In Summary
  • It is advisable to separate cows in groups for optimal feeding in terms of formulating diets that meet their nutrient demands.
  • The major advantage of TMR feeding is that it reduces the risk of rumen acidosis when compelling cows to eat roughages and other products (concentrates or cereals) at the same time.
  • Commercial mushroom production can be practised both at small and large scale levels, although the latter account for 95 per cent of the produce.
  • Hotels, supermarkets and Indian restaurants are some of the places you can sell your mushrooms.

COWS YOU CAN KEEP ON EIGHTH ACRE

I have a 50 by 100ft plot in Naivasha and would like to invest in dairy farming. My target is to keep cows that would produce between 30-50 litres daily. Kindly advise on the following:

1. How many cows can I keep on the land?

2. Offer the house design and construction tips.

3. Supply the feeding plan for the high productive cows.

Alex Mwai

Land is a major influence on the level of production to adopt. Since you choose to go zero-grazing, you can rear more animals on this piece, 20 at the minimum, with good planning per unit area.

However, the number of animals will be less if you plan to produce fodder on the same piece. For precise information and feasibility visit, right to [email protected]

We also tailor-design cow barns to fit farmers’ needs. Once you write to us, we will email you a short questionnaire, which will help inform us about your needs when designing a barn.

Lastly, a well-balanced ration should always meet the energy and protein requirements of cattle for growth, reproduction, maintenance, milk production and composition.

It is advisable to separate cows in groups for optimal feeding in terms of formulating diets that meet their nutrient demands.

High yielders demand more compared to low yielders. With good planning, you can also grow maize fodder for silage or use Total Mixed Ration (TMR).

The major advantage of TMR feeding is that it reduces the risk of rumen acidosis when compelling cows to eat roughages and other products (concentrates or cereals) at the same time.

It is, however, costly compared to silage feeding.

Felix Akatch Opinya,
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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TIPS ON GROWING MUSHROOMS

My name is Vivian and I live in Mombasa. A friend and I would like to take up mushroom farming and we are seeking training. Is there a way you can assist or link us up with a farmer?

Akoko Vivian

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I am interested in mushroom farming. Kindly let me know all about it. I live in Athi River.

Vincent Bosire

Commercial mushroom production can be practised both at small and large scale levels, although the latter account for 95 per cent of the produce.

Production capacity largely depends on various factors such as economic capacity, market availability and climatic conditions.

Thomas Michira a mushroom farmer in his mushroom greenhouse in Omogonchoro village.

Thomas Michira a mushroom farmer in his mushroom greenhouse in Omogonchoro village, Nyamira County. Commercial mushroom production can be practised both at small and large scale levels. FILE PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The basic approach to production is the same, however, large scale production is a little sophisticated and mechanised potentially to meet the large market demands.

There are six main phases in mushroom production, namely making compost, finishing the compost, spawning, casing, pinning, and cropping or harvesting.

Mushroom spawns are available in four types of carrier materials namely grain, sawdust, plug and liquid spawns.

Some institutions such as Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF), among others, offer short courses or training on commercial mushroom production.

Sylvans Ochola,
Department of Crops, Horticulture & Soils, Egerton University.

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MARKET FOR MUSHROOM

I would like to start mushroom farming but I am not sure where to get market for my produce. I am thinking of joining an established farmers’ group to learn more but I don’t have in mind of any such outfit or their contacts.

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