Sustainable dairy farming system
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CTA. 1992. Sustainable dairy farming system. Spore 39. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45754
A sustainable smallholder dairying system being developed in Kenya holds out good prospects for milk production on the edges of large towns and cities. Using intensive methods for growing fodder, farmers should be able to produce enough forage from...
A sustainable smallholder dairying system being developed in Kenya holds out good prospects for milk production on the edges of large towns and cities. Using intensive methods for growing fodder, farmers should be able to produce enough forage from one hectare of land to keep five crossbred cows for a whole year. In 1989 the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) joined forces to Improve the existing National Dairy Development Project (NDDP). This had been started several years earlier to encourage milk production in the coastal area of Kenya, where there was a big demand for fresh milk. Studies in 1989 and 1990 showed that the best breed for the small holders was a Sahiwal x Ayrshire cross. It does not seem to matter whether the cross is one third or two-thirds Ayrshire. This is a great advantage, as less pure breeding stock is needed to maintain the supply of milking cows. Farmers keep the cows in stalls and cut and carry fodder grown on the farm. The NDDP encouraged farmers to grow napier grass and then buy in protein supplements like copra cake to balance the grass. ILCA, though, have looked for ways to produce all the feed on the farm. They have now introduced a forage legume, Clitoria ternatea, that can be grown with napier grass. Both are grown in 'alleys' between hedgerows of Leucaena leucocephala. Such a system can yield up to 26 tonnes of dry matter per hectare, about a fifth of that being Clitoria. This quantity is enough to feed five cows for a year. Further studies have shown the advantage of cutting napier grass when it is young. Cows fed napier grass cut at a metre high yielded 8.5kg of milk per day. lf the grass was cut at a more mature stage, 1.5 metres high, yields dropped to 6.8kg/ day Cut at the younger stage, napier grass yields were reduced by only one tonne of dry matter per hectare. ILCA are now looking at ways to bring extra energy into the system. Some farmers are already using the leaves and tubers of cassava to supplement the feed. ILCA now want to see how cassava can best be utilized. ILCA PO Box 5689 Addis Ababa ETHIOPIA