Livestock farming is animal husbandry or animal agriculture. Livestock includes sheep, goats, pigs, horses, mules, asses, beef and dairy cattle, camels and buffalos; the raising of birds commercially for eggs or meat . See the article ” animal agriculture perfect guide ” to read more about animal agriculture.
Agriculture plays a vital role in supplying food to the world in the form of rice, wheat, grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. similarly, animal products are essential in the daily nutrient intake of a person. Therefore, animal agriculture and aquaculture have spread their wings to meet the increased livestock demand worldwide. As a result of international trade and the mutual benefit principle, capable and resourceful countries operate livestock farming activities on a large scale.
So let us explore common livestock types one by one. To begin with, let us choose cattle. Cattle are raised mainly for milk and meat, which give rise to plenty of other bi-products. Several beef cattle breeds originated in the British Isles, including Herefords, Angus, beef Shorthorns, and Galloways which were later exported to other countries.
In 1817, Henry Clay of Kentucky, a statesman of the United States, imported the first purebred Herefords to America. Since then, Hereford has become the most popular beef breed in the United States, and today breeders make effective efforts to increase both mature size and its rate of weight gain to satisfy the demand for cheaper, leaner beef. However, other countries have produced reputed cattle breeds as follows.
India – Brahman (to read more about this breed, refer to our article on Introduction to Brahman Cow)
France – Charolais, Limousin, Normandy
Switzerland – Simmental (to read more about this breed, refer to the article on Why Simmental Cattle are Popular?)
Africa – Africander
Pigs are primarily used to produce meat with a higher demand worldwide (You can read our article 5 things about world’s mostly consume meat for more information). Pigs are easily raised both indoors and outdoors. Their feeding is essential as you raise them exclusively for meat (Read the feeder pigs article where we have described how to feed pigs). Despite their only economic purpose of pork production, there are various breeds of pigs with different attributes. Most of these breeds are from the USA.
United States of America – Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, Spotted boar breed.
United Kingdom – Yorkshire boar
In present-day farming, countries with developed pork production depend on artificial insemination. What happens here is diluting the semen from one boar ejaculate to make 20 inseminations, each one containing two to six billion sperms. Furthermore, the semen is collected from selected animals with the highest genetic merit to produce improved boars. The semen can be processed or collected from the selected animals by the stud farmers or producers specializing in semen collection and marketing.
Sheep are famous for wool production and can subsist on sparse forage and little water. The wool produced from sheep is light concerning two features; its value and imperishable nature. As a result of these qualities, sheep wool has a high demand, and it is exported and imported for the clothing industry. However, in the 20th century, sheep-raising in some areas of the western United States declined in favor of more profitable cattle.
Some of the selected breeds of sheep are as follows.
Black-Faced Highland ram, developed in Scotland and used in Scotland, the US, Italy, Argentina
Columbia ram developed in the US
Corriedale ram developed in New Zealand, the US, and Australia
Cotswold ewe originated in England and is now also in the US
Dorset ram developed in England, now in the US and Australia
Hampshire ram developed in England, now also widespread in the US
Karakul ram originated in Central Asia; now it can be found in Africa, Europe, and the US
The Leicester ram is among the typical livestock of Leicestershire, England.
Lincoln ram originated in England, Australia, New Zealand, and North and South America.
Merino was originally from Spain but is now from Australia, North America, and South Africa.
Rambouillet ram, developed in France in the 18th century, is now also in the US.
Apart from the breeds mentioned above, more than 200 breeds of sheep worldwide. However, the majority of them are of limited interest except in the local areas where they are raised. Considering the quality and attributes of the wool, sheep breeds are classified as medium, long, and fine.
Goats produce several items, such as milk, cheese, mohair, skin, and meat. Goat milk is produced primarily in China, Great Britain, Europe, and North America. Unlike cattle, goats are ideal milk producers for small-scale milk production for the family table. Even one or two goats can supply sufficient to fulfil milk requirements for a family throughout the year.
Angora goat – originated in Turkey, now South Africa, United States.
Boer goat – originally from South Africa
Cashmere goat – originated in China, now Asia and the Middle East (you can read more on Cashmere wool by referring to our website)
Other Livestock Farming Activities
Those mentioned above are only a few commonly used animals for livestock production. However, ducks raised for eggs, meat, lambs, and rabbits are also crucial in livestock production. You can explore more livestock farming by reading our articles on each of them.