Roundhouse cattle house is stress-free, low disease challenge environment, resulting in longer lifetime milk production. [Idagro]

There is yoghurt and there is Bulgarian yoghurt. In case you did not know, Bulgaria is the birthplace of yoghurt, an invention made 4,000 years ago. Sample the cool part, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the bacteria that curdles milk, is named after Bulgaria.   

It thus follows that Bulgaria has one of the finest yoghurts in the world – it is smooth. Sizzling. Sweet… made of good quality milk (forget the white poisonous concoction some Kenyan farmers insist is milk).

The drink is prepared with best cultures, using tantalizing flavours and sweeteners and it is processed using innovative technology.

Where am I heading with this?  Well Bulgaria and other giants were here to show players in the dairy sector- farmers, processors, State actors- the most innovative dairy technologies at the just concluded African Dairy Conference and Exhibition 2018.

The conference organized by Eastern and Southern Africa Dairy Association annually is an opportunity for players within and outside the dairy sector to display their products to consumers and other decision makers, create new markets, orient the consumers to their new innovative products, meet and share knowledge with other players.

Some of the global giants that displayed their technologies are from Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Israel, the USA, China, and the UK among others.

Here were the big 10 highlights Smart Harvest that attracted traffic.

1. Roundhouse cattle cow

When it comes to agricultural technologies, Netherlands is on a class of its own. One trend that stood out is a relatively new concept for housing animals dubbed Roundhouse.

To guarantee high milk yields, large-scale dairy keepers in The Netherlands and Israel are moving away from closed dairy units to a modern technology called the Roundhouse.

Because of its open structure, the Roundhouse is stress-free, low disease challenge environment, resulting in longer lifetime milk production.

“This has been proved as the best/ultimate dairy layout for maximum milk yields in developed countries. Other than the right feed, the other factor that greatly contributes to quantity of milk produced by your cows is the environment. An environment that is well ventilated and clean boosts milk production by more than 30 percent. That is where the roundhouse comes in,” explains Altinus Klaassen the General manager Attro Trading B.V that builds the structures.

So far, a number of forward thinking dairy farmers in parts of Kenya have embraced it.

A typical Roundhouse he explains, has eight compartments and can hold about 80 cattle with cubicles inside where animals are place according to their age and developmental needs for instance calves, pregnant and nursing cows.

The unit, which the company constructs at 10 million, comprise the full unit, the milking machines. For more details you can contact the company on

2. Liquid Nitrogen semen tanks

For starters, in AI, there are critical steps that determine the failure and success of the procedure - proper semen tank management, thawing of semen and the actual insemination. 

Worthington Industries Rolf Morselt explains to visitors to the stand how semen new storage tanks work [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Every step is key as attested by veteran inseminators. Of importance is maintaining the low temperatures to avoid destroying the semen.

One of the reasons that AI can go wrong is poor semen quality and number two is poor semen handling and thawing.

Experts agree that poor semen handling results in considerable high failure rates AI failure and many a times the technicians do not tell the farmers, transferring the cost of failures to them.

“The problem usually comes during the lifting of the canister from the tank to a level necessary to locate the appropriate rack of semen. That 5-10 minute period is critical because it can damage the semen.

Rolf Morselt, the sales manager for Europe & Africa explains that when the technicians are carrying out the exercise; they normally expose the semen in the canister to outside temps which compromises the quality. That 5 to 10 minutes minute exposure of outside the cool environment as they transfer it to the animal is enough to render it useless. But with this canisters maintain the cool environment. As the technician transfers the semen, the nitrogen ensure the temps remain low for the survival of the semen,” explains Morselt. For farmers interested;

3. State-of-art coolers and boilers

At the conference, there was a sea of state of art coolers and boilers from both Europe and Asia. 

Demiel Dimitrou of NIKOS explains to visitors to the stand how heater and cooler machine works [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The hybrid cooling plants guarantee low cooling cost and instant chilling a great plus for big processors. According to Aviva Equipments Pvt Ltd s instant cooling helps in improving quality of milk by preventing the initial increase of bacteria in the milk by quickly cooling the milk after milking or collection.

“With the instant cooler, the temp immediately goes from 34 degree centigrade to 15 degrees centigrade,” an agent explains.

Less power consumption cooling period is most important factor of ICP, which helps to save on chilling cost.

The other beauty about these technologies is their ability to use alternative power sources beyond electricity. The modern day coolers can run on solar making them idea in Kenya where power outages are a common feature leading to losses. The local supplier -Fooster Solutions can be reached on 0714545253.

  1. Advanced dairy unit monitoring system

More and more dairy farms are moving into automation of their dairy units to guarantee efficiency and cut costs. With the Israeli based technology, every operation from milking to feeding, to AI schedules are monitored digitally. Several large scale dairy farms in Laikipia are already using these digital systems. 

Intec Export India PVT Exports Manager Vishal Ojha explains to visitors to the stand how Cream Separator both Electrical and Manual machine works [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

  1. Cream separator- manual and electric

For small dairy processors, the cream processors makes a lot of business sense. This simple and technology attracted a group of pastoralist women group who were interested to see how it can transform their dairy unit. The machine costs Sh35,000.

  1. Dutch milking unit

At the Netherlands corner at the conference another technology that stole the light is the Dutch milking unit.

“When a breeder embraces this you are guaranteed speed and efficiency. Unlike manual milking where the cow’s udder retains milk, everything is milked out and when that happens more is produced which means more volumes for the farmer,” explains Altinus Klaassen of Attro Trading BV.

  1. Yoghurt filling cup machine

The beauty about dairy farming value addition is that if you dive into it you are spoilt for choice, from yoghurt to cheese to curd, butter, ice cream, and ghee and butter milk. If you decide to go the yoghurt way, you need efficient packaging machines. You have options of milk pouch, bottle filling capping and all. One packaging unit that stood out at the expo a Bottle Filling Capping Monoblock MFC, a Ukraine technology that have various unique aspects. According to Eugene Torhyn of NHM, the unit they displayed is certified according to EU standards as it guarantees 100 percent hygiene standards. The machine that can be used by both big and small processors depending on their needs can process1,000 litres of milk.

  1. Automated milk pasteurizer

On matters yoghurt, like we have mentioned, you can never go wrong with Bulgarian technology. The technology is authentic and worth the investment. Bulgarian based firm Nikos displayed fully automated pasteurisers, which are made of quality material. The unit is made of stainless steel material from Outokumpo from Finland, the company that makes one of the choicest steel material in the world. Though the machine that can hold 600 litres of milk is pricey 8000Euros, it is worth every coin. 

  1. Mazzican

Milking cows can be a messy affair. What with the animal trying to kick around the bucket spilling milk and all. But the Mezzican sorts this problem.

Rebecca Egesa of Ahut Engineers says the simple, light-weight and portable container prevents any single drop of milk from spilling and contaminated during the milking process. It is also easy to clean because of its simple design. It has a capacity of 10 litres.

  1. High capacity Silage storage

Given that post-harvest losses account to heavy losses to farmers, proper feed storage and management is a critical skill for any dairy breeder. This is where the Mama Silage bag comes in. With a capacity to hold 800 kilos of silage for two years in fresh state, this is something handy for a breeder. According to Vaishali Malde, the bag not only keeps the hay for long but also in fresh state. The bag is made of a durable material that keeps of moisture and pests. The bag costs Sh2,000.