Dairy farmers in Trans Nzoia, are embracing silage making which is cost-effective as it is made from maize from their farms, thus making it much cheaper than other dairy feeds.
In an interview with KNA a dairy farmer in Cherangany Sub County, says that silage also helps farmers plan ahead for dry seasons.
“I make the feeds enough to last my animals the whole year,” said Moses Ladama.
Ladama estimates that feeding his 30 dairy cows per year requires 10 acres of maize. Apart from feed security for the animals, he says that silage has also increased milk production.
“I used to produce like 8 litres of milk per cow, per day, but today silage has increased milk production to 15 litres per day per animal,” he said.
He says that once quality silage is prepared, his work as a dairy farmer becomes minimal. “Silage making has also enabled me to have fewer workers,” he told KNA at his farm in Chisare, Cheranganyi.
He says that quality feeds combined with other concentrates has enabled him to increase the income that has seen him meet daily needs with ease.
He added that dry matter also helps animals to take a lot of water which according to him gives more milk. He says nappier is good but the green matter denies the animals from taking the required amount of water in a day.
Agriculture CEC, Mary Nzomo, also agrees that silage making has increased milk production in the region. She says that the estimate milk production for the county in 2019 was 185,197,315 kg of milk.
Nzomo in addition says, currently, farmers doing silage have increased milk production from 5 kg per cow per day to averagely 8kg per day cow depending on the breed.
She, however, says that dairy farmers with high yielding breeds are getting between 17kg to 40kg per day with silage.
Nzomo is encouraging farmers to embrace silage as it is a modern way of farming and if adopted will increase milk production for the county and thus improve farmers’ livelihoods.
She advised farmers to go for quality breeds as well as practice zero grazing adding that this fastened the growth of animals. According to Nzomo, confined animals use most of the energy from feeds on growth and milk production.
“I also want to advise dairy farmers to make use of extension officers to improve on your farming and also form co-operative societies to have better bargaining power for your produce,” she said.