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Livestock Expert Recommends Desmodium as Cattle Fodder

Demand for milk and livestock products in Kenya is growing fast and has already outstripped supply in some parts of the country. One of the results is that many smallholder farmers are venturing into rearing dairy cattle and, to some extent, dairy goats.

One of these farmers is Emily Mukwambo, who keeps six dairy cows in her three and half acre farm in Busia County, western Kenya. However as Emily and thousands of other small-scale farmers embrace dairy farming, it is emerging that climate change is affecting the availability of fodder and forage leading to farmers failing to meet the nutritional needs of their livestock. Compounded by the lack of information some farmers have about these needs, milk production is being affected, leading to diminished incomes.

According to Emily, erratic rain and long dry spells mean that farmers are compelled to make silage or purchase bales of hay to feed their animals, paying little or no attention to the nutritional value of the grass used to make the hay.“The key concern is usually to ensure the cows survive drought,” says Emily, whose cows produce a daily average of 28 litres of milk.Adherence to a good nutritional regime could definitely increase their milk production.

Andrea Moroni

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