Appropriate Cattle Breeds for Dairying in Marginal areas

Farmers intending to keep dairy cows in the marginal areas and hoping to reap big from milk production are advised to keep Sahiwal, Friesian/Sahiwal Cross and Jersey cattle suitable for these areas. 

It is always motivating for farmers to keep dairy cows that would give them high returns. Such a cow must be of a particular quality breed, suited to an area’s ecological conditions and it exhibits various superior qualities over other breeds when raised under optimum management.

According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Organization dairy researcher Samuel Tangus, greater proportion of dairy farming is shifting towards low rainfall areas hence change in production cycle.

Sahiwal

Sahiwal is adapted to diverse climatic conditions hence suitable in semi-arid areas. The average maturity weight is 425 kg. At first calving, the mother is usually between 30 to 46 months. It can produce 1574 kg of milk in 393 days lactation. Milk from Sahiwal cows has high butterfat content.

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Sahiwal cow

Sahiwal/Friesan cross

  • Suitable for milk production in the dry areas
  • Average milk production is 10 liters per day (2500 liters during the entire lactation period). If well fed this cow can produce 25 liters per day.
  • It has a fast growth rate: they wean at 3 months, heifers are served at 340 kg (22-24 months).

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Sahiwal/Friesian cross breed

Jersey Cattle

  • Adaptable to a wide range of climatic and geographical conditions
  • Her feed requirements are lower when compared to other breeds
  • Her average mature weight is 450 kg
  • Jersey milk has high butterfat content
  • Jersey can produce 6800 kg of milk under optimal conditions

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Jersey cow 

To enhance production, Tangus advises farmers to feed on the cows on maize germ, poultry waste, dairy mineral lick, lucerne hay, napier grass, boma Rhodes and desmodium.

Tangus can be reached on +254 723 159 813