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DAIRY FARM TOUR; 11th August 2018, Tujenge Dairy Farm – Embu County

Oxfarm.co.ke in Collaboration with farmers trend and FarmExpose Event Embu County

 

Next farm tour and training to be held at Tujenge Dairy Farm in Embu County

Theme: How to run and manage a modern dairy farm on a small piece of land.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE FARM TOUR & TRAINING

Expect to learn on the following
  • Dairy farming as a business
  • Production and herd structure
  • Animal health
  • Calf rearing/young stock management
  • Feeds/feeding management (TMR system)
  • Groupings and requirements
  • Cow comfort and efficiency
  • Herd management
  • Adoption of technology
  • Socio-economic management
  • Challenges

CHARGES PER HEAD

  • 4,000/= Inclusive of transport (to and from Nairobi), Breakfast, Lunch and Writing Materials
  • 3,300/= Exclusive of Transport
  • Payable to “Farmers Trend” Mpesa TILL number 201677 {Buy Goods & Services Option}

 

ABOUT TUJENGE DAIRY FARM

The farm was started with only two cows in 1977 by David Wachira. Located at Mutunduri, about 5km from Embu town off the Embu-Nairobi highway, sits Tujenge Farm, a modern dairy outfit with towering credentials.

The farm currently hosts 500 dairy cows and has extensively employed technology, some sourced from abroad, to reap maximum benefits.

From the gate, one can see how orderly the four acre farm is. A third of it is under zero-grazing while the rest hosts storage facilities and offices.

At the zero-grazing unit, each shed holds cows depending on their ages and status. For instance, there are sheds for 12line milking parlor that milks 12 cows at-ago, for calves, heifers, a maternity wing and a sick bay.

Each cow has a cow mat, with the sheds being cleaned thoroughly twice a day.

Only 200cows are being milk, with a herd average of 35litres, the farm produces 7,400litres of milk everyday, with airline industries in Kenya being their major client as explained by David Wachira – The founder of the farm.

After milking, the produce is then chilled to around 2 degrees Celsius for preservation so that the milk reaches the buyer when it is at 5-6 degrees Celsius.

 

“Getting good milk, in both quantity and quality, is all about giving the animals the correct concentrates and feeding them right. One should also keep proper records and make good managerial decisions, including being financially prudent.”

 

Tujenge Farm has up-to-date records that capture every single activity on the farm. They include records on reproduction, growth or weight, health, mating, feeding and finances.

The employees always monitor the animals to detect and record when they are on heat, when they are served and when they are about to calve.

To ensure their animals get the right feed concentrate, the farm produces its own dairy meal that consists of whole grain maize, cotton seedcake, sunflower, fishmeal, salt lick and a mixture of quicklime, among other ingredients. The cows’ feeds consists of a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) that comprises of silage, lucerne, hay and dairy meal mixed with molasses. TMR combines forages, grains, protein feeds, minerals, vitamins and feed additives mixed to make a specific nutrient concentration.

They mix the ruminal magnet with feeds and offer them to the cow. The cow swallows the magnate and it lodges in the omasum, the third stomach, where it is retained in an animal’s entire life, with its function being to capture metals that the cow might swallow. The farm has received several awards, national and international.

 

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How to make Silage for your Dairy Cows in Kenya

Hay and silage are preserved feed for dairy animals that come in handy during dry seasons when the green forage is unavailable. Silage making involves fermentation under anaerobic conditions preventing fresh fodder from decomposing and allowing it to keep its nutrient quality.

The process needs sufficient soluble carbohydrates (sugars) for organic acid production. It is recommended that you add molasses to the fodder for its rich in sugars, that allow bacteria to produce organic acids immediately. Acidification and preservation process is catalyzed by the amount of molasses that is added. The more the molasses the faster the process.

Read: How to make millions from watermelons farming

Why you should feed your cows on Silage

It improves high milk production as well as healthy dairy animals, particularly during dry seasons. It is laxative, palatable, digestible, nutritious and requires less space as compared to hay. 

Preparation of Silage

Silage Making process
Suitable Maize for Silage

In Kenya, silage making from maize is popular and forage can be cut from baby maize (at this stage it has highest nutrition value) and can produce maize silage.

Step 1. A farmer needs to decide on the type of crop to be grown for forage or silage. You need to choose hybrid and perennial varieties of crops which can be grown in short duration and produced multiple times.

Step 2. Choose a dry place to dig a pit on slightly sloping ground and depth of the pit should decrease from the higher side of the sloping ground to the lower side by giving wedge like shape. Normally, size and dimension of the pit size depends on the amount of the forage to be stored. For instance, to make 20 bags of forage, you need to dig the pit of 2 cubic metres and 10 m polythene bag and 30 liters of molasses.

Step 3. Using chaff cutter, cut the forage to be preserved into 1 inch pieces.

Step 4. To prevent the forage contact with soil, place the polythene sheet by covering the bottom of the pit and all sides of the pit.

Step 5. Chopped forage should be placed into the pit and spread into a thinlayer and the process repeated until a third of the pit is covered.

Step6. One liter of mollases should be diluted with three liters of water and sprinkled evenly on the forage to be preserved.

Step7. To prevent the forage from rotting, use garden sprayer to evenly distribute the solution (from step 6) throughout silage pit and this will also help in feeding micro-organisms to make the silage ferment quickly and save the silage from rotting.

Step 8. The forage should be pressed with feet to make the air out and protect from fungal attack. This ought to be done with caution as little air causes the fungus and damage the forage.

Step 9. Add more bags of chopped forage after making the room with diluted mollases. Repeat the process of adding forage with diluted molases and pressing until the pit is filled in a doom shape.

Step 10. Pit should be covered after final processing with polythene sheet on top to prevent from any water contact and diga small trench around the sides of the pit.

Step 11. Now the pit should be covered with soil to make the sir out and prevent the polythene damage from rain, birds or any other animals.

Step. 12 The conversation through fermentation may take weeks. Leave the pit until there is a shortage of fodder. The silage can last up to 2 years if it is prepared with well sheeting and good soil cover.

Step 13. To use the silage, open the pit from the lower side of the slope, take the enough silage fodder for one day and close the pit again.

It takes about 30 to 40 days for the silage to mature and be ready for feeding. Never open the whole silage pit at once.

Read: Water storage can help farmers during dry seasons

Silage quality

Silage can be classified as good quality depending on its physical characteristics like taste, smell, and colour but more precisely by measuring the pH in the pit.

A pH of 3.5 to 4.2 indicates excellent fresh acidic/sweetish silage, 4.2 to 4.5 for good acidic, 4.5 to 5.0 fair less acidic and above 5.0 for poor pungent/rancid smelling silage.

Good silage should be light greenish or greenish brown or golden in colour. It should have a pleasant smell like that of vinegar, and acidic in taste, and should not contain mould.

Black indicates poor silage. Overheated silage has the smell of burnt sugar and dry in texture. Badly fermented silage has offensive taste, strong smell, slimy soft texture when rubbed from the fibre or leaf.

Read: Why buy vegetables while you can have your own bag garden?

Feeding Dairy cows with silage

A cow is fed with silage depending on the body weight or generally be given about 6kg to 15kg of silage per day. It is advisable not to feed silage immediately before or during milking especially when the quality is poor as the milk can easily take the smell of the feeds. During these times, a cow can be fed fresh grass, hay, legumes and concentrates. After feeding silage, the bunks and corners of the feeding troughs should be cleaned immediately to prevent contamination.

Read: Profitable poultry farming and production in Kenya

Dairy farmers in Kenya should consider making their own silage rather than buying from outside. If you are planning on having your own silage, plant maize.

 

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8 deadly cattle diseases and how to control/treat them

Cattle Disease is a big challenge in the general success of any dairy farm. You may have learnt by now that dairy farming is one of the best agribusiness investment in Kenya today. Nevertheless, pests and diseases have still hindered many farmers from achieving their goals. Below are some of the fatal diseases and how to control them.

Mastitis cattle disease

In Kenya, Mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary gland, is the most common and the most expensive disease of dairy cattle. Although stress and physical injuries may cause inflammation of the gland, infection by invading bacteria or other microorganisms (fungi, yeasts and possibly viruses) is the primary cause of mastitis. Infections begin when microorganisms penetrate the teat canal and multiply in the mammary gland.

Treatment of Mastitis

  • Success depends on the nature of the etiological agent involved, the severity of the disease and the extent of fibrosis.
  • Complete recovery with freedom from bacterial infection can be obtained in cases of recent infection and in those where fibrosis has taken place only to a small extent.
  • Such drugs as acriflavine, gramicidin and tyrothricin have now ceased to be in use, and have given place to the more effective drugs, such as sulphonamides, penicillin and streptomycin.

Anthrax cattle disease

It is a highly infectious and fatal disease of cattle, caused by a relatively large spore-forming rectangular shaped bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax occurs on all the continents, causes acute mortality in ruminants. The bacteria produce extremely potent toxins which are responsible for the ill effects, causing a high mortality rate. The bacteria produce spores on contact with oxygen. Signs of the illness usually appear 3 to 7 days after the spores are swallowed or inhaled. Once signs begin in animals, they usually die within two days. Hoofed animals, such as deer, cattle, goats, and sheep, are the main animals affected by this disease. They usually get the disease by swallowing anthrax spores while grazing on pasture contaminated (made impure) with anthrax spores. Inhaling (breathing in) the spores, which are odorless, colorless, and tasteless, may also cause infection in animals and people. In the case of terrorism, large numbers of anthrax spores may be released into the air.

Symptoms of Anthrax

  • Sudden death (often within 2 or 3 hours of being apparently normal) is by far the most common sign;
  • Very occasionally some animals may show trembling, a high temperature
  • Difficulty breathing, collapse and convulsions before death. This usually occurs over a period of 24 hours;
  • After death blood may not clot, resulting in a small amount of bloody discharge from the nose, mouth and other openings

How to control and treat Anthrax

  • Due to the acute nature of the disease resulting in sudden death, treatment is usually not possible in animals even though anthrax bacilli are clines. Treatment is of use in cases showing sub-acute form of the disease.
  • In most cases, early treatment can cure anthrax. The cutaneous (skin) form of anthrax can be treated with common antibiotics such as penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, and ciprofloxacin (Cipro).

Black Quarter (Black – leg) Cattle disease

It is an acute infectious and highly fatal, bacterial disease of cattle. It also infects sheep and goats. Young cattle between 6-24 months of age, in good body condition are mostly affected. It is soil-borne infection which generally occurs during rainy season. It is a bacterial disease caused by Clostridium chauvoei

Symptoms of Black Quarter

  • Loss of appetite, Depression, Fever, and dullness
  • Suspended rumination
  • Rapid pulse and heart rates
  • Difficult breathing (dyspnoea)
  • Lameness in affected leg
  • Crepitation swelling over hip, back & shoulder.
  • Swelling is hot & painful in early stages whereas cold and painless inter.
  • Recumbency (prostration) followed by death within 12-48 hrs.

How to Treat Black Quarter

  • Penicillin @ 10,000 units /Kg body weight 1M & locally daily for 5-6 days
  • Oxytetracycline in high doses i.e. 5-10 mg/Kg body weight 1M or IV
  • Indcse the swelling and drain off
  • Q. antiserum in large does, if available.
  • Avil / Cadistin @ 5-10 ml IM

Foot-and-mouth cattle disease

Foot and Mouth Cattle disease
Foot and Mouth Disease

The foot-and-mouth disease is a highly communicable disease affecting cloven-footed animals. It is characterized by fever, formation of vesicles and blisters in the mouth, udder, teats and on the skin between the toes and above the hoofs. Animals recovered from the disease present a characteristically rough coat and deformation of the hoof. In Kenya, the disease is widespread and assumes a position of importance in livestock industry. The disease spreads by direct contact or indirectly through infected water, manure, hay and pastures. It is also conveyed by cattle attendants. It is known to spread through recovered animals, field rats, and birds.

Symptoms of foot and mouth cattle disease

  • Fever
  • Profuse salivation ropes of stringy saliva hangs from mouth
  • Vesicles appear in mouth and in the inter digital space
  • Lameness observed
  • Cross bred cattle are highly susceptible to it

Treatment of foot and Mouth cattle disease

  • The external application of antiseptics contributes to the healing of the ulcers and wards off attacks by flies.
  • A common and inexpensive dressing for the lesions in the feet is a mixture of coal-tar and copper sulphate in the proportion of 5:1.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Start an Agribusiness in Kenya Today

Ringworm cattle disease

This is the most common infectious skin  cattle disease affecting beef cattle. It is caused by a fungus, and is transmissible to man. Typically the disease appears as crusty grey patches usually in the region of the head and neck and particularly around the eyes.

As a first step in controlling this cattle disease, it is recommended that, whenever possible, affected animals should be segregated and their pens or stalls cleaned and disinfected. Clean cattle which have been in contact with the disease should be watched closely for the appearance of lesions and treated promptly. Proper nutrition, particularly high levels of Vitamin A, copper and zinc while not a cure, will help to raise the resistance of the animal and in so doing offer some measure of control. Contact your vet and or feed store for products to treat this disease. Using a wormer will kill lice and help prevent cattle from scratching causing skin damage and a place for the fungus to enter.

Milk fever cattle disease

Milk fever cattle disease, also known as parturient hypocalcemia and parturient paresis, is a disease which has assumed considerable importance with the development of heavy milking cows. Decrease in the levels of ionized calcium in tissue fluids is basically the cause of the disease. In all adult cows there is a fall in serum-calcium level with the onset of lactation at calving. The disease usually occurs in 5 to 10 year old cows, and is chiefly caused by a sudden decrease in blood-calcium level, generally within 48 hours after calving.

Symptoms of milk Cattle disease

In classical cases, hypocalcemia is the cause of clinical symptoms. Hypophosphatasemia and variations in the concentration of serum-magnesium may play some subsidiary role. The clinical symptoms develop usually in one to three days after calving. They are characterized by loss of appetite, constipation and restlessness, but there is no rise in temperature.

Rinder pest Cattle Disease

Rinderpest is the most destructive of the virus diseases of cloven-footed animals, such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, pigs and wild ruminants. Its control was a major issue till recently all over the world. Organized efforts over half a century have brought about a total eradication of the disease in the Western Hemisphere. The virus is found notable in the saliva, discharge from eyes and nostrils, and in the urine and faeces. It is present in the circulating blood during the febrile stage and is later concentrated in different organs, especially in the spleen, lymph nodes and liver. Outside the animal body, the virus is rapidly destroyed by direct sunlight and disinfectants. Cold preserves the virus. The virus is usually spread by contaminated feed and water.  Lacrimation and redness of eye. Foul odour from mouth. Discrete necrotic foci develop in the buccal mucosa, inside lip, and on the tongue. Bloody mucoid diarrhoea is noticed

Treatment of Rinder pest

  • Symptomatic treatment with penicillin, streptomycin, sulphadimidine and intestinal antiseptics has no action on the virus, but may help in the recovery of less severe cases of rinderpest, as these control secondary complications caused by bacteria.

Related: How to control various soil diseases in our farms

Footrot Cattle Disease

Footrot is a common cause of lameness in cattle and occurs most frequently when cattle on pasture are forced to walk through mud to obtain water and feed. However, it may occur among cattle in paddocks as well, under apparently excellent conditions. Footrot is caused when a cut or scratch in the skin allows infection to penetrate between the claws or around the top of the hoof. Individual cases should be kept in a dry place and treated promptly with medication as directed by a veterinarian. If the disease becomes a herd problem a foot bath containing a 5% solution of copper sulphate placed where cattle are forced to walk though it once or twice a day will help to reduce the number of new infections. In addition, drain mud holes and cement areas around the water troughs where cattle are likely to pick up the infection. Keep pens and areas where cattle gather as clean as possible. Proper nutrition regarding protein, minerals and vitamins will maximize hoof health.

 

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Cost and returns of establishing successful dairy farm

If you are interested in farming you might have noticed how dairy farming has of late become popular in Kenya. Are you interested in dairy farming but you lack know how on where to start and what to expect along the way? Don’t you worry, we are here to guide you. However, it’s your call since our research and analysis are just assumptions and are due to alter depending on a number of items.

In Kenya, intensive systems are the most popular and comprise both zero-grazing and semi-zero grazing. An estimate of the returns and cost can be calculated as shown below.

Read: How to establish grafted purple passion Fruits Orchard

Critical Factors For Dairy Production

  1. Land

There is nowhere is said you have to own land for you to be a dairy farmer. However, you can lease, some farmers in Nakuru have leased land and has kept over 500 heads of cattle which rather gives them millions in return.

  1. Labor

Whether you depend on machinery or humans, intensive labor is paramount in dairy production. Labor is estimated at about 45-50% of the total cost.

  1. Capital

In dairy farming, the most important capital is stocking the cows and construction of the cow shed, milking crutches fencing, as well as equipment. In Kenya a good in-calf heifer varies from 40,000-200,000 depending on genetic potential. Cow sheds that are simple and can hold upto 4 cows are estimated to cost 50K to 100K depending on what you use as material and labour. However this cost can go down if one uses locally available materials such as timber, building stones, rainwater and home labor.

Crucial recurrent expenditure costs include AI, purchase of feeds, heath care and milk marketing and sales (preservation, transport and value addition).

Read: What Is the Difference Between Agriculture And Agribusiness?

Projected Returns From Dairy Production

We have used these examples just to show you how to calculate expected returns from your dairy farming and you should only use it as guidelines. It is very crucial that each farmer uses this guideline to calculate production figures depending on costs of feeds and labor in his/her area.

It is always wise to reduce costs as much as possible having in mind that some costs such as feeds and healthcare are the foundations of profitable dairy farming.

Overall Assumptions:

  • No dairy cow dies
  • A dairy cow eats feed amounting to 3% of its body mass dairy
  • The calves are raised well as stock replacement or sold at early stage/maturity
  • AI is the only practice
  • A bale of hay weighs 14.4 Kg
  • Milk is sold at the farm without value addition or processing
  • Labor costs vary with systems and locality.

We will now use an example of one Friesian cow weighing around 400 kg raised in central region under zero grazing management based on bought feeds.

Feed Stuff Amount (fed based on dry matter)
Napier grass 5kg
Lucerne 3kg
Dairy meal 4kg
Macklick Super 120 grams
   
  1. Costs Annual

Fixed  Costs Amount (Ksh)
Dairy Cow 80,000
Dairy shed 20,000
   
Recurrent Expenses  
Forage 16,500
Concentrates 30,000
Health Care 15,000
AI 800
Calf 21,000
Labor 60,200
   
Total 143,500
   
  1. Returns (Annual)

Milk 300,000
Calf 30,000
Manure 10,000
Total 340,000

Gross Profit = 196500

Therefore, in your first year, net profit per cow could be 16,375 per month. Now if you keep more animals you definitely lower your costs and increase your margins. Considering that you could make your own rations, and do value addition to your milk returns per month per cow could be as high as Ksh 20,000.

Read: I don’t have capital to start my agribusiness venture how do I start from scratch?

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Advantages and disadvantages of Mixed farming in Kenya

Mixed farming is when a farmer decides to combine two or more agricultural activities on the same farm. A typical case of mixed farming is the combination of crop cultivation with dairy farming or in more general terms, crop cultivation with livestock farming. Mixed farming may be treated as a special case of diversified farming. This particular combination of enterprises, support each other and add to the farmer’s profitability.

Read: As A Farmer You Can Control Pests Through Shade Nets

Advantages of Mixed farming:

  • It enhances the productivity of the farm land
  • It increases the per capita profitability
  • Both farmings compliment each other.
  • Farmers can keep their fields under continuous production.
  • It enhances the productivity of the farmer also.
  • Reduce dependency on external inputs and costs. In the example of mixed cropping of animal husbandry and crop farming the crops and animals components can complement and support each other. For example, the crop farming gives feed to the animals, and in turn, the animals can supply fertilizers to the crop. So this reduces the need and cost of fertilization and animal feed. The animals (such as cattle and sheep) can also perform weeding which reduces the need for herbicides. CIPAV system from Columbia, for example, incorporates fuel generation where crop wastes are fed into a biodigester which then generates fuel for use in the farm (for running farm machinery and equipment). This reduces external fuel dependency.
  • A simpler mixed farming system is aquaponics where the fish wastes are useful as fertilizers for the vegetables (like lettuce) and the lettuce, in turn, clean the water for the fish. Another similar setup and benefit is rice-fish farming in northeast Thailand and China where fish (like tilapia and carp) are bred in the rice field waters.
  • Because the mixed farming system recycles much of its wastes, this reduce external inputs (like fertilizers and pesticides). This in turn reduce greenhouse gases emissions, whether directly or indirectly because less fossil fuels are required in the production and distribution of fertilizers and pesticides due to lower demand.
  • It stabilizes the income of the farmer because the farmer is not depending solely on one activity. Should one activity fail (due to low price or pests or diseases), the farmer can still get income from the other activities.
  • Increased biodiversity means less risks of pests and diseases outbreak in the farm. Outbreak usually occurs in monoculture where there is uniformity of species especially over a large area.

Read: The Most Cost-Effective Greenhouse Which Every Farmer Can Construct

Disadvantages of mixed farming:

  • Because a mixed farming system consists of multiple activities running simultaneously, this makes the control, monitoring, and maintenance of the farm more difficult than a monoculture where only a single activity is run.
  • Some times one activity may hinder the other activity.
  • For the same reason above, the farmer needs to be knowledgeable (or an expert) in more than one area as compared to a monoculture farmer. A mixed farming farmer is running several activities at once, there may be management problem.

Read: Pest and diseases affecting tomato farming and their control

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What to consider when starting a dairy farm

Whatever your experience and background, there are a few things you should know before you begin milking dairy animals.

Build up a Business Plan and SWOT Analysis

Remember that a dairy farm is a business. Advancement of detailed marketable strategy and a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of your plan and the assets you readily have will be basic to the accomplishment of your business. What number of cows will you milk? Where will you sell your milk? Will you hire workers? What amount of cash do you have to live on after the dairy bills are altogether paid? Your marketable strategy ought to incorporate an income plan that will enable you to set sensible projections for your expenses and cost of production.

Consult the Experts

Regardless of whether you experienced childhood with a dairy cow and figured out how to cater and milk cows from your folks and grandparents it is imperative to seek guidance from specialists in the dairy business as you build up your strategy for success and plan your management framework. Other dairy producers are awesome resources. Attend field days and open houses on dairy farming in your general vicinity and different parts of the county or country. When going to different homesteads find out what has functioned admirably on those farms and what has not worked, but rather remember that since something worked well at one farm does not mean it will work for you on your homestead.

Notwithstanding farmers, converse with veterinarians, nutritionists, agronomists, brokers, expansion tutors, and others that can give alternate points of view on management of your dairy. Lack of milk and milk products in Kenya is a genuine concern. Luckily, this implies business visionaries and farmers can consider this to be a lucrative investment they can attempt. Basically, knowing how to take off in this financially valuable undertaking is the most basic factor.

Read: How to grow Williams Hybrid Banana

Availability of Land

Dairy farming can be practiced on a piece of land ranging from 0.1-1,000,000 acres, depending on the scale of farming. This is the first requirement that any prospective farmer ought to meet.

Dairy farming can be done on a land running from 0.1-1,000,000 acres, depending upon the size of the scale of farming. This is the primary prerequisite that any forthcoming farmer should meet.

Distinguishing the Right Livestock Breeds

There are different variety of dairy cows in Kenya including both local and exotic breeds. For more returns, a farmer should go for exotic breeds, for example, Friesian, Ayrshire, Jersey and Guernsey. The farmer should consider acquisition and upkeep expenses, and possible returns given a specific breed. A decent dairy cow may cost between KSh. 100,000-500,000.

Getting Money (Capital)

Dairy farming is a genuine business venture. Capital is, in this way, obligatory for purchasing domesticated animals, farm equipment, establishment of structures and purchasing of animal feed, among other basic prerequisites. You can draw this from a bank account, wage or loan.

Setting Up Necessary Structures

Dairy cows must be kept under favorable living conditions free from rains, winds and unnecessary human interference. This calls for establishment of suitable structures

Supply of Feed

Feeds are the most basic prerequisites for any fruitful dairy farming undertaking. It is essential to have a solid source of animal feed even before the animals get onto the farm.

Other than the above, a farmer needs to acquire adequate information the care of the animals and general maintenance of the farm.

Read: Production and marketing of capsicum crop

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Successful dairy farming in Kenya

Great Feed

Every Farmer should bolster the dairy animals as required keeping in mind the end goal to enhance productivity. Numerous daily farmers wind up with lessened drain creation in the wake of spending a great deal of cash purchasing quality breeds however fizzle with regards to nourishing them.

Great Breeds

Having quality breeds helps a ton with regards to milk productivity. Farmers can get these bovines from big farms that sell heifers. This nearly guarantees you of good milk production if you bolster the bovines right. It is in this way exhorted farmers learn however much as could be expected about the dairy animals when they buy it. You wouldn’t have any desire to subject it to entirely unexpected conditions to the one it is used to as it might influence production.

Having a decent breed implies that you can likewise raise your own particular herd and furthermore enhance it through manual sperm injection.

Affordable Feeds

To increase benefits from a dairy investment, ensure you drive the cost of feeds down. Reports have it that the fundamental cost in dairy farming in Kenya is from animal feed which records to between 40%-60% of the aggregate expenses.

There are a few ways by which farmers can drive the expenses down for instance planting their own animal feeds if there is sufficient land accessible. Farmers can likewise make their own particular concentrates, for example, dairy meal. This will essentially diminish the cost of farming. There are new advances that assistance lessen the cost of feeds for dairy farming in Kenya, for example, hydroponics fodder where fodder is planted without water and is prepared in only 6 days.

Read: How well-planned are you for tree fruit farming this season?

Good technical support

Every farmer requires good technical support to be successful. Having a qualified vetinary doctor to visit your farm regularly can save you lot of costs amounting from medical expenses. It is also important that a farmer has a nutritionist visit the farm once in a while to advice on the feed to give the cows in the different lactation stages. Soil analysts are also important because if your soil lacks certain nutrients needed for cow development, then the crops grown on it will most likely also lack the same.

Great specialized help

Each farmer requires great specialized help to be successful. Having a qualified veterinary specialist to visit your daily farm routinely can spare you part of expenses amounting from medicinal costs. It is likewise essential that a rancher has a nutritionist visit the farm on occasion to counsel on the feed to give the dairy animals in the distinctive lactation stages. Soil experts are likewise imperative in light of the fact that if your soil does not have certain supplements required for cow advancement, at that point the crops grown on it will in all likelihood lack the same.

Read: Farmers already earning more from Macadamia nuts and hass Avocados

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How to do a profitable zero-grazing

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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Farm Expose- Dairy and pig farming farm tour at Makuyu

DAIRY AND PIG FARM TOUR

Any farmer interested in dairy farming and animal rearing should join us as we hold our end of year agro-tourism. Agritourism is about touring farms where small scale farmers and largescale farmers are getting it right. This December we have organized to visit Kefa Farm situated in Makuyu Muranga County. Many are a times, that we as farmers have “tried” dairy farming without the right knowledge or information of what we are supposed to do to make the best returns. Almost every home in in rural area in Kenya owns a cow, but how much does it give you? Are you a slave of your own cow?

Many will concur with me that most of the times we feed these cows and get almost nothing out of them. A time has come when we no longer have to view owning cows as a source of prestige and respect but make money out of them.

Therefore, Farm expose in conjunction with Oxfarm Organic and Farmars Trends have decided to treat our farmers with the best tour of the year. Interested people are required to pay 2500 before 3rd of December 2017. However, those with their own means of transport are required to pay 2,000. This Agritour day comes with a treat of Nyama choma, writing materials, farming brochures and many more. Interested parties are required to be in Nairobi town on or before 7:30 am on that material day. Those who will be training us have a lot lined for us and they request interested people to be at the farm before 9:00 because they intend to start early and finish early.

ABOUT THE FARM

Kimani, a farmer, owns Kefa Farm which sits on 1.25 acres and you will simply pass while not noticing it because it lies in good harmony with the other farms dry, somewhat abandoned. However, this farm produces more than 1400 liters of milk daily. He owns more than 200 zero–grazed cows where 60 are lactating some produce between thirty five and forty five liters daily.

The farm is situated on a slope ideal for waste disposal and conjointly sells heifers and carries out embryo transfers. It has gained name as a supply of pedigree cows and a ground for coaching farmers on dairy farm management. Situated during a semi–arid space of Makuyu in Murang’a County wherever temperatures average 21.7°C and receives 836mm of downfall annually, the farm is showing new opportunities within the preponderantly rain–fed agricultural zone. Kimani credits its existence to the 2007/2008 post-election turmoil that saw several displaced individuals settled within the region pushing up demand for milk.

Then the farm was solely with one cow and an employee. The steady rise in demand for milk created Maine devise ways that boosted the farm. Kimani notes that he spent KSh 90,000 on building a cow barn for 5 animals and acquired 2 Holstein cows at KSh 40,000 each. Since then, he has never looked back.

His heard grew to eighty-two in 2014, however he had to cut back the quantity to sixty-four because of restricted house and deficiency of feeds. The farm sank its own borehole and expanded by getting an added adjacent acre and another four acres wherever heifers are bred. He conjointly leases alternative farms to grow fodder.

Kimani improved his skills in animal care, health and farm management by attending agricultural trainings, visiting alternative farms, researching and came up with a program to develop the abilities of his ten employees. In addition to the sixty-four cows, the farm has over 120 pigs and chicken.

The farm has four departments every headed by completely different persons. These are stores, sales, production and milking. Every head features a full mandate to rent casuals and build alternative choices. They report daily to Kimani by filing updates to a central system wherever all managers will access the knowledge. For example, the shop head will caution close at hand shortage of feeds or the milking head will send alert on an exact animal noted for declining production.

The animals are hosted on half-acre, with the cowsheds divided into sections that embrace steamers, milking, maternity and calves of between zero and 3 months and another for winnowers aged six months. The winnowers are taken away of the most farm to a different within the neighborhood wherever patrons simply access them. At the so much finish is associate degree isolation section for the sick animals.

Kefa Farm conjointly keeps bulls for slaughter, with the quantity presently standing at twenty-five animals of between one and 3 years. They take concerning one year to mature deliberation between 800 and 1,000kg. One body yields between 650 to 700kg of meat every going for Sh320. Kimani, currently a successful dairy farm conversant, receives over ten calls daily from farmers across the country together with from Kisii, Kiambu, Meru and Kericho.

He conjointly follows up his callers and people who visit his farm permitting them to consult him frequently. Kenyans not got to mystify dairying by attending to Israel for lessons. Israel is here at Kefa Farm

 

NOTE: “Seeing is believing” We could tell you more but we know that you are eager to come and share your views with us as we all learn on how to become better dairy, chicken and pig farmers. Tell a friend to tell a friend.