Mugie Trading Stock
Community Cattle Program
Our community cattle program – Mugie Trading Stock, is a resource-sharing, livestock-to-market program. This means that local herders can benefit from our holistic grazing system, and are invested in the future of Mugie, and our conservation efforts. Cattle improve in health and condition, gaining weight in a way that is not harmful, but helpful, to the wildlife and rangelands we safeguard. Mugie is currently running trials to see how hay and fodder production can work with with sustainable grazing and conservation. Rotational grazing and holistic management can restore grasslands, which can lead to carbon sequestration, drought resilience, food security, and financially viable communities. Allen Savory discusses the method of holistic management here: https://www.savory.global/holistic-management/
Cattle Identification Project
Mugie is partnering with the Regional Pastoral Livelihoods Resilience Project (RPLRP) to trial a Livestock Identification Traceability System – a system of microchipping and recording data on cattle, from birth, through sale, and slaughter. Microchipping is the future for cattle in Kenya. Ear tags can be torn off, and ear notches and brands altered. Importantly, microchipping is a humane way of identifying livestock, that in the future could put a stop to cattle branding.
The ability to identify cattle has many benefits, not only for farmers and herders, but for food health on a national scale. Consumers will know the exact source of the meat they eat, which could help herders develop a reputation and earn more for high quality beef. This in turn will incentivize and reinforce the benefits of rangeland management and responsible farming, in turn safeguarding habitat both for humanity and wildlife.
Being able to track the development and provenance of an animal can help a farmer’s productivity. Knowing which cows put on weight most easily, can inform a farmer’s choices about breeding and allocation of resources, and can provide an earlier disease indicator. Cattle IDs not only help deter theft and other illegal activities but the information carried in a microchip can also have significant food safety implications.
Mugie Cattle Breeding Program
The Mugie Cattle Program now encompasses Artificial Insemination breeding services. This extends the ability of our selective breeding program to improve stock bloodlines. The target is to provide AI to 1000 head of community cattle each year and to Mugie’s own dairy and beef herds. We source semen from the Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centrein Kabete – including the sexed semen used for the dairy herd.
For live covers, Mugie has two Boran bulls. Other stock has been sourced from various different farms in Laikipia, selecting individuals based on their potential to add value to our program. Our aim is to progressively improve the bloodlines, encouraging quality rather than quantity, which in turn results in better market prices over a shorter period of time. Our goal is to elevate the quality of cattle by producing animals that can be finished and brought to a good weight at a younger age. This improvement in the breeding program will obviously have a positive impact for the local community, but likewise for the quality of Laikipia beef on a national scale.