Doctor finds dairy therapy for arid village

Kenya: The road leading to Chelemei Village, Bomet East Constituency, Bomet County, is lined with cactus fence, a common sight in the region where rainfall is unreliable and agricultural activities mainly subsistence.

Even though the short rains are on, the grazing fields in most farms are bare and the indigenous cows can be seen nibbling the few blades of grass available.

Right in the midst of this dry region is Gishobu Farm whose lush green fields are a sight to behold. The farm sits on an eight-acre piece of land that Dr Dan Koros, bought five years ago and slowly turned into an oasis flowing with milk. Most of the farm is covered with fodder for dairy cows.

“I bought this land with the sole intention of establishing a model dairy farm to serve as an example that everything is possible once you have set your mind on it. Most of our neighbours never believed that a dairy cow can survive in this region especially after some elders tried the same venture but suffered big losses,” Koros says.

He explains that he researched on the Internet and found out that dairy farming is possible as long as there is enough food and water for the cows.


Fortunately for him, a small stream cuts through the land so he does not have a water problem. His planted nappier grass, Sudan and Rhodes grass and lucerne to feed the cows. Each of these fodder crops covers an acre and a half, a total of six acres.

“The neighbours wondered what I was going to do with the pasture to keep it from drying as it happened in their farms. I had found out that pasture gets ‘tired’ if it is continuously harvested without manure being added,” he says.

Five years since he started, the fields are lush green and his cows always enjoy the pasture thanks to the manure collected daily at the dairy unit. Koros first gets biogas from the dung before its used as manure that he fondly talks of as having changed the land to the paradise that it is today.

He stores the Rhodes and Sudan grass as hay while the nappier is given to the cows.

Initially, getting the right cow proved a challenge because he bought some that had low production. He once acquired one at Sh140,000 only to get seven litres of milk a day.

Koros says that artificial insemination is the easiest way to get cows with better yields.

“The locally produced semen from Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre is not only of good quality but is also cheap and every serious farmer can afford,” he says.

Proper record keeping is another important thing to note about this farm.


Koros has designed different records that help him to follow up the progress of his farm despite working miles away. There is a record for each cow indicating the amount of milk produced daily and feed given. There are also records of the total milk produced as well as for the calves.

“We also keep a record indicating how the milk is distributed. This has helped us minimise the loss of milk between the farm and the collection point,” Koros says.

He says that total milk production per cow is known at the end of the lactation period and this helps him determine the value of his cows especially when he wants to sell one.

“I convince a buyer to pay a certain amount using the records that indicate what to expect from the cow,” he says.

Koros increased his herd from three to 15. He gets at least 200 litres of milk daily from ten cows that are lactating currently. He sells the milk at Sh35 per litre thus earns more than Sh200,000 per month.

The medic says that his cows are like money in the bank because it takes him a few hours to sell whenever need arises. He sells a heifer for not less than Sh70,000 and in case she is in-calf, be prepared to pay at least Sh100,000.

He has two permanent workers on his farm and employs casuals occasionally. He also has a vet who checks on his cows regularly.