Milk production in Trans Nzoia county is on the rise owing to farmers in the area embracing silage feeding for their dairy cattle.
Most farmers in the area are said to be shifting from the traditional feeding regimes to silage fodder. Silage, which is basically grass, green maize or other green fodder compacted and stored in airtight conditions without first being dried is said to have a variety of benefits, key among them increased milk production.
In an interview with KNA, a dairy farmer in Cherangany Sub County, says that silage helps him plan ahead for dairy feeds.
“I make the feeds enough to last my animals the whole year,” said Moses Ladama.
Mr. 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 less workers,” he told KNA at his farm in Chisare, Cheranganyi.
The Trans Nzoia CEC in charge of agriculture, Mary Nzomo, agrees that silage fodder had increased milk production in the region. She said that the estimate milk production for the county in 2019 was 185,197,315 kg of milk.
Nzomo added that farmers doing silage had increased milk production from 5 kg per cow per day to averagely 8kg per day cow depending on the breed. She added that dairy farmers with high yielding breeds were getting between 17kg to 40kg per day with silage. The CEC encouraged more farmers to adopt silage feeding saying that it enables farmers get quality feeds and makes storage easier.
She said that silage is a modern way of farming and if embraced appropriately, it will increase milk production for the county and thus improve farmers’ livelihoods. She advised farmers to go for quality breeds and 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.
She also asked farmers to take advantage of the bull station in the county to get better breeds.
“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 a better bargaining power for your produce,” she added.