Cattle pen fattening is a very lucrative business in Zimbabwe. Cattle pen fattening involves the feeding of beef cattle with a protein balanced, high-energy diet for a period of 90 days under confinement to increase live weights and improve degree of finish and thus obtain better grades at the abattoir. Pen fattening enables the animals to express fully their genetic potential for growth. The demand of beef is very high in Zimbabwe, about 6500 metric tonnes per month. Zimbabweans love beef! This article will explain how to start a cattle pen fattening farming business in Zimbabwe, and the business plan.
Before you start a cattle pen fattening farming business in Zimbabwe, you have to decide how many cattle you want to keep, where you are going keep them, and your target market. The number of cattle you keep will depend on the amount of land and capital you have, and also the size of your target market. You should always carry out a feasibility study, market research and write a business plan before you venture into any business. Do not make the mistake of starting a cattle pen fattening business or any other business just because someone is doing it and he/she says it’s profitable.
What you need
A large enough area must be available for erecting the necessary feedlots. Assessment on the suitability of the plot for cattle fattening should be conducted. It is advisable to locate the project nearer to good roads as that will help minimize costs and enable the farmer have access to and from the project. There should be a reliable source of clean water that can be used for both human and animal consumption, such as boreholes, rivers and dams. In case of inadequate water source, a reservoir could be constructed.
You will need to construct feedlots for the cattle. A beef cattle feedlot/pen is a confined yard area with watering and feeding facilities where cattle are completely hand or mechanically fed for the purpose of beef production. Feeding is done under confinement to prevent loss of energy through movement. Proper housing is important in successful cattle fattening business. Adequately protect animals against the adverse effects of weather when they are raised in relatively small areas. Cattle housing must offer very easy access to food and water, freedom of movement, ventilation that prevents harmful effects from poor air quality and natural ventilation and light.
You need the cattle to fatten. You can fatten your own cattle which you have, or you can buy the cattle to fatten. If you are buying the cattle, you or your buyers must be experienced in evaluating the potential for fattening of different types of cattle (maturity type, breed, age, gender) in relation to the market price of different grades of beef. The native breeds like Mashona are the ones which are usually used in Zimbabwe for cattle fattening, and they perform well. Money to buy animals must be available at all times. A lack of funds to buy in animals when prices are favourable could lose an opportunity to make a profit.
Live stock is usually cheaper in the rural areas. People in areas like Muzarabani, Dande and Guruve have plenty of cattle. They are also in need of money for school fees, food, groceries, clothes etc. They have cattle, but they do not have cash, so they sell their livestock in order to get cash for their needs. Because of the large supply of cattle in those areas, and their need of cash, the prices of the cattle are low. You can buy cattle in Muzarabani from as low as $150, depending on its size and type. Usually the prices of most of the cattle are from $150-$300, which is cheaper compared to other parts of the country. You need very good negotiation skills, so that you buy the cattle at a low price. At the time of writing this article (February 2016), because of the drought in Zimbabwe, cattle are being sold at very low prices (US$50) in parts of Masvingo province like Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Chikombedzi. There is shortage of water and pastures thus the villagers are being forced to sell their cattle because if they do not sell, their cattle will die.
Feed is the biggest cost in cattle pen fattening business. The cattle must be fed the correct quantity of the right feed mixture so that they grow efficiently, utilize the feed efficiently, produce good quality meat, thus maximizing your profit. Failure to give the cattle the required feed may lead to you missing the slaughter weight targets, and meat quality, which may lead to a loss. You can buy complete, balanced meals, designed for finishing cattle in pens over the normal 90 days. They are high energy fattening meals containing all nutrients necessary for ad lib cattle pen fattening. Feeding rate will depend on factors such as live weight and age of the animal, but normally averages between 8-15kg per head per day or 3.4% of a steer’s live mass per day, and average daily gain at 350Kg live mass is about 1.6Kg. After 90 days of feeding the cattle with the right feed, the beef will achieve the highest grade quality, which is super beef, thus fetch a higher price on the market.
So what cattle pen fattening does is to increase the weight of the cattle over 90 days (more weight, more money when you sell) and to increase the quality of the meat (higher grade of beef, more money when you sell). When you bring your cattle to the abbatoir, they will slaughter it and grade the meat according to its quality. So you will be paid according to the weight of the beef, and the grade. The grade of the beef will determine the unit price per KG. There are 5 grades usually used, which are Manufacturing, which is the lowest quality beef, followed by Economy, Commercial, Choice and Super beef, which is the highest quality grade. If you use the right feed, the cattle should fetch Super beef grade after the 90 days of cattle fattening. You can get the cattle feed from National Foods, and Agrifoods.
You will need money for constructing the feedlots, buying the cattle, buying the stock feeds e.t.c. So the scale of your cattle pen fattening farming project will also depend on the amount of capital you have. That is why it is essential for you to have a business plan before you venture into the cattle pen fattening business, so that you know all the costs involved and you make an informed decision.
There are many abattoirs in Harare which slaughter cattle and buy beef. Note that the price of beef varies throughout the year, as it is affected by factors such as demand and supply. Koala Park abattoir, Montana Meats and Surrey Meats are some of the biggest abattoirs which buy beef. The price for beef depends on the grade i.e. quality of the meat. After cattle fattening, it is expected that your cattle will have the highest quality of beef, which is the super grade. You can also sell your cattle at Auctions, such as those held by CC Sales throughout the country.
Butcheries are big customers for your beef. Many butcheries buy beef from small scale and medium scale producers. You will have to negotiate for good payment terms, preferably cash.
Cattle fattening in Zimbabwe is very profitable when done the right way. The profitability of the cattle pen fattening business depends on the buying price of the cattle, cost of the feed, price margin, feed margin, feed conversion efficiency ratio, unit cost per KG when selling. It is important that you understand the mentioned margins and conversion ratios before you start the business. You can easily calculate how much profit you will get buy buying and fattening the cattle at a specific price if you understand the margins and conversion ratios, and thus you will make an informed decision of whether to buy the cattle at the specified price or not. The maximum price payable for the cattle must be calculated before you start the business. It is easy to make a financial loss before fattening even starts by paying too much for the animals. All those factors are clearly explained in our business plan.
Pre-Written Business Plan for Cattle Pen Fattening : Comprehensive Version, Short Bank Loan Version, Automated Excel Financial Statements
For an in-depth analysis of the cattle pen fattening business in Zimbabwe, purchase our business plan. We decided to introduce the business plans after noting that many Zimbabweans were venturing into the cattle pen fattening business without a full understanding of the industry, market, how to run the business, the risks involved, profitability of the business and the costs involved, leading to a high failure rate of their businesses.
Our business plan will make it easier for you to launch and run a cattle pen fattening business successfully, fully knowing what you are going into, and what’s needed to succeed in the business. It will be easier to plan and budget as the cattle pen fattening business plan will lay out all the costs involved in setting up and running the business. The business plan is designed uniquely for the Zimbabwean market.
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Uses of the Cattle Fattening Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
The cattle pen fattening business plan can be used for many purposes including:
- Raising capital from investors/friends/relatives
- Applying for a bank loan
- Start-up guide to launch your cattle pen fattening business
- As a project proposal
- Assessing profitability of the cattle pen fattening business
- Finding a business partner
- Assessing the initial start-up costs so that you know how much to save
- Manual for current business owners to help in business and strategy formulation
Contents of the Cattle Pen Fattening Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
The business plan includes, but not limited to:
- Market Analysis
- Industry Analysis
- Automated Financial Statements (income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, break even analysis, loan repayment calculations, start-up costs)
- Marketing Strategy
- Risk Analysis
- SWOT & PEST Analysis
- Operational Requirements (e.g. type of housing required, feed required e.t.c.)
- Management of Cattle (choosing the type of cattle, managing the cattle in feedlots etc)
- Operational Strategy
- Why some Zimbabweans in cattle pen fattening business fail, so that you can avoid their mistakes
- Ways to raise capital to start your cattle pen fattening business in Zimbabwe
The cattle pen fattening business plan includes technical aspects of how to keep and to take care of the cattle. It also includes a mini-directory with contacts which will prove to be helpful in launching and running the cattle pen fattening business. E.g. We will provide the contact details of the companies that produce feeds, abattoirs e.t.c.
The Cattle Fattening business plan package consist of 4 files
- Cattle Pen Fattening Business Plan – PDF file (Comprehensive – 69 pages)
- Cattle Fattening Business Plan – Editable Word File (Comprehensive – 69 pages)
- Cattle Pen Fattening Business Plan Bank Version – Editable Word File (Short version for applying for a loan – 37 pages)
- Cattle Fattening Business Plan Automated Financial Statements – (Editable Excel file)
Business plan last updated in July 2018.
The financial statements are automated. This implies that you can change eg the number of cattle, price per cattle etc, and all the other financial statements will automatically adjust to reflect the change.
Get the Cattle Fattening Business Plan (PDF, Word And Excel)
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