News and knowhow for farmers

Bomet farmer earns Sh12,600 a day from dairy farming

richard mibei dairy farmer.JPG

Richard Mibey, a Bomet farmer who started with just two traditional cows on his farm in 1982 now boasts of a herd of high breed 42 cows that give him at least 350 liters of milk a day, a venture that has sustained his livelihood despite having little educational background.

The farmer earns approximately Sh12,600 in a day from milk sales by selling his produce to Brookside Ltd, one of the largest dairy processors in Kenya besides New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (New KCC).

Richard Mibei at his farm in Bomet. Photo: courtesy

Mibey now in is mid 60’s started rearing zebu cows in 1982 just after completing his high school at a local secondary school in Bomet County.

He acquired a five acre piece of land from his father which helped him graze his cows but the milk production was only used for subsistence use since the production was just about five liters per cow in a day.

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“After visiting various successful dairy farmers in Bomet, I realized that I needed a total overhaul of my cattle, I thus sold my five traditional zebu breeds at Sh13,000 each in 2001 and decided to buy one Friesian breed at Sh25,000,” said Mibei.

Initially, Mibei was using random bulls to service his cows but after purchasing the Friesian cow he decided to seek the advice of extension officers in his region who recommended artificial insemination for his cow at Sh100.

Dairy zero grazing

One year later in 2002 the Friesian cow gave birth to a heifer that gave him roughly 20 liters in a day after maturity which he sold to his neighbors and shops within Ndamichonik village at Sh10 per liter.

From the milk sales he saved for three years accruing Sh110,000 which he used to import one heifer from Israel at Sh80,000.

The farmer has since increased his herd to 42 cows since then and only uses artificial insemination services for his cows rather than bulls.

His secret is that “cows should be fed properly as poorly fed cows take long to conceive,” He notes that a healthy fertile cow should deliver at least one calf per year

The farmer feeds his cows on different meals such as Napier grass, maize stover and wheat straw.  For proteins he feeds them on sweet potato vines, lucerne & fodder tree leaves.

Mibei also advises farmers to feed lactating cows on minerals that increase milk yields such as dairy lick, maclick super and unga high phosphorus.

He gives his animals water at least four times in a day.

To date Richard has employed seven workers on his farm including his son David Laboso whom he is mentoring to take over from him once he retires. Laboso is currently preparing to undertake artificial insemination lessons from agricultural extension officers within Bomet.

Overall, the dairy industry in Kenya contributes approximately four percent of the Gross Domestic Product and provides 750,000 and 500,000 direct and indirect jobs respectively.

In the first three month of 2018, milk production has increased by 26 per cent from 47m kilos recorded in January to 60m liters in March according to the Kenya Dairy Board, the regulator of milk in the country.

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