New opportunities opening up for Trelawny cattle farmers
When the Trelawny Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) lost its $100-million fire truck in a bush fire in May, popular cattle farmer Dudley James also lost all the grass on his 100-acre farm, and had it not been for his quick action, his cows would have suffered a similar fate.
While he is currently struggling to find an adequate supply of grass for his cattle, the fire has created the scope for him to plant a new variety of grass that the Jamaica Dairy Development Board (JDDB) is recommending to cattle farmers.
Devon Sayers, the project coordinator at the JDDB, and James, are currently in discussions to see how they can work together to make this happen.
According to Sayers, the suggestion is for a tropical type of grass, which is currently being developed under laboratory conditions by the JDDB. It is expected to be of a superior nutritional standard, which will be great for the cows and lift the standard of the milk and beef they produce.
“The grass is a part of our lab work. These types of grass have a high protein content and are of a higher yield per acre,” explained Sayers. “The types of grass at the lab are the Mombasa, cobra, and mulatto two.”
James, whose cattle stock includes the much-revered Jamaica Red and Jamaica Black, is eagerly awaiting the planting of the grass to rebound from the fire.
“At the moment, it is costing me an arm and a leg to purchase feed commercially,” said James, in speaking to his current predicament.
JFB Acting Sergeant Dandra Young has said that, in recent times, firefighters have been developing new methods of fighting fires.
“We have had training for fire officers to help in the approach to put out fires before they become destructive. Members throughout the country have been exposed to methods of controlling fires and the prevention,” said Young.
Based on the Government’s plan to increase the production of milk and beef locally as a way of reducing the nation’s food import bill, it is critical that cattle farmers are in the loop as it relates to best practices.
In his recent visit to Trelawny, Sayers told cattle farmers that he stands ready to assist them to become better at what they do.
“The aim is to encourage you farmers who have leased lands here in Trelawny to look towards investing in cattle rearing,” said Sayers. “We are prepared to provide you with technical knowledge, to include pasturing and grass cultivation, which will help you manage climate change.”