Farmpro Co-founder Kevin Maingi feeds one of their cows with the fodder on February 17, 2017. The fodder doubles milk production besides reducing the cost of production. Photo by Laban Robert.
Farmers using the new fodder formulation from Farmpro can double production besides cutting the production cost of one litre of milk by more than Sh5.
Whilst the production cost of one litre of milk in Kenya is about Sh24, other counties like Meru have reported expenses of up to Sh30 in the recent past.
On average, the leading milk processors in the country pay farmers Sh28 per litre through cooperatives.
But with the fodder from the Nakuru based Farmpro agribusiness solutions, it costs a farmer at least Sh17 in the production of one litre of milk.
“The fodder has been formulated to give adequate minerals required in milk production. If the farmer is to make agribusiness sustainable, less and cheap inputs have to be consumed to give the best output,” Farmpro co-founder Maina Muchai said.
Random tests in the past have shown use of substandard ingredients, with even sawdust being used in the production of animal feeds by crooked traders.
The Farmpro fodder, which has been tested by Egerton University and approved by other relevant authorities, has proven to be an efficient feed for dairy cattle for more than 60 farmers.
Sorghum and potato vines are some of the more than five ingredients used in the formulation of the animal feed at Egerton University.
The total mix ration of the fodder contains 18 per cent crude proteins. Proteins are a major component in high milk production.
Muchai said the intention of the fodder making project is to increase the profit margin for the farmers while also boosting the quality of the produce when sold to specific markets- which pays more based on the later parameter.
With such fodder, a farmer remains with at least Sh11 after selling the milk at Sh28 to processors like Kenya Cooperative Creameries.
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According to the Farmpro dairy cows’ records, milk letdown has increased by up to two times.
One Friesian, out of the seven dairy cows has gradually increased milk yield from 12 litres to 25 litres per day.
An Ayrshire breed in the farm-which is located at Lanet in the outskirts of Nakuru- is also producing 18 litres, from 12 litres.
“One may be surprised that the Egerton University analysis of the butter fat content in the milk of the two breeds is dismal. That means the quality of the quality and quantity of the two breeds can be increased if all resources are constant,” another Farmpro co-founder Kevin Maingi said.
A cow consumes 25kg of the fodder per day. The more than 60 farmers in Nakuru County, who are member of the Farmpro, are buying the feed at Sh17 per kilo. It costs non-members Sh25 per kilo.
Besides availing fodder through the year, Muchai said, the project is also helping farmers have a constant source of income.
“The essence of being in agribusiness is to make profits. And profits are realised if one has a constant source of income. With the packaging and sealing of the fodder, even with five dairy cattle a farmer can plan the feeding programme through the year without worries of drought,” he said.
A cow is a good ‘employer’ who is fed in the morning, and repay in the evening, Muchais added.
Muchai, Maingi and Paul Ayieko are university graduates, who left formal employment to venture into agribusiness.
Muchai is an information technologist, while Maingi is a mathematician. Ayeiko is an economist.