CRICKETS AND SOLDIER FLIES AS CHICKEN FEED
I came across your blog on February 9 titled “Tips on rearing crickets and black soldier flies for livestock feeds”. I was moved by the piece as it is the information I was looking for.
I intend to start a poultry farm and am considering using crickets and black soldier flies as my source of proteins.
Could you kindly respond to these queries?
1. Where does one get these insects?
2. If I produce more than what I need, is there a market for the surplus?
3. Many people prefer the brown crickets. Can I still rear the black species and what is the difference between the two?
Anne Muthoni, Nakuru
Increased demand for fishmeal and soybean and reduced supply of the same has increased the already high cost of animal feeds.
Rearing insects as protein feed has several benefits, including management of organic waste, making organic fertiliser and a protein feed ingredients for animals.
Please provide your details to NMG via email. I will get to you with details.
Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University
HELP ME GET WATER FROM COWSHED
I am in the process of collecting water from a 50x21ft cowshed on my small farm in Sotik. Where can I get certified polythene sheet to line a water storage dug-out hole of 10×15ft?
DK Korir, Bomet
Kenya is a water-scarce country with less than 600 cubic metres per capita. That is below the global standard of 1,000 cubic metres.
Water scarcity is a constraint to Kenya’s socio-economic development and the achievement of Vision 2030. It is also an agenda detailed in the Sustainable Development Goals.
The situation is exacerbated by climate change, population growth and urbanisation. Water harvesting is important if your farm is to run successfully. You can visit agrovets in Kericho to get the polythene sheet.
Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.
HOW DO I GET INTO DAIRY, PIG FARMING?
I’m an avid reader of Seeds of Gold. I am interested in dairy, pig and poultry farming. I would like to know if there are physical or online databases that could interlink stakeholders like breeders and their farm location catalogues with pedigree history and the associated costs.
Peter Kinyanjui, Narok
According to a survey by Smallholder Dairy Project, there were approximately 6.7 million dairy cattle in Kenya in 2005. The Food Agricultural Organisation gave the figure of 5.5 million animals in 2008.
In Africa, only Kenya and South Africa produce enough milk for domestic consumption and export.
Meat consumption levels are still low, but are expected to rise with improving GDP and a growing middle class.
Consumers are also increasingly conscientious. They will start making demands concerning quality and safety, which producers, processors and distributors must satisfy.
Meat consumption is expected to double by 2030. Pork and poultry consumption will triple as a combined effect of increasing per capita consumption and population growth.
This demonstrates the importance of these industries. Animal registration is done by the Kenya Livestock Breeders Organisation (KLBO) through the Kenya Stud Book.
KLBO is a farmers’ organisation under the Agricultural Society of Kenya. It brings together representatives of breed societies and relevant government agencies. KLBO is the secretariat of the societies.
It has two organs: Kenya Stud Book and the Dairy Recording Services of Kenya. The Kenya Stud Book is charged with recording and maintaining accurate and authentic ancestral and identification information of animals.
Both agencies issue a certificate once an animal has been registered. They also issue a lactation certificate at the end of milking. I would encourage you to visit the ASK as many times as possible.
Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.
CONNECT ME WITH ASIA'S BIRD NESTS MARKETS
On March 16, the Nation published an article titled “Bird's nest that will cost you a fortune”. The piece aroused my curiosity. I have access to many nests. Kindly tell me how I can get the market.
Godfrey Kiplangat, Uasin Gishu
Thanks for taking your time to read the article. Edible Bird’s Nest is produced by swiftlets. It is made using the birds’ saliva. Its main markets are Hong Kong (50 per cent), China (8 per cent), Taiwan (4 per cent) and Macau (3 per cent). Price varies with specific countries.
The product is not readily available in Kenya. You will need to make arrangements on how to import it from the above countries. Information on shipment charges and other logistics can always be found online.
Feel free to visit the Food Science and Technology Department, Egerton University and you will be guided accordingly. Thanks
Daisy Lanoi, Egerton University
ADVISE ME ON HOW TO GET BABY CORN SEEDS
I am in need of baby corn seeds. I will appreciate your advice. Thank you.
S Okwako, Busia
Baby corn SG18 seeds are available at Kenya Highlands Seed Company Ltd, Nairobi. You can reach the firm on 0725549997.
Faith Ndungi, Department of Human Nutrition, Egerton University
CAN I GROW WATERMELONS IN NAKURU?
I am interested in growing watermelons. Does the weather in Nakuru favour this kind of farming? What type of watermelon should I go for?
Ruth Sainah, Nakuru
Watermelons are warm season crops and they require a long growing season of high temperatures.
Good vegetative growth requires 18-32 degrees Centigrade, the optimal being 18- 24.
They do better with adequate water supply.
Within a growing season, at least 400mm of moisture would be required.
Soils should be well drained and with good water holding capacity.
The pH should be 6.0-6.8. Watermelons have been grown successfully in sandy soils, where water supply is adequate.
However, the best soils are sandy loam or silt loam.
Application of nitrogenous fertilisers is based on soil type.
Soils with high organic matter require 80kg N/ha, while light soils would need 140 kg N/Ha.
The nitrogen fertiliser should be applied and incorporated into the soil at planting time.
Phosphorus and potassium application are based on soil tests. Both should also be applied at the time of planting.
The best melons are those raised under irrigation. Most of the soils under which the melons are grown are light, requiring frequent watering to maintain good growth.
Depending on the environmental conditions, 450-600mm of water is required within a growing season.
Water can be applied through drip or furrow irrigation. The use of sprinkler irrigation raises humidity within the canopy and this leads to high disease incidence.
Weeds should be controlled, especially when the melon plants are young.
Weeds offer greater competition by shading the melon plants.
Weed control can be achieved by the application of black plastic mulch, cultivation, and the use of herbicides that are registered for melons.
The most common varieties of watermelons are Charleston Gray, Sugar baby, Sukari F1 hybrid, Pato F1 and Early scarlet.
Carol Mutua, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University
MY ONIONS ARE IN THE NURSERY, ADVISE ON WHERE TO SELL
I’ve read an article on best variety of onions for the market though I have already put my seeds in the nursery. Kindly advise on the market for this variety.
Unfortunately, you have not told us the variety you have read about or the one in the nursery. All in all, you can sell your onions to hotels, schools, hospitals at open air markets, in towns and even villages.
You can also advertise your onions through social media or even in the buyers and sellers column of Seeds Of Gold.
Carol Mutua, Dept of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University