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Feedback: Know large head cabbage varieties

Thursday September 12 2019

A farmer attends to her cabbages.

A farmer attends to cabbages in a farm in this past photo. When choosing a cabbage variety to cultivate, consider maturity period, adaptability to the prevailing environmental conditions, yield potential, tolerance or resistance to pests and diseases and consumer preference in the market. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
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THE LARGE HEAD CABAGGE VARIETIES

I have a piece of land in Kinangop where I want to plant cabbages for commercial purposes. Please advise me on the best variety in terms of size and weight. I believe the heavier the better.

Boniface

When choosing a variety, you have to consider maturity period, adaptability to the prevailing environmental conditions, yield potential, tolerance or resistance to pests and diseases and consumer preference in the market.

For cabbage, there are varieties which have small, medium and big heads. If your target market is large head, then you can try the following varieties.

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

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I AM LOOKING FOR SEEDLINGS’ MARKET

Please link me with a marketing expert because I have a propagation nursery where I grow various plants ranging from vegetables to fruit trees. I would like to get more information on where to sell my products.

Baba Miller, Eldoret

You cannot lack market for vegetable and fruit seedlings but you have not told us the types you have.

You can advertise your seedlings through print media or social media and list down the vegetables and fruit seedlings which are available in your nursery.

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

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MAKING SILAGE FOR DAIRY COWS

I want to start dairy farming but the main challenge is food for the cows. How can one make silage?

Noah

Dairy farming requires good farm planning. Part of the planning is getting to know where to get the dairy cows from; visit a few farms before buying your own herd.

Plant maize or fodder grass for making silage to guarantee your cows quality feeds. Cut the maize 10cm from the ground a day before silage-making.

This is when the plant is at milk stage or soft dough stage. Cut the maize plants 3-5 inches using a chaff-cutter. This exposes the sugars in maize for bacterial fermentation.

Then compress the material using a tractor or hire people to step on it as you ensile to remove air since silage making is an oxygen-free process.

You also need a nylon paper to ensile the silage. You put a layer of 6 inches on top and after 21 days, the silage is ready. It can keep more than five years if need be.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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SMALL-SCALE BULL FARMS

Please link me to a small-scale farmer I can visit who rears bulls around Nakuru or Nyahururu. I’ve visited Solio, O-l Pajeta and Dr Gakuo in Chaka.

Chomba

Rearing bulls is normally done large-scale and mostly in ranches. This is because of economies of scale and also because the beef breed is well-adapted to the arid and semi-arid areas.

However, that does not mean that small-scale dairy farmers don’t have bulls, they do and raise them together with heifer calves and sell them to earn a living.

The trend is, however, moving towards artificial insemination making bull rearing less on small-scale farms because of the high cost of raising them.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University

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MARKET FOR ONIONS

I am selling 10 tonnes of red bulb onions of Jambar varieties. My farm is located in Athi River, Machakos County. Please let me know if you can assist find market.

Dave Kimani

There is a grocery store based in Kahawa Sukari, Nairobi, whose owner is looking for continuous supply of onions, among other fresh farm produce.

You can get in touch with the owner on +254723863614 or [email protected] for specific terms of business.

Sillus Oduor,
Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University.

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RABBIT URINE MARKET

I have 350 litres of rabbit urine but I have failed to get a market. I am based in Kabare where I don’t have a garden, so what can I do? Please advise.

Twimukye Dickson

It would be interesting to know how many rabbits you have to help in planning. To accumulate 350 litres, you must be having tens of rabbits.

There is business in rabbit urine both as a bio-pesticide and fertiliser. You can ferment your rabbit urine, maize starch and molasses mixture for 21 days, then dilute a litre of the mixture with 20 litres of water and sell to neighbouring farms.

Alternatively, market the produce through social media and at farmers’ events. The mixture has been reported to contain nitrogen rich compounds and control aphids and moths when it is sprayed on leaves and stems of plants.

The rabbit urine can go for between Sh300 and Sh400 per litre.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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I WANT TO START KEEPING LAYERS

I am keen to keep layers, where should I start?

Joseph Malung

The first thing is to identify the market you will be producing for. Having an idea of the market will help you plan the location of the farm to reduce production costs and maximise profits.

Location dictates your proximity to the market to deliver to target customers as well as the cost of acquiring raw materials for feed formulation or already compounded feeds for the birds. The next crucial aspect is housing.

The ideal house should provide the birds with a comfortable environment and protect them from the extremities of the prevailing weather conditions.

The house should provide adequate space for the flock. The ideal stocking density is two square feet per bird. Having this in mind will help you in planning the size of the house if the birds are to be kept in deep litter system.

Once you are set with housing, the next thing is to know where to source chicks.

One can use day-old chicks from hatcheries. You can also opt to buy chicks that are more than a day old up to about six months old from reputable farmers.

In either case, remember to ask for the vaccination programme for the birds so that you know what vaccine has already been administered and what is yet to be. The feeding of the birds is also key.

If the birds are from another farmer, inquire on the feeding regime previously used to reduce stressing them due to change of feeds.

This can impact on growth as well as production. For day-old chicks, start with chick mash for the first eight weeks of life then gradually transit to growers’ mash as from week 9 to 15 then again gradually introduce layers mash from week 16 to week 20 onwards. Average feed per bird is around 120g as from around point of lay.

All through the growth stages, water should be provided all the time. Remember, for a farmer to break even, a higher number of birds is recommended.

Ideally, I will advise 300 birds for a start and as you expand production, consider increasing the population to 1,000 birds and above.

Ochiel Alvine
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.