Dairy practice, KUHN machines

Dairy firms reduces farm prices on glut- via Dailly nation.

Processors have cut the price of raw milk by Sh3 a litre as the market responds to a steep rise in production but retail prices remain unchanged.

Kenya Dairy board MD Margaret Kibogy

The move has upset farmers currently grappling with high cost of production resulting from increased cost of feeds, with some expected to earn as low as Sh26 per litre of milk from an average of Sh38 earned before the review.

The co-operatives where farmers are attached to normally deduct about Sh4 per litre from farmers as administrative fee and transport cost usually charged by the processors.

“Dear supplier, due to market forces beyond our control, raw milk prices have been reviewed downwards by Sh3 per kilogramme from January 21,” reads one of the text messages sent to farmers.

The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), the sector regulator, says milk production has steeply increased since November last year, prompting processors to review the price downwards.

“There has been an increase in volumes of milk coming in from farmers and this is what has forced processors to adjust the price. It is a case of supply and demand,” said Margret Kibogy, KDB managing director.

Ms Kibogy said the two main firms — Brookside and New KCC — are now processing an average of 1.2 million litres of milk daily from 800,000 litres around November last year.

The price of 500m long life milk is on average still retailing at Sh50 for all the brands while the ones in pouch, for the same quantity, is selling at Sh45 in most retail shops.

Farmers have protested the cut arguing that low prices in the wake of high cost of feeds will keep them out of business.

“This news has come as a shocker to farmers especially at this time when we are grappling with high cost of animal feeds,” says Stanley Ng’ombe, chairman of the Kenya Dairy Farmers Federation.

Mr Ng’ombe says production cost per litre of milk is Sh22.75 adding that the current price makes it hard for farmers to break even.

However, the board puts the cost of production at Sh19 per litre for zero grazing, Sh17 for semi-zero grazing and Sh10 for the open field grazing.

This is the first time in two years that processors have cut the price by a huge margin, after it remained constant for the whole of last year.

The Business Daily was unable to get any response from the processors as phone calls and email sent went unanswered.

KUHN machines


The consequences, especially with a herbicide, can be costly. Apply too much and the crop may be damaged or suppressed; apply too little, and weeds may be inadequately controlled.

Using more than is necessary is also a waste of expensive product

When calibrating the boom sprayer , first carry out the necessary calculations and adjustments on a section of road. Next, test the rig on the land; wheel slippage might result in a slightly higher volume than that used on the hard road.

The difference will not be enough to be harmful, but it is worth taking into account – especially as it may vary from land to land, depending on the condition of the soil and whether it is an even, prepared land or has furrows formed into beds.

Kuhn optis boom sprayer, 600 litres

Follow these steps to carry out calibration accurately and to ensure that the tractor driver follows the correct procedure for spraying:

Step 1
Measure a 100m section of road. Decide on a suitable tractor speed for spraying by selecting the correct gear and engine speed. Use a permanent marker to mark the engine revolutions on the glass of the rev counter. In a suitable spot, mark the gear to be used.

Step 2
Bring the engine up to the correct speed and adjust the spray pressure to get the correct droplet size for the operation. Mark the spot on the gauge where the pressure needle should remain.

With a herbicide, use a flat nozzle and adjust the pressure so that the droplets are the right size: the spray should not be so fine that it drifts away. Getting this right involves both pressure and nozzle size. When checking for drift, look at the spray from the front and the back; it is easier to see the fine droplets from certain positions.

Step 3
Measure the time it takes to drive the tractor for 100m and record this in a suitable place.

Step 4
Place a measuring vessel under a nozzle and let if fill for the time it took the tractor to cover 100m.

Step 5
Multiply this volume by the number of nozzles on the boom to obtain the volume of spray mixture applied over the width of the spray boom every 100m. If the spray boom is 10m wide, you’ll have the amount of mixture applied to 1 000m² (100m x 10m). Multiply this by 10 to obtain the volume in litres applied to 1ha.

Before you spray the land, take the volume of the spray tank and calculate the area that the tank should cover. If you end up covering slightly less area due to the condition of the soil, make the new calculation and adjust the spray accordingly.

Step 6
To double-check, take the measuring vessel and walk behind the boom, collecting spray from a nozzle over the time it takes the tractor to cover 100m. Measure this volume to ensure that it conforms to your calculations.

Step 7
Check that each nozzle sprays correctly and all nozzles deliver the same amount. Inspect for damaged nozzles. Remember that nozzles wear out and deliver more mixture as a result.

Most farmers use the correct product but neglect calibration as it requires extra work. The effort is worth it, believe me!

Decision making


If livestock were Olympic athletes, dairy cows would be the marathon runners. Just like the time and distance marathon runners achieve, dairy cows produce milk 24 hours a day, during their lactation period.

Dairy cows also have an off-season. They produce milk about 300 days a year and take a two-month vacation to relax and prepare for the birth of their calves. To achieve marathon-worthy milk production, superior nutrition is key at all stages – whether cows are producing milk or in their off-season.

On most dairy farms, cows are milked twice a day, and on some dairies three times a day, so it’s important they eat high quality feeds to fuel their bodies in the great race that is milk production.


Here are three things you probably didn’t know about dairy cow nutrition:

  1. Dairy cows’ diet plans are carefully planned by nutritionists.It may come as a surprise, but just like Olympic athletes, dairy cows eat healthier than most people. Farmers use dietary plans created by livestock nutritionists to make sure cows receive the nutrients needed to fuel their bodies and stay healthy at all times.
  2. Cows can eat the foods we cannot and turn them into dairy foods we enjoy. Cows are ruminants, which means they have a special stomach with four sections. Ruminants can process grasses, also known as forages, and other feeds that human bodies cannot. Dairy cows use the energy from the food they eat to convert it into naturally amazing dairy foods – for us to enjoy!
  3. Just like star athletes have different training stages, dairy cows have different stages of milking, and they all require different nutrient levels. Nutritionists and farmers use modern technology to make sure each cow receives the perfect balance of protein, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Healthy cows are happier cows and produce better quality milk.

Dairy farmers and livestock nutritionists work together to give cows optimum nutrition for the great race of milk production, to make sure we are provided with the naturally amazing dairy foods we love.

Dairy practice

How to control foot and mouth (FMD) disease in Dairy cattle

Apparently, many livestock keepers have reported the foot and mouth disease in their farms. It true that that the foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious disease, it can spread very fast within and a cross herds or farms. It affects pigs, cattle, and sheep and goat. It is a viral disease that has no cure but one that can be prevented through vaccination.

FMD causes losses in production as it is characteristically causes wounds/blisters on the skin above and between hooves and in the mouth.

Photo /courtesy

Subsequently, the disease makes walking and chewing painful hence the animals does not feed well and if being milked will have a marked reduction in milk yield. Worst still, FMD is a notifiable disease that comes with a quarantine imposition to stem its spread. This of course affects trade in livestock because all markets are normally closed in an area where the disease is reported.

The disease is spread through direct and indirect contact with secretions from infected animals which include milk and semen. The virus can also be spread mechanically through contaminated objects or aerosols or ingestion of contaminated feeds. The virus can also enter the body through broken skin /wound.

During outbreaks there are measures that a farmer can put in place to protect his stock from infection.

1.Fence your farm

A good farm should be fenced, this has positive effect of limiting intruders into the farm. These includes dogs, cats, birds, livestock and people who can easily spread the virus that cause FMD on their feet, clothes, or body and will easily contaminate your farm and thus spread the disease. I don’t mean you fence your farm when you hear FMD is the neighbourhood, a fence should be part of the farm design.

2.Control entry into your farm

A good farm design is crucial in disease prevention. Your dairy unit shouldn’t be the first thing a visitor encounters on entering your farm. It should be positioned in an area that secure and whose access is not for every Tom and Harry.

While you may not prevent people from entering your farm, you can put in place biosecurity measures. This will include a foot bath at the gate for vehicles and people entering your farm. Always keep a visitors book at the gate and ensure it has a column for the origin of the visitors, this will assist in telling whether they are from infected farms.

3.Isolate the sick.

In the unfortunate circumstances that your animals get infected, quickly isolate it from the herd to prevent the spread of the disease. Urgently call your vet to give symptomatic treatment as the disease has no cure but with good timely management the animal can cover.

4.Vaccinate against FMD

FMD vaccines are available in purified oil base form, which protects against all the four strains of FMD virus. The vaccine confers immunity for up to a year after vaccination.

Silage Making machines

Pit silage making processes, uses and benefits of silage.

Silage is the material produced by controlled fermentation, under anaerobic conditions, of chopped crop residues or forage with high moisture contents.

The benefits of silage include but not limited to:

. Silage is good source of nutrious food

. When fed to dairy cows, the cows produces more milk.

. During summer time, silage is very useful where their’s no scope for natural grazing.

. Animals will gain weight within a short period.

In this article, we shall dwell more on pit silage making processes

And below are the processes to be followed when making pit silage.

1.First and foremost, decide the type of crop to be grown for forage or silage. Choose hybrid and perennial varieties of crops which can be grown in short duration and produced multiple times.

2.Find a dry place to dig a pit on slightly sloping ground and the depth of the pit should decrease from the higher side of the sloping ground to the lower side by giving wedge like shape. Usually size dimensions of the pit size depends on the amount of forage to be stored.

3.Using a chaff cutter or silage harvester, cut the forage to be preserved into one inch pieces.

5.Place the chopped forage into the pit and spread it into a thin layer and repeat this process until one third of the pit is covered.

5.One litre of molasses should be diluted with three litres of water and sprinkle evenly on the forage to be preserved.

6.To prevent forage from rotting, use garden sprayer to evenly distribute the solution throughout the silage pit and this will also help in feeding micro organism to make the silage ferment quickly and saving the silage from rotting.

7.The forage should be pressed with the feet to make air out and protect from fungal attack. This should be done with caution as little air even cause fungus and damage the forage.

8.Add more bags of chopped forage after making the room (after pressing) with diluted molasses. Repeat the process of adding forage with diluted molasses and pressing until the pit is filled in a doom shape.


9.Pit should be covered after final processing with polythene sheet on top to prevent from any water contact and dig a small trench around the sides of the pit.

10.Cover the pit with soil to make air out and prevent the polythene from damage by the rains, birds or any other animals.

11.The conservation through fermentation may take weeks. Leave the pit until there’s shortage of fodder. The silage can last up to 2 years if it’s prepared with well sheeting and good soil cover.

12.To use the silage, open the pit from the lower side of the slope and take enough silage fodder for one day and close the pit again.