A survey was undertaken on the use and management of draught animals in the Eastern Cape province. Information was elicited by means of semi-structured interviews with 94 rural households, most of which owned livestock and were engaged in farming activities. Most farmers relied on draught animal power, which was provided by their cattle, and preferred it to tractor power for most of their agricultural tasks. Span sizes of four or six animals were used for ploughing and harrowing (the preference being six), but for the lighter tasks such as cultivation, seeding and carting, only one pair of animals was usually used. Farmers readily used cows to make up their spans when they were short of oxen. Many of the farmers used tractors occasionally when they needed to open up new land. Most animals grazed on communal land (natural pasture), receiving supplements, usually stover or lucerne, only when farmers considered their body condition to be poor. Priority was given to milk animals over working animals for supplementary feeding. The farmers’ main concerns regarding draught animals were the risks of drought, theft and disease, but they believed the use of these animals to be profitable because of the low outlay.
O’Neill, D.H.; Sneyd, J.; Mzileni, N.T.; Mapeyi, L.; Njekwa, L.M.; Israel, S. The use and management of draught animals by smallholder farmers in the former Ciskei and Transkei. Development Southern Africa (1999) 16 (2) 319-333. [DOI: 10.1080/03768359908440080]