News and knowhow for farmers

Exotic cow multiplies milk yield for farmer

Isaac Shilaro.JPG

One Kakamega County farmer has raised his milk production by four-fold after selling two indigenous cows and bought one exotic breed.

Isaac Shilaro bought a 36 months old ayrshire at Sh50,000 in 2012 after struggling with two indigenous cows that were consuming more feeds, but dismal production.

The farmer tried feeding the cattle with more feeds and setting up a shed for them, but the highest yield he got was six litres a day in the early days of calving down.

“Four months after calving down, the two cows hardly reached five litres-no matter the management input invested. I decided to try one exotic breed. The ayshire give me up to 23 litres in the first four months after calving,” he said.

Even if there is a decline before drying up, the ayrshire does not drop below 20 litres a day.

Although the ayrshire cannot match superior breeds like a Friesian in the quantity, its milk quality is of high quality. Consumers flock in every morning and evening for the milk which he sells at Sh50 per litre.

Yield boosting

In cutting costs of production, the farmer has grown a quarter an acre of boma Rhodes and slightly more than half an acre of napier grass.

He milks for nine to 10 months before drying it up in readiness for the next season. He sold its six month-calf at Sh40,000 in 2014 and paid high school fees for his son.

The cow dung he collects from the one animal is sustaining the biogas lighting system in his home. The resultant waste from the biogas digester is manure to his napier and boma Rhode feeds.

His cow was voted the best in the ayrshires category in the Kakamega County Agricultural Society of Kenya Show 2016.

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