Fodder

How to make hay from Brachiaria Push-Pull plots

Apart from providing the day-to-day fodder requirements for the farmer, excess forage from Brachiaria can be dried and stored as hay for use during the dry season when pasture is scarce to maintain milk production.

Plant Calliandra for fodder and soil fertility

Many farmers have complained that they have great difficulties in feeding their livestock during the dry season. It seems they are yet to understand that you cannot depend on fresh Napier grass or other green vegetation to feed livestock throughout the year.

Know your pasture grasses: Brachiaria, a high quality fodder grass

Originally from Africa and bred in South America, Brachiaria grass is gaining popularity among cattle farmers in Kenya. The grass is credited with helping to revolutionalize the Brazilian beef industry. The grass has found its way to Africa, and a ready home in Kenya.

Improving fodder quality with legumes

The cost of feed concentrates has increased and it takes up a good part of the dairy farmer’s earnings. Adding legumes in fodder production and preparation can help cut down feed costs and improve profits. Legunes provide fodder for livestock and improve soil fertility.

Conserve adequate fodder for dry season

Feeding the cattle during the dry season needs good planning. A lot of fodder can be conserved and be used to feed the animals between January and April when there is severe fodder shortage. The entire crop residue is collected and conserved well for use as fodder in the dry season.

Know your pasture grasses: Nandi Setaria

Nandi setaria has the greatest range of adaptability of all tropical grasses (altitude 0-3,000m above sea level). It performs well in high rainfall areas with 900-1825 mm per year. The grass can also be grown in transitional zones and arid areas through irrigation.

Know your pasture grasses: Foxtail, the choice grass for beef farmers in arid areas.

Beef producers often incur losses when fodder is in short supply. But adjusting animals’ feeding program can help farmers produce quality beef during periods of drought. Beef production is mostly done in the arid and semi arid regions of East Africa. 

Lablab is good for food and fodder

Lablab is a source of protein for both humans and livestock. The legume improves soil fertility, is suitable as a cover crop and can be rotated with other crops. Forage legumes are important because they improve soil fertility through nitrogen fixation.

Urea can soften dry fodder for animals

Most farmers rely on maize stalks and other crop residue to feed their dairy cows during the dry season. It can be made easier to chew by adding urea to soften it. But farmers have to use the right quantity of urea as excess amounts can cause sudden death.

Prepare fodder early, for the dry season

Livestock farmers face problems in getting fodder and pasture for their animals. They can can avoid dry fodder shortages by conserving it when it is plenty during the wet season, this by planning ahead to determine their requirements and take conservation measures.

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