performances is linked to the heterogeneity of Gobra males and to farmers' expertise. However, compared with the low income obtained from groundnuts or millet, these fattening practices guarantee appreciable profits of even more than CFA 20 000 per bull calf. Keeping the animals inside facilitates the production of manure, which is indispensable for regenerating the fertility of the soil.

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