In Summary
  • Boti, his favourite animal, not only ended up being declared the winner in the two categories, but was also declared the overall winner when it participated in the overall ‘Cow of the Show’ category.
  • His bull scooped the second position in the Friesian bull category while his cow took the second position in the Friesian cow category
  • The dairy business, according to Sumra, was started by his great grandfather Sidik Sanjar in Mombasa in 1912.
  • Doing the business on a leased farm, he added, is an expensive undertaking, but he declined to reveal what he pays annually for the land.

August 31 was just another ordinary day for Sidik Sumra, a dairy farmer, who was attending the Mombasa International Show that ended last week.

Sumra had entered four of his cows into different categories.

Boti, a six-year-old cross-breed of a pure Friesian cow and a pure Brown Swiss bull, was one of them.

The farmer had entered the 450kg animal in the cross-breed category for large and small scale farmers and had crossed his fingers.

Boti, his favourite animal, not only ended up being declared the winner in the two categories, but was also declared the overall winner when it participated in the overall ‘Cow of the Show’ category.

And to cap to the win, his three other animals won in their respective categories.

His bull scooped the second position in the Friesian bull category while his cow took the second position in the Friesian cow category.

Another of his cow took third position in the Friesian cow category.

“It was a dream come true for my animals to win at the event. I could not believe that I was also the overall top dairy farmer as I was participating in the Mombasa Show for the first time,” a beaming Sumra, 42, said.

His crowning moment came the next day when he was presented with the top honours trophy by President Uhuru Kenyatta after he officially opened the show.

“It was a huge win for me as I took only a month to prepare the four animals for the show,” the farmer told Seeds of Gold this week on his Sumra Dairy Farm situated at Kikambala - Amkeni in Kilifi County.

Sumra receives the trophy from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Sumra receives the trophy from President Uhuru Kenyatta. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“I dedicate the trophy to my father for showing me the way in this business and supporting me.”

CHAMPION COW

Boti, the champion cow, has delivered thrice and produces a maximum of 30 litres of milk per day.

According to him, the animal won because the judges found it had the desirable figure and had only three lactations, compared to others that had many and that it was a good crossbreed from a pure Friesian cow and pure Brown Swill bull.

To prepare for the show, Sumra trained the animals on how to move and when to stop during display.

“Each animal knows its name, if called by the herder it responds. They were well-fed and groomed.”

The farmer keeps a total of 400 animals, 150 of which are mature dairy cows while six are bulls. The rest are in-calf heifers and calves.

“I buy breeding bulls from top farms across the country for servicing the cows. Occasionally I also do artificial insemination.”

His animals are kept under the semi-zero grazing system, where they free-range from 5am to 10am before they are taken back in the sheds in readiness for milking at noon.

Before milking, the animals are fed on napier grass, cassava leaves and amaranth (mchicha) – all which he grows on 15 acres.
During milking, Sumra said he feeds the cows on a mix of maize germ, wheat bran, sorghum bran and mineral salt.

“Currently I milk 145 dairy cows that produce between 1,200 and 1,500 litres every day. The cows produce between 10 and 33 litres each,” he said, attributing the low milk production of some animals to the 4km they walk to graze due to inadequate fodder and the warm weather at the Coast.

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