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    Recent research showed that most pastoralists believe that calves collect worms from the pasture during feeding.

    Cattle calves’ diarrhea infection is a non-responsive diarrhea to treatment in suckling cattle calves. Recent research by the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization showed that most pastoralists believe that calves collect worms from the pasture during feeding. The signs of the disease include diarrhea, Colic-abdominal pains and colored mucus.

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    Some vegetation species e.g. Duosperma eremophilum are associated with worms. Further, pastoralists associate diarrhoea in suckling calves with excess milk. The cattle owners treat diarrhoea of in-house calves with antibiotics. The calves however sometimes do not recover but the diarrhoea continues and may lead to death.

    Calves are usually infected with worms from the mother. The Dormant eggs in the mother become active and larvae migrate to the mammary glands whereby in-house calves are infected after suckling milk of the infected mothers.

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    Treat the sick calves with a de-wormer (Use a safe, effective, metabolisable and economic de-wormer).  Ensure that the cattle calves are well restrained to avoid choking.

    For laboratory diagnosis collect faecal sample for examination in the laboratory. On examination, eggs of the parasite are seen on the specimen.

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    Treat the cow in the last trimester of pregnancy with a de-wormer. Also clean the bomas to avoid re-infection. It is advisable to treat new animals before introducing them to your herd. Finally, share the knowledge with other cattle owners to increase awareness of the disease in the community.

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    Over 50,000 farmers from Kenya and Uganda are set to benefit from a new breed of Napier grass that is resistant to Napier Stunt Disease which has threatened extinction of the vital forage for farmers at a time when over 80 percent of small holder dairy farmers rely on it as the main source fodder.

    Farmers in western Kenya have already started planting the disease resistant variety of Napier grass in a drive aimed at reversing the drastic cut in fodder production due to the disease which was first discovered in 1990s. The new Napier grass varieties have been identified by scientists from the International center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in partnership with Rothamsted Research, UK, and national institutes in East Africa.

    Napier Stunt Disease was first identified in western Kenya in 1997 by ICIPE and its partner Rothamsted Research. These two organizations, funded by the US-based McKnight Foundation’s Collaborative Crop Research Program, have led research over the last decade to combat the disease. Together with national research institutes in East Africa, scientists identified the cause of the disease, a pytoplasma bacterium, and the insect transmitting it among plants: the Maiestas banda species of leafhopper. Napier Stunt Disease is a virulent disease, sometimes killing off entire fields of the fodder crop.

    According to Professor Zeyaur Khan, icipe Principal Scientist and coordinator of the project to combat Napier Stunt Disease, the trials and testing of the two new disease resistant varieties is complete and they are now focusing to their next target. “The two disease-resistant varieties, Ouma 2 and South Africa, have already been tested in selected farmers’ fields in western Kenya.” The team of scientists plans to use farmers to help multiply the seedlings and help in distribution and adoption of the breeds in the rural families. “Our goal now is to work with these farmers to propagate the grass to others, for instance through farmers’ groups. We are also training 50 trainers of trainers, who will in turn train farmers in the fields, so they know how to care for the new varieties and how to best incorporate the new grasses into their cropping systems,” added Prof Khan.

    In East Africa, Napier grass is an important crop, with over 80 percent of smallholder dairy systems relying on it as the main source of cattle fodder in Kenya. In Uganda, it provides about 90 percent of fodder for smallholder dairies. In addition, Napier is a key component of ICIPE’S push-pull technology, which involves planting Napier grass typically around the perimeter of plantings of cereal crops, such as maize and sorghum, which are easily infested by stem borers, an insect pest. The Napier grass emits a chemical that draws (or pulls) stem borers away from food crops to what the stem borers sense will be a more inviting meal. Napier grass also helps protect soil from erosion, and is a valuable source of income for smallholder farmers in East Africa.

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    Planting tissue culture bananas using the correct guidelines is very important for farmers who would like to increase their yields and earn more profits. Eliud Njoroge, a crops researcher at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) says marketing of crops starts at production and not at harvesting stage as practiced by many farmers.

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    The spacing between one plant to another plant should be 9 by 9 feet. Holes should be squared shaped by 3 ft by 3 ft.  The top soil should be separated from the sub soil. Mix 2 wheelbarrows’ of farm yard manure per hole, 200g of DAP or TSP and nematicide (Mocap or bionematon) to control nematodes in the bananas.

    READ ALSO: KALRO selling high quality Banana Tissue culture seedlings

    Put the mixture back in the hole up to 2 ft. Cut the plastic bag holding the seedling ensuring that the root plug does not break. Plant the seedling firmly in the moisture and pour 40 liters of water at planting.

    Once grown, pour 20 liters of water in a week. To prevent weeds, mulching is needed which can be done by placing dry grass 6 inches away from the plant, intercropping- planting with leguminous crops e.g. beans. It is important to de-leaf to remove old disease leaves using a knife. Suckers should by ensuring you grow 3 best suckers at any given time facing the eastern side where the sun is rising from to ensure there is enough sunlight for the plants. Unwanted suckers should be destroyed using a kit.

    READ ALSO:Farmer earns twice from tissue culture banana

    It takes 12 to 13 weeks from the time the banana fruit stem first appear to the time the bananas are harvested. Bananas are harvested while they are still green, ensure you wear protective gear and cut the fruit with a machete carefully. The leaves of the harvested banana should be chopped and left on the ground to provide nutrients for the rest of the nest generation of banana plants.

    READ ALSO:Farmers urged to embrace tissue culture bananas

    Active and prospective banana farmers in Kenya can obtain high quality tissue culture seedlings at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (Thika)The research firm has more than five varieties which include giant Cavendish, grand nain, and Mbogoya for ripening, Uganda green for cooking, Aloe Vera for medicinal/cosmetics purposes and vanilla for making spices.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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