For most cattle-keepers, keeping cattle involves waiting through many years to earn something from their investments.
For example, the average cow takes five years to mature and this is after a period of investment.
And yet, for those interested in selling cattle for beef, buying young bulls, fattening them, and then selling them off after between three and six months is good business.
Depending on the season, you can buy mature cows of two to three years at as low as sh700,000 in the cattle corridor, feed them intensively for three months and then sell them off for beef at more than twice the purchase amount.
For example, in places like Ngoma, Kyankwanzi, Kiboga, Mubende, and Ssembabule that are affected by drought during periods of the year, prices of cattle drop as farmers sell off excess stock in order to reduce the pressure on the pastures and water.
Good businessmen buy these, feed them well, to fatten, then sell them off. One beef head of cattle bought at sh400,000 can be sold at sh1,000,000 after just three to five months.
The cost of keeping the animal through this period is between sh100,000 and sh150,000, which gives a profit of between about sh300,000 per cow. But to do this, you should have some land where you can keep them.
About 50 acres of land can sustain 50 to 60 fattening cattle at any one time. Since these cattle stay on the farm for three to four months, then the cycle produces as many as 100 or slightly more per year.
Of these 50 acres, make sure that 10 acres are planted with grasses, like napier and brachiaria before the cattle are delivered. Under intensive zero-grazing practices, an acre of planted pasture can feed 1 cow and a heifer for a year.
However, since fattening is carried out under a semi-intensive practice, where the cattle are openly grazed, but also fed on the more nutritious grasses, the same acre of planted pasture can feed at least eight to 10 fattening cows per year, depending on the period of three to four months that they stay on the farm.
Feed intensely, with grasses, like napier, brachiaria, lab-lab plus open grazing for 90-120 days.
Experience shows that with intensive feeding, coupled with good clean water all the time, feed to weight conversion is fast and the cattle will increase weight by nearly half, depending on the condition that you acquired it in. You can then move and sell it off.