Daniel Kithinji a smallholder dairy farmer in Meru has been struggling to balance feeding both his cows and his family. His cows produced less than 5 liters of milk a day and relied on concentrates that was costly.

Daniel Kithinji’s fortunes changed when he decided to attended a one week training in a farm in Nyeri. He wanted to practically learn what other farmers were doing right. A one week practical training includes training┬áseveral topics in dairy. Topics include feed and fodder, calf rearing, recording, milk hygiene, fertility, diseases, housing, and financial management.

After the training, Daniel went back to his farm and started implementing major changes. Fist step was planting maize to reduce relying on purchased hay and concentrates. He then built a separate unit for calves, where he introduced them to milk replacer, fresh fodder and weighed them every week. In the main cow shed, he adjusted partitions of the cubicles and raised the roof for better ventilation. He also purchased a aluminum milk can to transport him milk to the cooperative instead of using plastic containers.

Daniel aslo planted Calliandria to supplement proteins and in three months time, he harvested maize and conserved it into silage and planted more.

Small changes, big results

These simple changes, saw milk production from his cows improve from average of 5 liters to 18 liters. The heifer that was incalf was dried off two months to calving and steamed up by including additional concentrate to its ration. The heifer delivered when enough quality feed was in stock and the housing had been improved. Milk production started increasing gradually from week one. The cow produced 25 liters that increased gradually to a pea of 34 liters a day. The peak production consided with the dates of the show.

Daniel milks three times a day and is planning to increase his herd from the current ten to twenty cows.

See some of the pictures of his farm below.

Cowsoko

Dairy farmers learning body condition scoring in a lead dairy farm

 

Cowsoko

Farmers learning milk hygiene practices in a practical dairy training farm

After training, Daniel went back to his farm and started implementing major changes displayed in pictures below.

Daniel Plants maize intercropped with Calliandria to reduce cost of feeds

 

Top view of Daniel’s farm showing his milking herd

Daniel showcasing silage that he uses to feed his cows mainly in the dry season

Daniel showing the trophy his cow won