Feedback: How to make meal for heifers - Daily Nation

Feedback: How to make meal for heifers

Wednesday December 5 2018

A farmer feeds dairy heifers in a farm in Uasin Gishu.

A farmer feeds dairy heifers in a farm in Uasin Gishu. It is important to use the available feeds in a diet that meets the needs of the cattle in the different stages of production. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
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SHOW ME HOW TO MAKE DAIRY MEAL FOR MY HEIFERS

I have wheat bran, wheat pollard, maize germ, sunflower, cotton seed cake, soya, bone meal and fish meal. Kindly advice on how to make a dairy meal for my heifers and what ration per day.

The heifers are five to seven weeks to calving.

Kawango C

Inadequate nutrition is a major cause of low live-weight gains, infertility and low milk yields in dairy cattle.

About 50-70 per cent of cost of dairy production is made up of cost of feeds.

It is important to use the available feeds in a diet that meets the needs of the cattle in the different stages of production.

Kenya Bureau of Standards specifications for dairy meal are 10.5 ME/Kg (Energy), CP=14-16%, Cal = 0.7% & P=0.5 percent.

It is prudent to understand your production system, whether animals are confined or they are out grazing.

This is because animals require energy to walk and have free choice of feed in the field.

They also have different nutrient requirements.

Protein sources are expensive and most limiting animal feed ingredients.

Meeting the protein and energy requirements for the cow are core to dairy nutrition.

Vitamin and minerals are also important. Fix fish meal at 5 per cent to avoid tainting the milk.

From the ingredients available, you can use maize germ 43kg, wheat pollard 16kgs, wheat bran 26kgs, sunflower meal 5.5kgs, cotton meal 6.75kgs, lime 0.5kgs, DCP 1kg, magadi 1kg, and premix 0.25kgs

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University

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WHAT CROPS CAN ONE GROW IN EMBU

Hi, Thank you for your very informative articles about animal and crop farming. Advise me on the type of food crops one can grow in Embu West Sub-County. Do lentils (kamande) do well in this region?

If so, where can I get certified seeds? Thank you.

Onesmus Kariuki

Crops like kales (sukuma wiki), onions, tomatoes, capsicum, brinjals, pumpkin, cucumber, green grammes, sweet potato, maize, sorghum, arrowroots and indigenous vegetables like spider plant, black nightshade, amaranthus, cowpeas and fruits like mango and pawpaw will do well in Embu County.

Carol Mutua, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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WHERE CAN I BET NYAYO BEAN VARIETY?

I would like to know the price of the nyayo bean seed variety and how can I get them? I am a resident of Murang’a County.

Patrick Ozil Ndege

Nyayo or rose coco bean variety is available at Kenya Seed Company. You can contact the firm 0739722222.

Carol Mutua, Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University

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WHY GREENHOUSES IN FISH PRODUCTION?

I am in Kiambu and would like to know more about use of greenhouses in aquaculture.

Kimani D

Greenhouses are used in aquaculture due to their micro-climate effect known scientifically as the greenhouse effect.

In Kenya most aquaculture fish species are warm water. They include the Nile tilapia, African catfish and common carp.

These fish do well in temperatures above 21°C.

Lower temperatures usually result in slow/stunted growth. To achieve such temperatures throughout the production cycle, greenhouses have been suggested as one of the solutions.

Clear polythene papers used in greenhouses traps solar radiation and prevents its escape. The radiation then warms the water in which the fish is raised.

Furthermore, greenhouses prevents drastic temperature drop especially at night.

Fish metabolism is under the mercy of temperature and in instances of drastic temperature drop, metabolism is highly affected.

This affects the growth of fish. This instance is very common in cold areas where stunted growth of fish has been reported.

Research shows that in cold areas, fish grown in greenhouse reach table size within six months.

The growth of fish inside the greenhouse is three times higher compared to fish raised in open ponds.

For more information concerning this, write to [email protected]

Alex Akidiva, AgroScience Park Fish Farm, Egerton University

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I REQUIRE INFORMATION ON DROUGHT RESISTANT CROPS

I wrote to you earlier on the source of information on drought resistant crops in the coastal region but got no reply.

I also wrote to Alex Akidiva on the above same but the email did not go through! I wonder if you could forward it onto the correct address?

JM Golds

Please reach me through [email protected] for more engagements.

Alex Akidiva, AgroScience Park Fish Farm, Egerton University

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MAKING SILAGE FRON NAPIER GRASS

Thank you for your great work. I need information on making soilage. Is it possible for one to make soilage from napier grass? If so, what is the best way to do it?

David Bor. Kericho

Napier is one of the best grasses to ensile if harvested at the correct stage.

For ensiling, harvest the grass when about one metre high.

I have come across farmers who do not chop this grass when making soilage, arguing that it is softer compared to maize for silage.

This is not right. Chopping napier grass will not only result in soilage of better quality, but makes better use of silo capacity and increased voluntary intake when ready.

You can use additives like molasses or soilage inoculants such as Ecosyl to provide suitable conditions for good fermentation.

For a step by step procedure of making soilage, refer to article ‘Guide to making nutritious soilage for your animals’ posted on Seeds of Gold website.

Felix Akatch Opinya, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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WHERE CAN ONE GET DORPER SHEEP?

I am interested in Dorper sheep farming. Where can I get the hybrid dorper sheep?

Fredrick Muriithi

Dorper sheep is a cross between Blackhead Persian and Dorset Horn breeds.

The breed has a fast growth rate, is hardy and produces good quality mutton.

It is of fairly good reproductive performance.

Dorper has been used to cross the Red Maasai and is known to thrive in low agro-ecological zones owing to its adaptation ability.

Contact the Dorper Sheep Breeders Society of Kenya on 0718614765 or e-mail [email protected]

Felix Akatch Opinya, Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.