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Booming beer waste halves dairy meal costs for farmers

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Suppliers of brewer’s waste (machicha) are recording booming sales as farmers turn to the waste from beer making to halve the heavy cost of dairy meal.

Research has shown that brewers’ waste which costs Sh12.5 a kilogram in Kenya can be used to partly replace dairy meal concentrate which costs Sh41 a kilogram.

“The response from farmers for our brewer’s waste (machicha) and brewer’s yeast (chachu) has been overwhelming. We brought a lorry full and it’s all been swept up by farmers,” beamed Happy Feeds General Manager David Kingori.

Gitonga, a dairy farmer in Giaki, Meru County who we interviewed at the company’s stand during the ongoing 2024 Meru National Show at Gitoro Showground said he was eager to get his cows drunk if this would reduce his dairy meal costs.”I currently spend Sh34,800 every month on purchasing dairy meal. That’s nearly 30 per cent of what I make from my cows.”

Ideally, a good cow should give you seven liters of milk when feeding on a fodder diet of fresh grass and hay or straw. To get it to produce more milk it is recommended to feed an extra kilogram of concentrate (dairy meal) for every two additional liters of milk after. For machicha, an extra kilogram is recommended for every extra liter of milk,” Kingori explained.

Machicha or brewery spent grain is a solid byproduct from leftover barley grain used to make beer. It is rich in energy and protein and is fed to dairy cattle after milking. 

The amount of milk a cow can give usually reaches its peak at 12 kilograms of dairy meal or machicha. 

Cows used to dairymeal can be slowly weaned off it with time to consume just three kilograms of dairy meal and nine kilograms of machicha. This brings down concentrate costs from about Sh14,760 every month when fed exclusively with dairy meal to ShSh7,065. 

As an additive chachu or spent yeast can be mixed in with hay or silage to provide extra protein and also increase the taste of feed which like molasses encourages cows to eat feeds that they may not find tasty. It also improves the cow’s level of alertness which makes it easier for a farmer to detect any symptoms of disease or heat.

Both products are ideally fed after milking to avoid the milk having any unpleasant smell.

Machicha is stored in ensiled airtight bags while chicha is stored in a pitcher (mtungi) that is not tightened and away from direct sunlight to avoid excessive fermentation

The feed company which sources its byproducts from EABL is looking for an agrovet partner in Meru to exclusively stock its product line.

David Kingori: 0725016307

Read more: Half a kilo to one kilo increase of dairy meal after calving maintains milk production

Western Kenya dairy farmers bank on brewery waste to save Sh50, 000 animal feed costs a month

Kirinyaga dairymen double income through milk ATMs 

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