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Check All-That-Apply (CATA) analysis of lamb management practices and constraints faced by resource-limited sheep farmers in two ecologically different regions of South Africa

Lungu, N.S., Muchenje, V.
Small ruminant research 2018 v.160 pp. 107-115
castration, cold, computer software, dipping, drought, elderly, elementary schools, farmers, farms, heat, households, lambing, lambs, management systems, men, monitoring, predation, starvation, vaccination, wool production, South Africa
The check-all-that-apply (CATA) technique was used to determine lamb management practices and some constraints faced by resource-limited communal sheep farmers in the Sour veld and Sweet veld regions. A total of 107 respondents were involved in the study. Data generated from CATA was analysed using the XLSTAT 2016 software. Results showed that the majority of the households were headed by men (75.70%) and consisted of the elderly (˃50 years, 79.44%) who had attended primary school (67.29%) and were not employed (82.24%). Wool production was ranked the most important reason for keeping sheep in the two regions. The CATA revealed that the management systems between the two communities differed significantly (P ˂ .05) in terms of assisting sheep at lambing, attending to twin births, castration, monitoring lambing and dipping of mature lambs. Farmers’ age was associated with the type of management performed (P ˂ .05). None of the farmers in the regions performed navel dipping. Constraints faced in the two regions also differed significantly (P ˂ .05). The extent of theft, predation, cold, heat, foot rot, starvation, drought and lack of knowledge differed significantly (P ˂ .05) in the two regions. The CATA identified vaccination and dipping as the major missing practices in both regions. In conclusion, CATA was able to gather information on management practices and constraints faced by farmers based on their perceptions. CATA was also able to measure how farmers were managing sheep compared to what is expected in an “ideal” farm; at the same time revealing farmers’ preferences for certain management practices; making it an interesting method to use in developing animal improvement programmes.