Writes; Tshepo Heqoa
Khotsang Moshoeshoe is a passionate and highly skilled Merino breeder based in the highlands of the Mountain Kingdom, Mokhotlong. He is a Breeder Principal of Thabana-Ntlenyana Merino Stud. With his experiences of well over 35 years of livestock breeding and animal husbandry, he has achieved ingenious results in producing healthy lambs possessing the fine wool that the world market demand.
The workshop held at Mojalefa Lephole convention centre on the 11th September 2018 was initiated by Mo-Afrika FM and sponsored by The Silo Magazine with the aim of improving livestock husbandry through the facilitation of Mr Khotsang Moshoeshoe. The workshop focused on improving the wool and mohair industry rather than the boiling wool and mohair saga.
It was more of a discussion than a one way coding and decoding with a presentation preceding everything. The turn up of farmers beggared description, indicating the zeal and passion fuelled by the fibre industry. According to the 2017 world records, Lesotho ranks number 2 in the world on the mohair and number 26 on wool with regard to production respectively. Better and higher results can be attained.
As Moshoeshoe deliberated on the cause of the meeting he said that he heard from others including Mr Sebonomoea Ramainoane that they would only venture into the wool and mohair industry when they fully understand the need for breeding with all the benefits thereof.
“What we will focus on today is the Merino Sheep. I make a living with Sheep. It sustains livelihoods on the account that they are taken care of. I will mention something before we trail into today’s agenda. I will bring to your awareness three countries namely; Australia, South Africa and Lesotho.
Australia is a nation that was also subjected to colonialism by Great Britain who despite of this are able to buy private planes because of the Wool and Mohair industry. South Africans as well who were ruled by the British rear sheep and are able to have of most what the heart may desire including holiday homes. Lesotho has however failed to feature in such wealth accumulation,” Moshoeshoe said.
Livestock production systems all over the world can be simply divided into extensive (low input), intensive (high input) and semi extensive. From place to place the line between the systems can differ hence a lot of combinations can be found depending on the local conditions, climate, available feeding components, herd size, and more.
In Lesotho the farmers are encouraged to have a maximum of 200 Sheep and goats under intensive farming whereas the LNWMGA requires that all farmers should have at least 10 small stock to join the Association. Additionally, Moshoeshoe further added that these systems can be combined depending on the results desired by the farmer. “Stratification of the stock is one of the best things a farmer can do. A certain number of the flock should be under intensive farming at home. The feeding program of these sheep should be well calculated to precision as 12 sheep consume relatively the same amount of feed that a gelding (castrated horse) can eat.”
He said that in any business or enterprise, it is of utmost importance to have a vision and work tirelessly on it. This is always followed by the clear objectives of why one wishes to keep stock.
He said business laws and principles exclusively indicate the need to have a strong purpose that indicate why and how to pursue a particular field of interest. One does not need to keep sheep just for the purpose of keeping livestock but should generate huge sums of money to earn a living.
“A friend of mine from Australia on one occasion said ‘never-ever underestimate the sheep power’’
In every home there is a lifestyle. One has to note which diseases are prevalent in one’s own territory. One should take into consideration also the kind of feed that the animals need and which kind you are able to provide.
On annual basis, it is important to consider both the net income against the gross profits. If the profits are higher than the expenses, go for it. With the Merino sheep farming, you will have a peace of mind. This you can do concurrently with individual employment or other businesses you may engage in.