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Tips for maximum milk production for dairy farmers

By Alex Wachira
A farmhand at Kapsuswa farm in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu County. [File]

 

Looking to increase your milk yield? Here is a guide.

Most farmers have dairy cows producing five litres of milk a day, while others hit 40 litres a day.   

To achieve more litres of milk per day, check what you feed your cow as it determines the quality and quantity produced.

The most popular dairy cow is the Friesian, which produces more milk, compared to the Ayrshire, Jersey and Guernsey breeds.

The cow that produces the most milk in the world hits 110 litres in a day, but in Kenya the highest is 70 litres.

Breeding

Breeding cows takes many forms, including artificial insemination. This involves a farmer giving cows semen that will enable a cow produce more milk.

The animal feed should contain the necessary minerals to spur milk production.

Farmers can grow different types of grass like Napier grass, brachiaria, lucerne and desmodium which are mixed to make cows produce more milk.

Molasses are an important ingredient in dairy farms as it provides sugar to animals, improve palatability of food rations and is used in silage making to aid fermentation.

Grass value is added once fermented as molasses have starch and carbohydrates.

Fermenting the grass also eases digestion, which makes the cow produce milk faster.

The recommended ratio for a milking cow should be 30kg of silage to produce 30 litres of milk per day.    

A Friesian cow eats about three per cent of its body weight of dry matter. The Friesian cow also feeds more compared to the other breeds.

The dairy meal also forms part of the cow’s feed. It is made of ingredients that give the right balance of energy, protein and minerals.

Water

Milk comprises almost 90 per cent water, therefore, animals drinking water usually have better milk output.

For every litre of milk produced a cow needs to drink at least three litres of water.

Water also helps to regulate a cow’s body temperature, growth, digestion, reproduction, metabolism, lubrication of joints, excretion and boosts eye sight.   

Dairy cows should be milked twice a day - early in the morning and around lunch time.

Deworming

A farmer should also deworm the cows, first when it is two to four months then with intervals of every three months, for maximum production.

Calves are dewormed monthly.  After deworming the farmer goes for 72 hours without using its milk as it is not fit for human consumption.

Good hygiene is essential when milking cows by ensuring hands and clothes are clean and the farmer is in good health.

The cow udder should also be cleaned with warm water using a clean cloth.

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