Many dairy farmers have raised inquiries concerning the most effective practices for a profitable zero-grazing enterprise. Dairy farmers ought to perceive that zero-grazing is different from zero feeding.

Many farmers have incurred huge prices in putting in place zero-grazing enterprises however have ended up failing miserably. Influential leaders haven’t been spared either. And all this is often because of an absence of understanding of the pertinent needs for a profitable zero-grazing investment.

Zero-grazing or stall feeding is essentially confining animals in an exceedingly stall and feeding them there. There’s minimum movement of cows because they’re not allowed to graze within the fields and so the term zero grazing. Several dairy farmers in Kenya hold the zero-grazing model of farm production attributable to the various advantages accruing from it. Issues like shortage of pasture, low productivity of dairy cows, caliber fodder, prevalence of diseases and lack of cash are handled during this system of farm production.

The zero-grazing unit

Zero-grazing unit aspect elevation

Zero-grazing
A farmer milking his cows (Source: Farmers trend)

Cows are unbroken and fed within the stall all year. The positioning where the unit is constructed determines the potency of operations throughout the zero-grazing enterprise. It ought to be close to as potential to the supply of forage to scale back labor prices of carrying the cut grass to the cows and carrying manure back to the farm. Zero-grazing needs an increased level of labor input, due to the requirement to chop grass daily. The time demand is about three-man hours/cow/day. Proximity to the homestead in respect to the biogas plant is additionally a very important thought.

The quality and amount of construction material ought to be assessed completely to work out the smallest amount potential value whereas maintaining quality of the house. Quality materials that are regionally accessible will greatly scale back prices. The cow shed should be practical, low cost and long lasting. The selection of a skilled worker is vital as a result of plenty of high-priced material may be wasted by hiring a foul skilled worker. Note that the foremost expensively engineered stable isn’t perpetually the most effective and most economical one. Farmers are advised to use recommended zero-grazing housing plans.

Improved dairy breeds

In order to extend milk production, you would like to target fewer, higher fed and higher quality animals. Stock the units with dairy cows that are bred specifically for milk yield. Vital dairy breeds of cows in Kenya for high-milk yield are Jersey, Ayrshire, Guernsey, milk cow and Sahiwal.

Maintain the farm breeds by upgrading your stock through AI exploitation tested dairy-bull semen. choosing sensible cows and culling non-playacting ones let alone sensible calf rearing for replacement stock ought to be an integral part of the system.

Adequate forage resource base

Grassland management and adaptability are the keys to the effectiveness of this method. Planning is vital to confirm there’s perpetually adequate forage accessible for the animals. Zero-grazing will offer opportunities for herd growth by increased forage utilization or through accessing land on the far side cow walking distance for grazing. Assume commercially and recognize the most forage production potential of your farm holding and therefore the potential quantity of off farm forage accessible to your herd in an exceedingly given year. This may change you to work out the most range of animals your zero-grazing enterprise can support. The quantity of forage, if obtained inside or outside the farm, is really the one most resource that determines the quantity of cows or animals which will be sustained within the unit because of.

  • In feeding the cows the forage to concentrate quantitative relation cannot surpass 60:40 %. A quantitative relation of 70:30 is suggested.
  • Forages take time to ascertain as hostile concentrates which might be purchased on demand.

Elephant (nappier) grass (penisetum puperum) grass is most well-liked because the main fodder crop as a result of it’s advantage of being comparatively simple to grow and re-grows apace when cutting. Different helpful crops or grasses are fodder maize and fodder sorghum. Opt for the foremost appropriate fodder to your section.

Replenish soil fertility by utilization of all manure on the Napier crop each two to three days. Apply four luggage of fifty kg of fertilizer NPK fertilizer (20-10-10) per acre per annum. This could additionally apply once establishing different quite fodder. Harvest the mature Napier grass when it’s mature to 60-90cm tall. The aim should be to supply the best quantity of dry matter (DM) per unit area of fodder.

Plant 0.75 – one acre of Napier grass per mature cow and her offspring.  A daily intake of 75-100kg of recent grass/cow may be achieved with sensible management to give a dry matter intake of 14-16kg/day. A recent weight intake of 100kg/cow/day would be needed for 15kg DM of grass.

Become brilliant at manufacturing and preserving feed for the season to confirm that milk production is maintained at a gentle rate throughout the year. one in all the best issues is providing sensible quality feed to the herd throughout the season. Dig a silage pit to store and preserve animal feed. Learn to store grass to be used throughout the season by creating your own silage and fodder. The increased utilization of off farm fodder will provide a rise of stocking rate on the farm. You’ll be able to get or rent additional land for animal feed or purchase feed from neighbors.

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Feeding

Cows fed to capability on grasses alone have the potential to supply up to a most of seven kilos of milk per day. Extra milk is supported by concentrates. Keep in mind that it’s pointless to feed supplements once forage needs don’t seem to be met.

Give concentrate supplement because the main supply of energy and energy. Most farmers like giving farm meal to the cows at milking time. Supplement at a rate of one kilo for every 1.5 liters of milk the cow produces on prime of the seven kilos of milk contributed by grass. Different concentrates like edible seed cake, cotton seed cake and bran are accessible. For instance, farmers say that the employment of brewer’s waste as a feeding supplement, ad lib, will increase milk production by seven liters per day.

But the foremost vital factor is to own your ration formula right. Ration formulation could be an advanced method and any farmer cannot simply bed. You may want the talents of skilled professional to return up with the proper mixture of the feeds accessible to your cows. Invest in an exceedingly chaff-cutter to mill crop residues for feed so nothing goes to waste. Cows should have adequate feeding house, and wastage should be monitored, to confirm feed intake is maximized. Wastage ought to be but five-hitter, and refused material should be far away from the feeding space daily, as this can decompose rapidly.

Innovative dairy farmers have come back up with home-mix farm rations. An example composition of a one hundred kilo of home-mix farm ration is forty kilo flower cake, forty kilo maize grain, ten kilo sorghums, five kilo Glycine max beans and five kilo dried cassava chips. The mixture is dried and processed. Farmers who use this home-mix state that they get double as much milk from their home combine as they are doing for constant amount of purchased business dairy meal.

Mineral lick ought to be offered to the cows ad libitum within the mineral box. Water ought to be accessible throughout the day because it makes most of the milk.

Stable manure production

Manure ought to be treated rigorously to reap most get benefit from it. Manure contain high content of organic matter and minerals that improve soil fertility so forage yields and is supply of material for biogas production. Cover the manure pit to stop nitrogen losses.

One cow will produce up to twenty tons of compost per year depending on accessibility of crop residues. Twenty tons of compost contains close to eighty kilos of nitrogen, forty kilos of phosphate and ten kilos of hydroxide. If valued against current fertilizer costs, this composition is valued at KSh. 2000.

The manure made from three cows is comfortable to supply the quantity of gas required for cooking and lighting within the farm.

Oxfarm Organic Ltd enlightens modern farmers on the best farming methods. We also have a variety of seedlings which we sell at affordable prices to our customers. Book yours now!

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