Mkulima today boost your dairy farming production with these tips. Farmers get into agriculture so as to be self-employed and earn from their side hustle. One of the leading ways to achieve these is by starting out in dairy farming. Remember every field has challenges so get started here and build your venture.
Dairy farming is the keeping of cattle, goats, and camels for milk production.
For the last couple of years, dairy farming has grown tremendously in Kenya. There are more than enough examples of people making a good living from this venture.
However, starting such a farm without extensive knowledge may lead to huge losses. Mkulima today, we will be focusing on large scale dairy cattle farming, and more so with a Friesian breed.
But before we delve deeper, it is good to mention some of the most popular dairy breeds that are common in our local dairy farms.
The Friesian is a black and white dairy cattle, which originated from the Netherlands and produces more milk than any other cattle breed. Jersey came from Jersey in South England in Britain. It is adaptable to extreme heat and cold conditions. The Ayrshire dairy cow came from Scotland and has white and brown patches.
The guernsey is from the Island of Guernsey in the channel islands. It is a phone or red and white and color and is Hardy and dorsal. Large scale dairy farming in Kenya accounts for 20% of national milk production.
It is practiced mainly in the central and rift Valley parts of Kenya on the Leeward side of the slopes of Mount Kenya lies the expansive Wangu Embori farm.
The farm has more than 500 purely Friesian dairy cows. And that number increases by the day with the birth of at least 10 calves a day, we sought to know what it takes to manage such a huge herd,
To Manage such a farm or such a big herd. You have to first study the cow.
You must know your cow. And knowing your cow means, you know how much it can consume in a day. Then you can calculate that with the number of animals you have and the time.
I do harvest silage twice a year. So I have to calculate my silage requirements for six months, at least a minimum of six months.
So we work backward, how much a cow feeds in a day, I term of silage, straws and in terms of concentrates, then I can extrapolate that to six or so months.
And with that, a farmer outside there will be able to run his daily, his or her daily from successfully without fail.
Feed and fooder management is key in large scale, dairy farming.
Feeding should be done according to the body, weight, and yield of the animal. During dry months, you can cut down feed a bit, but should not reduce it drastically.
At Wangu Wembori farm, they have segmented part of their farm to plant fodder for their livestock. That also includes a large herd of sheep.
Example of fodder includes nappier grass, boma rhodes, Lucerne, desmodium, and sweet potato vines.
A Friesian cow will eat about 3 percent of id body weight as dry matter.
So for all my feeds, I have to check the dry matter content compared to the weight of the cow. Basically, a half-ton cow, which is my average weight class for several cows.
We’re gonna feed the boat 15 kilos of dry matter. And to achieve that. You can use about 20 kilos of silage 10 kilos of straws and maybe six kilos of concentrate.
And with that, you are roughly 15 kilos of dry matter per day and in line to boost your dairy farming production with these tips.
It is a challenging task to monitor each and every animal’s health when dealing with such a large herd.
Pests and diseases can also spread very quickly if not checked and controlled on time.
Thus record keeping is a necessary element of good livestock business management. With no written records farmers have to depend on their memory when making decisions regarding the farm practices.
But memories can become unreliable after a few days, months, or years. Now, this can be done easily if animals have some identifications or numberings according to experts, it is prudent to have a full-time vet on the farm,
Ensure your cows have access to clean water all day round.
At the same time ensure that the water is safe for human drinking. Basically, you can walk to a water trough.
If you can see through that water is not good for a cow. As a result of this, the cow will be taking little water and affect the cow’s production.
There are cardinal signs you should look out for every day as you do your routine inspection. Expect the cows to be resting normally even feeding while others chew the cud.
During the feeding time be careful and keen. All the cows should approach the feeding trough during this period of feeding naturally and it’s normal.
If you notice any cow not approaching that is an indication for something to be investigated.
During the investigation check, if the cow has been chewing cud, the cow is lame, the cow is hurt, or any other issues.
At the feeding, trough check if all cows are feeding. If this is not the case then either the cow is bullying the others or it has an issue to be concerned about.
One of the things to do is you should check the cow’s temperature and general health conditions. If all checks out continue monitoring the cow.
If the cow is lame or hurts treat the problem immediately. Dealing with the issue early will help you assist the cow at the same time avoid reduced milk production as a result of the injury and discomfort to the cow.
Disease and pest control is done through controlling and reduced movement of animals, vehicles, and humans in and out of the farm.
Every vehicle coming into the farm has to drive through a bath that contains disinfectant sick or new animals. Joining the herd should be quarantined to avoid the risk of spreading infections.
There are some cases that need isolation because they are diseases that are notifiable and some are not notifiable. A case of mastitis or injury. You don’t need to isolate such a cow.
This is not a contagious disease. Normally the diseases that need isolation, are notifiable and say anthrax or cases like a foot and mouth.
If you notice saliva dripping from a cow’s mouth isolate it and find others with the same problem. At the isolation check for temperature and when you suspect it’s a notifiable disease inform a vet officer.
Disease like FMD vaccinates every four months and anthrax once a year. Check for all precautions with your vet boost your dairy farming production with these tips.
Machine milking is gradually being adopted in many large farms in Kenya because it reduces labor and performs a better quality milking job than hand milking.
A cow should be milked within seven minutes. Milking beyond this time is not productive because of the hormone oxytocin that stimulates the milk production and will have long ceased to be effective.
Machine milking. On the other hand is very fast, such that all the milk will have been removed but by the end of this time. Lack of proper milking techniques may result in mastitis.
Mastitis in dairy cows is caused by udder infections, usually resulting from bacteria introduced either during the milking process or from environmental contact. According to experts, there are several ways in which a farmer can detect mastitis.
You can purchase a strip cup. If not you can use your hands to detect for the clot. When using the strip cup you will notice the clots will stick on the black rough membrane.
If you notice this isolate the cow immediately and start treatment.
We’ve got the accurate, the CMT method. CMT consists of a paddle and reagents. You can easily source for the reagents from your local agrovet.
The paddle is normally marked with each tit with its own spot. Milk some milk onto the paddle and add the reagent.
Once the reagent is introduced shake to mix. The reagents work by reacting to bacteria from the infected titis. To confirm this the milk on the paddle turns into mucus-like fluid.
After that strip, the milk then introduces the medication. Always use a weak medication and if it doesn’t respond move to a stronger dose.
If you use the stronger medication as the first choice there is a high chance of losing the animal or causing injury to the udder or even total loss. Boost your dairy farming production with these tips and contact us for any more information.
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