In Summary
  • Ticks are present in many environments but once control measures are carried out diligently, the environmental tick load reduces to manageable levels.
  • Control ticks to reduce environmental load.
  • Sometimes the team gets 30 litres of milk in the morning and nothing at all in the evening if the cows are sold during the day.
  • The group is optimistic that with their new found business, they will be able to raise sufficient funds to establish a proper dairy farm and a dairy cattle trading enterprise.

Last week I came across an interesting person that I could not help but share his exploits with my senior colleague in the office, and of course you.

This man milks dairy cattle and supplies milk to the area he lives but he doesn’t own a single cow.

In the last two weeks, I have been working in Nandi County, “The Home of Champions”, training farmers on the importance of Livestock Identification and Traceability (LITS) especially in dairy and beef production.

I met Stephen Kolil in one of the training sessions and he invited me to visit his “Hamisi Farm” in Lessos in the county to learn how he is a milk producer who owns no cattle.

You see, Nandi County does not only produce athletics champions. It also supplies the rest of the country with good dairy cattle, mainly Friesians and Ayrshire, and a lot of milk.

In fact, the current governor rode on the slogan “Tuga Tai”, which means “cattle first” to win polls. Dairy cattle farming and milk production is a strong socio-economic pillar of the county.

On the farm, Kolil introduced me to his three business partners and two other men, prospective dairy cattle buyers from Muhoroni. They were in the process of completing a cattle purchase deal.

What struck me about the farm was the absence of farm layout associated with dairy farming. There we no paddocks, crushes, feed storage facilities or animals of different ages.

The cows on the farm were all female Ayrshires, Friesians, Guernseys or mixes of the three breeds. The cattle were milking cows or heifers ready for breeding, called bulling heifers.

There was a lot of naturally growing grass on the farm. In the definition of a dairy farm, Kolil’s was not anywhere close.

HEAVY TICK LOAD

Kolil and his team concluded the cattle purchase deal and one of the men from Muhoroni came over to me smiling.

“Doctor, I know you from Seeds of Gold, right?” he asked. He introduced himself as Otieno and his friend was Oyoo.

They had agreed to buy two dairy cows from Kolil’s group as starter stock for a dairy farm they intended to set up in Muhoroni.

Oyoo said he was optimistic about the dairy farming project, but he was worried of the heavy tick load in his home area.

I explained that ticks are present in many environments but once control measures are carried out diligently, the environmental tick load reduces to manageable levels.

However, the ticks cannot be fully eliminated because when they are not feeding on domestic animals, they feed on wild animals.

Once Oyoo and Otieno had left, Kolil and his group narrated to me the concept of Hamisi Farm. It was in the formative stages but with a bright future. “Necessity is the mother that gave birth to our Hamisi Farm,” he started.

Kolil owns 21 acres and he is passionate about good dairy cattle. However, he lacks the capital required to establish a reasonable dairy farm.

Page 1 of 2