News and knowhow for farmers

Cassava leaves are an alternative source food for dairy cows in the dry season

cassava plant field
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Cassava and dairy farmers can dry cassava leaves for use during the dry season when there is scarcity of pasture instead of throwing them according to a research by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).

Last year at least 1,500 livestock died in Baringo County alone due to drought that led to insufficient pasture and water. This can be avoided if farmers preserve cassava leaves, a drought tolerant crop for use in future.

KALRO recommends two varieties for use as feed by farmers; Guzo and 2836.

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Cassava plant field. Courtesy

The crop is planted at a spacing of one meter by one meter and leaves harvested after four months and afterwards they can be harvested monthly or every two months.

While harvesting use a 30cm stick to measure the top part of each cassava branch then pluck the leaves below 30cm.

The leaves are then spread on a concrete floor or polythene bag for three days to dry so as to prevent them from spoiling and also reduce the chances of poisoning.

After this, store the leaves in gunny bags or baled using a hay box to be used as main feed.

3100kg of the feed can sustain three cows for three months comfortably during the dry season.

In this, a medium sized cow weighing 350kg needs 12kg of dried cassava feed daily or four to six kilos of grass/hay are included. 60g of maclik super can be used as supplement and also ensure that you provide clean drinking water at all times.

According to the Economic Survey 2018 report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya produced 1.112m metric tonnes of cassava in 2017.


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