The impact of the dry season on economical traits in Nigerian animal agriculture is a complex challenge that significantly influences various aspects of livestock management and production. One prominent effect is the utilisation of crop residues for grazing, predominantly observed in cattle and, to a lesser extent, small stock. This practice becomes crucial as natural forage diminishes during the dry season by affecting the availability of feed resources for livestock.
Animal nutrition bears the brunt of the dry season, characterised by a decline in protein content and nutritive value of herbage. This phenomenon results in lowered digestibility, feed intake, and energy deficiency, ultimately impacting animal production and the overall economic output of the livestock sector. Reproductive and productive performance of livestock is another critical aspect affected by seasonal variations, especially during the dry season. Studies on hair sheep in Nigeria reveal significant implications on both biological and economic criteria, highlighting the need for adaptive strategies in animal husbandry practices (Farrag, 2022).
The evolution of livestock production in Nigeria towards a market-oriented approach necessitates a comprehensive performance and economic analysis during the dry season. Evaluating animal performance and economic variables becomes paramount in ensuring sustainable and profitable livestock management. The Food and Agricultural Organisation’s report on Africa Sustainable Livestock (2050), a noteworthy transformation brought about by the dry season, is the shift from traditional nomadic herding to sedentary and intensive grazing systems. This transition responds to environmental concerns and underscores the growing importance of sustainable practices in Nigerian animal agriculture by balancing economic considerations with ecological sustainability, becoming a focal point in shaping the future of livestock production in the country.
Summarily, the dry season casts a substantial impact on the economic traits of animal agriculture in Nigeria. From its influence on animal nutrition to reproductive and productive performance, and the shift towards sustainable and market-oriented practices, these factors underscore the need for adaptive and strategic measures in the management of livestock. Addressing the challenges posed by the dry season is not only crucial for the resilience of the animal agriculture sector, but also for ensuring food security, economic stability, and environmental sustainability.