This article focuses on dairy farming in Kenya. Dairy farming is the largest agricultural sub-sector in Kenya. It contributes 14% of the country’s agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Important Factors To Consider Before Venturing Into Dairy Farming
- Fertile land for cultivation of fodder.
- Availability of market for dairy products
- Climatic conditions.
- Good housing for the cows/ proper shed construction.
- Enough supply of water.
- Proper breed selection/high-yielding breeds.
- Health management plan.
- Availability of feeds.
- Production system.
Dairy Breeds Raised In Kenya
It can produce about 15-20 litres of milk on a daily basis.
This breed can produce 20 litres of milk daily.
Its daily milk yield is 18-20 litres. This breed can also be reared for beef.
They are known to be fast growers and can produce about 25 litres of milk daily.
This breed can produce 25 to 30 litres of milk daily.
Housing Of Dairy Cattle
Dairy cattle require good housing facilities or structures to produce effectively. The structures need to be spacious and be able to protect the cattle from harsh weather conditions.
Within the structures, you can also construct proper feeding facilities and waste management systems to ensure the animals are very comfortable.
Some of the necessary equipment needed include;
- Milking facilities or machines.
- Chaff cutters.
- Pest control equipment such as knapsack sprayers.
Dairy animals require proper feeding for good productivity. The feeds should be able to provide the required nutritional needs for sufficient milk production.
The dairy animals can be fed with dry forages such as hay and wet forage such as silage. You can also feed the animals with commercial dairy meals, wheat bran, seed cakes, supplements and plenty of water.
Dairy Farming Systems
1. Open grazing system
It is a type of system where the animals are left to freely roam in the open field in search of food.
2. Intensive system
In this system, the animals are fully housed and not allowed to graze in the open fields.
3. Semi-intensive system
It is a mixed type of system where the animals are partly zero-grazed and partly left to roam in the open field.
Dairy Market In Kenya
There is a ready market for dairy products in Kenya, especially milk which is more of a necessity in most homesteads in the country.
Milk fetches good prices in the informal markets where a litre goes for about Kshs 70.