alexa Feedback: Making quality napier grass silage - Daily Nation

Feedback: Making quality napier grass silage

Friday February 22 2019

Silage stored in polythene bags.

Silage stored in polythene bags. To make good napier grass silage, the crop needs to be harvested at a height of about a metre high before being wilted for a day or two, depending on prevailing ambient temperatures to reduce the moisture content. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
By SEEDS OF GOLD EXPERTS
More by this Author

MAKING NAPIER GRASS SILAGE

You recently advised me to use napier grass to make silage. I did and applied diluted molasses, but it produced a very nasty fluid.

The cows rejected the feed and I had to throw away about five tonnes. I will try it again and just sprinkle salt on it as I compact it. Is it a good way to do it?

David Bor, Kericho

Several factors can affect the quality of napier grass silage, including harvest time, the height of the grass at harvesting, the period of fermentation, and whether the silage is densely packed and free of air spaces.

To make good napier grass silage, the crop needs to be harvested at a height of about a metre high before being wilted for a day or two, depending on prevailing ambient temperatures to reduce the moisture content to between 60 per cent to 70 per cent.

Thereafter, you need to chop the crop into small pieces of about an inch and compact the crop periodically as you spread out the pieces.

Good compaction can be achieved by running a tractor or by rolling a 250 litre drum filled with water over the spread heap.

Finally, seal the silo with a polythene sheet (of about 1,000 gauge thickness) and place weights on top such as a layer of soil, 5cm thick.

Kimitei K Ronald,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

****

HOW TO STEAM A COW

How do I steam a cow for it to be on heat ready to be served?

Sammy Kitur

As a good farmer, you need to ensure that your cow calves down a healthy calf that would be a parent of future generations.

You achieve this by giving it a good plane of nutrition 60 days before birth. Poor nutrition often delays puberty, reduces conception rate and increases pregnancy losses in heifers.

Once you have a healthy calf that has taken enough colostrum, its rumen development will be well. The heifer will reach maturity 12-15 months and it can be served.

If you do this and have the right nutrition and management, the heifer will come on heat on time.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences,
Egerton University.

****
PIG FEEDS FORMULATION ON THE FARM

Kindly share the contact of someone who can help me with pig feed ratio combination.

Grace Mwiti

I want to imagine that you are either a feed manufacturer, you want to venture into feed manufacturing, you are pig farmer or you want to venture into pig farming, therefore, you wish to make your own feeds on the farm.

First, you need to have a reliable source of raw materials, high quality feed ingredients, equipment, good store and good employees.

Contact 0714284777 for ration formulation.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences,
Egerton University.

****

I STARTED FARMING, NOW I AM STRANDED

I am Daniel Kaloki from Mwala, Machakos County. This year, I started commercial farming of sukuma wiki, onions and spinach on a pilot project using drip irrigation. I aspire to get fully into farming but I am stranded.

Thank you Daniel for your interest in farming but you have not told us why you are stranded and how. What problems did you encounter?

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

****

TYPES OF CROP FARMING

I am a student at the university and I am curious to know some farming methods. I have a little capital and I would like to get into farming.

Ben Shirah, Ruiru

There are several methods of farming. To begin with, there is mono-cropping, which is growing of only one type of crop in the field.

Intercropping involves growing two types of crops in the same field at the same time.

Mixed farming, on the other hand, involves growing of several crops on the same field at the same time.

For rotational cropping, the land is divided into plots and the crops on the plots are rotated in an orderly sequence. The rotated crops should not belong to the same family because they share similar pests and diseases.

Deep-rooted crops should be rotated with shallow-rooted ones for efficient nutrient utilisation.

Successional cropping crops are grown at different dates at an interval of 2-3 weeks or planting early, mid-season and late maturing cultivars.

The crops will mature at different times and this will ensure constant supply of produce in the market.

Relay cropping is when a second crop is introduced into the farm when the first crop is almost maturing.

Open field crops are grown in the field while protected cropping is where crops are grown in structures like greenhouses.

Home production farming is basically subsistence farming while market-oriented production is farming for sale.

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

****

LASER VS DRIP IRRIGATION

On January 26, an article by Carol Mutua, of the Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils, Egerton University stated that “laser drip” irrigation is better than the drip irrigation currently being used in Kenya.

We wish to know on what basis this judgement was made?

Eugene Reeksting
Laser Engineering Supplies Ltd
Naivasha

This was a response to a farmer who wanted to know about laser drip irrigation and in my answer, I did not say that it is used in Kenya but referred the farmer to Drip Tech company in India.

Where and by whom was this drip system tested against the “currently” used drip systems in Kenya?
According to Drip Tech, laser drip irrigation system is better than the common drip irrigation. I did not say that it has been tested in Kenya and I did not mean to affect your business as you have stated above.

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

****

I NEED BLACK SOLDIER FLIES

I'm looking for a farmer selling dried black soldier fly larvae. I would appreciate to know the price per kilo.
Maryanne Wanja, Nakuru

Black soldier fly larvae are among emerging protein sources. Others include termites, earthworms, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.

Protein sources are expensive and, therefore, looking for alternatives will reduce the cost of production and competition with human beings on other protein sources like fishmeal (omena).

The black soldier larvae production is made easy because organic wastes are used. This include kitchen and animal waste. The larvae has crude protein of up to 48 per cent.

Talk to [email protected] Feel free to contact us if no help is forthcoming. The cost per kilogram is about Sh80.

Dennis Kigiri,
Department of Animal Sciences,
Egerton University.