Meatco’s Feedlot at Okapuka is a more intensive animal production system which aids animals younger than 18 months, but weighing more than 280 kilograms in achieving the desired marketability. There is a difference between Meatco’s Okapuka Feedlot and conventional feedlots in the sense that it does not use growth hormones, routine antibiotics or animal byproducts and animal welfare is always a priority. Animals are kept in the feedlot for a period of not longer than 90 days.
The feedlot receives cattle from all over Namibia as long as they are traceable and originate from south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence. For the first day and night the animals are only fed grass to ease them into feedlot conditions. This is an added measure to ensure that animals experience minimal stress.
The day after arrival animals are injected against diseases as required by Namibian law. They are also sprayed with dip to remove ticks and given a mixture to treat internal parasites. They are brand marked and given an electronic RFID ear tag, which contains information about the animal.
In the Okapuka feedlot there are three types of rations. For the first 14 days animals receive a starter mix, which is higher roughage and lower in energy content. For the following 46 days they are fed the grower mix, which is lower in roughage and higher in energy content. During the final 30 days animals are fed the finisher ration which contains less roughage and higher energy content.
Approximately 50 tonnes of feed is given to the animals each day. The feedlot has a standing capacity of 5 000 cattle. It is usually stocked at 4 500, which leaves about 7.5 square metre for each animal.
The Okapuka feedlot has a throughput of approximately 16 500 animals for slaughter each year. The significant difference between Meatco’s feedlot and conventional feedlots is that animals in the Okapuka feedlot have spent the majority of their lives in the veldt and come to the feedlot to be finished for the market.
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