best fodders for high milk

Top Kenyan Forages: Empowering Your Dairy Farming in 2024

Hold onto your milking stools, Kenyan dairy farmers! We’re about to embark on a pasture revolution, swapping dependence on fickle weather and expensive imports for homegrown “grazing glory.”

This ain’t no theoretical talk; we’re diving deep into five phenomenal forages ready to transform your land into a milk-making paradise.

1. Napier Grass: The Growth Giant:

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Napier grass

Imagine this: emerald stalks shooting up three meters, ready for harvest every few months.

That’s Napier grass, the productivity king with protein levels dancing between 10-14%. This drought-defying wonder thrives from coastal plains to scorching savannas, and its cut-and-come-again magic means multiple feasts a year. Planting?

A breeze! Grab stem cuttings during the rains, plop them in well-drained, sunny soil, and watch Napier weave its verdant magic.

2. Lucerne (a.k.a. Alfalfa): The Milk-Boosting Marvel:

best forage's to plant

Forget fancy tonics, Lucerne’s the real milk booster! This nitrogen-fixing hero packs a protein punch at 20%, alongside a treasure trove of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins.

Strong bones, vibrant health, soaring milk yields – Lucerne ticks all the boxes. But it craves well-drained, sandy loam soil and moderate rainfall.

So, prep the soil, inoculate those seeds with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, and sow evenly in a sunny spot. Remember, good drainage and sunshine are Lucerne’s happy place.

Grow smarter with farmworx kenya

3. Rhodes Grass: The Gentle Green Gourmet:

Picture a soft, emerald carpet that thrives in both wet and dry seasons. That’s Rhodes grass, the gentle giant with an 8-12% protein content.

But Rhodes grass is more than just a delicious meal; its extensive root system binds the earth, preventing erosion and making it a soil conservation champion.

Planting? Easy-peasy! Scatter the seeds during the rains, and Rhodes grass will paint your farm green. Just choose a well-drained, sunny spot, and get ready for a verdant feast!

4. Brachiaria (a.k.a. Ruzi): The Heat-Loving Hero:

For our hot, humid region farmers, Brachiaria’s the king of the castle.

This heat-loving hero shrugs off drought and keeps growing under the blazing sun. Its protein content dances at 7-12%, making it a respectable dietary contributor.

But the real crown jewel? Brachiaria’s resistance to pests and diseases, saving you sweat and money. Planting?

During the rains, broadcast those seeds, and Brachiaria will paint your farm with its vibrant green tapestry. Remember, well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine are its happy place.

5. Desmodium: The Leguminous Gem:

Desmodium Plant

Small but mighty, Desmodium packs a protein punch (15-20%) and enriches the soil for future crops.

This nitrogen-fixing wonder not only nourishes your livestock but also builds your soil’s fertility. And its deep roots?

They combat erosion and retain moisture, making Desmodium a sustainable champion. Planting? Sprinkle those seeds during the rains, and watch Desmodium weave its magic.

It thrives in various soils but prefers well-drained conditions with moderate sunshine.

Bonus Gems for Regional Champions:

Don’t stop at five! Explore Elephant grass’ heat tolerance for drier regions or Kikuyu grass’ fast-growing magic for upcountry farms.

Remember, research regional forages and tailor your choices to your land and climate.

Planting Tips for Savvy Farmers:

Want to take it up a notch? We’ve got you covered! For Lucerne, consider seed rates of 20-25kg/ha and water deeply during its establishment phase.

With Napier, remember that well-drained soil is crucial, and avoid waterlogging. And for Desmodium, intercropping with maize or sorghum can provide shade and boost yields.

Cost Benefits: Counting Moolah, Not Just Milk:

Let’s talk numbers! Growing your own forages can slash feed costs by up to 50%. Napier, for example, yields up to 80 tons of green matter per hectare per year, significantly reducing your dependence on expensive commercial feeds.

Think long-term: invest in quality seeds and reap the rewards of homegrown abundance for years to come.

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