Milk processor eyes breeding support to improve yields

Dairy farmers are looking at better prospects after processor Brookside yesterday launched an animal breeding support programme for its milk supply groups, with the aim of raising firm yields.

Brookside, East Africa region’s market leader, said it had partnered with semen suppliers to provide semen straws to its contracted milk supply groups with the aim of improving calving rates and acceleration of the rate of genetic improvement in dairy stock.

The national programme was launched at the Gatundu United Dairy Co-operative in Kiambu County, during the society’s annual general meeting.

“For some time now, Brookside Dairy has been training farmers on breeding in our popular dairy training courses,” said Brookside’s general manager for milk procurement Emmanuel Kabaki.

“The time has now come when we are giving over 2,000 farmers in Kiambu the opportunity to practice skills learnt at the trainings we undertook – majorly on the use of semen straws to improve cow breeds.”

Mr Kabaki announced that Brookside would be providing semen straws and 400 litres of liquid nitrogen to facilitate breed improvement by farmers in the area.

“We encourage you to take advantage of this genetic material, which is of reputable genomics from our local bull stations, to improve your dairy breeds,” he said.

“Our extension service team will be working with you in the monitoring and follow up phases of this project, to ensure successful roll-out of this initiative, which will benefit participating farmers across the entire country,” Kabaki added.

The breeding model by Brookside encourages a farmer-centred herd improvement programme, which enables the farmers to track the initiative’s performance.

Kabaki said seasonality in dairy production, brought about by vagaries of weather, still posed a threat to the development of sub-sector.

He called on farmers to grow and conserve adequate fodder, that would be handy during periods of depressed forage, to ensure that milk production remains optimum year-round.

“We will also be addressing the need for cow comfort in the farms, Research shows that when cows are comfortable, they can increase milk production by up to 30 per cent, under the same feeding regimen.”

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