What makes a cow’s skin start to peel off?

Monday April 18 2016

The four popular exotic mushroom species currently grown and consumed in Kenya are Button Agaricus bisporus, the Oyster Pleurotus spp, Shiitake Lentinula edodes and Reishi Ganoderma lucidun.  FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A farmer displays some of the mushroom produce from his mushroom farm. FILE PHOTO| NATION MEDIA GROUP 


Kindly provide the contact of Fundisho Farm and its manager as we are interested in their project.

Neelam Shah



I am interested in farming herbs, therefore, I need the contact of Fundisho Farm manager Maina Mutheki.


Please give me the exact location of Fundisho Farm. I need to visit them.


EDITOR: Call the manager on 0721779131.



I live in Kilifi and I am looking for a special jiko to warm chicks at night. Please advise how I can access one.


EDITOR: Talk to Makau (right), who makes clay brooders, on 0729725720.



I would like to express my gratitude for your excellent work. As a poultry farmer, I am grateful for including my product in the Green Market. The positive exposure you have given us farmers is really a great boost.

EDITOR: Thank you for the support and keep reading.



I read your article on lockable and portable ponds and would like to acquire one from Dr Muga.

Kevin Muriuki

EDITOR: Dr Muga is available on 0711693876.


We are kindly requesting for Peter Kanyagia’s contact, the red worms farmer from Ndenderu you featured on July 18, 2014.

Solomon Kinuthia

Kienyeji Afrika

Editor: Talk to Peter Kanyagia, the earthworm farmer, on 0713032797.



I’d like to ask whether greenhouses are constructed according to the produce one is anticipating to farm. I am interested in farming onions and would like to know the type of greenhouse I am supposed to construct and its dimensions.

Ngugi, Murang’a

My advice is that you build a medium-sized greenhouse of 8m, width by 20 or 30m length and 3m high and it should be tunnel shaped. For cover material, contact Amiran Company Limited. The crops you would grow there must be high valued and do well in modified environment of a greenhouse. These can help you recover your initial costs and keep on getting profit in the next few years before you change the covering material. You can use metal, which lasts longer than wood, for framing. If you will be able to manage your crops well, then this is a promising business.

Peter Caleb, Horticulture Scientist,

Department of Crops Horticulture and soils,

Egerton University.


Where can I buy tree tomato seedlings and can they do well in cold areas?


You can buy tree tomato fruits and eat as you extract seeds. This is the way I have always done. The seedlings are also available from Horticultural Research Institute, Kandara Thika, where you have to place an order. Please consider contacting the station.

Peter Caleb, Horticulture Scientist,

Department of Crops Horticulture and soils,

Egerton University.



Which is the best animal feed that can speed up milk production?


Feed is a great determinant of both quality and quantity of milk production. For fodder material, provide feeds that are rich in all the five classes of nutrients. Incorporate protein-rich fodder like desmodium, calliandra, lucerne or groundnut leaves. As for concentrates, we have home-made ‘dairy meals’ and commercial ones. A number of feed manufacturing companies now classify dairy meal

concentrates into two; normal dairy meal and Hi Yield. The latter is more expensive because of higher amounts of energy and proteins. If resources allow, buy the Hi Yield and mix with mineral salt

available in powder forms from agrovets. The dairy meal amounts supplemented to animals is normally reliant on the amount of milk a cow produces. It is not economical on cows producing less than10 litres of milk. Above this, give about an extra kilo for every 1.5-2 litres of milk produced.

Felix Akatch Opinya,

Department of Animal Sciences,

Egerton University.



I have a cow, which I believe is of Ayrshire breed with part of its skin at the back having peeled off and exposed, and at times the place bleeds. A vet informed me it was due to exposure to sunlight. I have tried to put it in a shade and administered local herbs, car oil/lubricant to no avail. Please advise on the right treatment. The cow is in Sabatia, Vihiga.

Samuel Amwayi

Distressed farmer

Animals experience various skin problems that end up affecting their productivity and comfort; some of which are easy to cure while others complicated. Treatment remedy is best arrived at after visual assessment. All the same, you can report the matter to the nearest vet officer for expertise action. If treatable use antibiotics to control secondary infections. Note that some of these disease-related problems need to be treated promptly and effectively because delays may lead to slow and inexorable spread. Ensure you also separate the sick animal from the rest of the healthy herd. Control flies and

ticks since they may spread the problem causing more harm or pain.

Felix Akatch Opinya,

Department of Animal Sciences,

Egerton University.



I am M’miriti from Karanene. I have one acre under maize, which is about to be harvested. Please advise on better storage facilities and good drying methods to curb the aflatoxin menace.

It is important to note that the aflatoxin contamination of crops starts in the field (pre-harvest) and so prevention should start while the crop is on the farm. Do not let your maize stay longer in the field after it has matured.

During harvesting, care should be taken to avoid contact of the maize with the soil since the fungus that produces aflatoxin resides in the soil.

Before storage, shell the maize on canvas for at least seven days for the moisture content to fall to about 13 per cent. Any storage facility will be okay provided it can be kept dry and has good ventilation and preferably raised.

In the near future, there may be bio-pesticides (still under research) available in the local markets that can be used to manage the aflatoxin producing fungi in the field.

Hezekiah Korir,

Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils,

Egerton University.



I would like to acquire training on mushroom farming. Please advise me on where I can get it.


Getting knowledge in agricultural practices is vital for the success of your venture. Egerton University’s Department of Biological Sciences hosts a project on mushroom where training is also organised. Please talk to us.

Peter Caleb,

Horticulture Scientist,

Department of Crops Horticulture and soils,

Egerton University.



I would like to know where to source glass jars for packing fruit jam.

Charles Kariuki

A glass mason jar is commonly used for packing fruit jam. The jar’s mouth has a screw thread on its outer edge to hold a metal ring. The band, when screwed down, presses a separate stamped steel disc-shaped lid against the jar’s rim. An integral rubber ring on the underside of the lid creates a hermetic seal. The bands and lids usually come with new jars, but they are also sold separately. In jam-making, fruit jam is packed into the jar, leaving some empty ‘head space’ between the level of jam and the top of the jar. The lid is placed on top of the jar with the integral rubber seal resting on the rim.

A band is screwed loosely over the lid, allowing air and steam to escape. The jar is sterilised in boiling water or steam and the lid is secured. The jar is then allowed to cool to room temperature.

The cooling of the contents creates a vacuum in the head space, pulling the lid into tight contact with the jar rim to create a hermetic seal.

Once cooled, the band is removed to prevent residual water between the jar threads and the lid from rusting the band. If the jar seal is properly formed, internal vacuum will keep the lid tightly on the jar. Glass mason jars can be sourced from local glass container and glass table ware manufacturers in Nairobi’s, Industrial area.

Caroline Makau,

Department of Dairy, Food Science and Technology,

Egerton University