How to achieve maximum production in dairy farming
Dairy farming is one of the major types of livestock farming in Kenya.
Almost every local home in the village rears a dairy cow for milk production and the animal waste is used as farmyard manure in the farm or further used to make biogas that is used to generate electricity or manure.
Common cow breeds kept for milk production include Ayrshire, Guernsey, Friesian and Jersey.
Nowadays we have dual-purpose cows that are kept for both meat and milk such as the Brown Swiss, Dairy Cross, Beef Hereford, Boran, and Charolais.
Boran are loved for their good growth rate, easily adapt to dry areas and are good foragers.
Farmers.co.ke talked to Lee Kinyanjui an expert from Agricultural Development Corporation Suam Orchards from Kitale which had the winning cows at the Nairobi show on how to achieve maximum production in dairy cows.
The best practices shared by Lee in dairy rearing to reap big are:
- Proper breeding of the cows to achieve the recommended weight.
- Proper feeding
Feeds include Kikuyu grass, Rhodes grass, Lucerne or desmodium, Napier grass, hay, etc. and manufactured feeds and mineral supplements like salts to ensure a balanced diet.
- Good management of the animals by ensuring they always maintain a clean shelter and hygiene.
The dairy farmer should always provide the cows with adequate clean drinking water that is available such that the animals can drink at free will.
- Proper vaccination against pests and diseases and their control in case of infections such as foot and mouth, anthrax, etc.
This can be done by spraying, injection or taking cattle to a cattle dip or using bio methods such as the use of stickers.