George Wainaina April 17, 2016

This exposure visit took place on 17th April 2016 in Mukurwe-ini Nyeri. The lesson majored mainly in feeding dairy cows from a reknowned Dairy farmer Mr. Njoroge.

Cows gain their energy through feeding and hence the diet really matters. The farmer Mr. Charles Njoroge strongly insisted that napier grass as a cow feed should be done away with and use of maize ant the milk stage in silage was a more better option since it contained more energy. He also emphasized that anyone who wishes to venture in dairy farming should first think of securing enough feeds for a whole year before thinking of venturing into the trade.

There was keen interest in silage making process which he explained in details as it reduces labour feeding his cows and allows multiple land use seasonwise, he termed it youth friendly and hence sustainable.

This are among other points that were strongly brought up in the visit:

  1. Dairy farmers should ensure that there is protein availability in their feeds. it should be either from seeds of sunflower or  soya bean or from leaves of lucern, desmodium,  mulbery, trichadria or calliandra. Protein feeding from leaves of the plants above should not exceed 7kg per cow and from the seeds it should range from 0.5kg to 1kg per day per cow. These proteins should be given to the  cows after miliking so that the milk does not take up the smell especially from sweet potato vines. Those present got seeds of the above plants so as to go and experiment their productivity and ability to grow in their respective regions in Kenya

  2. The farmer also emphasized on minerals in feeds for cows. He recommended 100m g/l and an additional 12mg for every litre of milk produced by the cow.

  3. Roughage should be fed in the range of 3 to 5 kg per cow per day.

The famers present were also previledged to see the structures at the farm and the cows and all their questions concerning animal husbandry were answered. He also detailed good calf  rearing and feeding practices.

Those who attended came out different and were challenged by a farmer doing over 30 l/day/cow  at a very low production rate on only 1.6acres of land.

see photos of the visit here

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