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Farmers' Perceptions and Knowledge of Cattle Adaptation to Heat Stress and Tick Resistance in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

  • Katiyatiya, C.L.F. (Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, University of Fort Hare) ;
  • Muchenje, V. (Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, University of Fort Hare) ;
  • Mushunje, A. (Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Fort Hare)
  • Received : 2014.03.06
  • Accepted : 2014.06.02
  • Published : 2014.11.01

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the perceptions and knowledge of farmers of heat stress and tick resistance in cattle. A cross-sectional survey was conducted and 110 farmers in four villages in the sour and sweet velds of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa were interviewed. The associations among area (municipality), gender, age, level of education, employment and religion were computed using Chi-square tests. The majority of the respondents had on average 4 bulls, 4 cows, 4 heifers, 4 calves, and 4 oxen. Milk was considered as the major (28.3%) reason for keeping cattle. Most farmers owned non-descript (72.6%), and Nguni (45.3%) cattle because of their heat tolerance (54.7%), tick resistance (54.7%), and milking ability (28.2%) traits. Excessive panting (56.6%) and disease transmission (76%) were regarded as the major effects of heat stress and tick infestation in cattle, respectively. About 50% of the respondents agreed that hair length influences tick resistance and 47.17% considered coat colour when acquiring cattle. In the sampled areas, ticks were prevalent in the summer season (93%), and 77.36% of the respondents use acaricides every fortnight. Gall sickness was reported to be a major problem in the cattle herds by 36.79% of the respondents. Our results showed that farmers in the two municipalities had knowledge of cattle adaptation to heat stress and tick resistance.

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