In Summary
  • You can now test the quality of milk, breed your animals and irrigate your fodder easily with these dairy technologies
  • Agricultural equipment manufacturer and supplier Kentrac Ltd showcased a pipeline milking machine, which, according to the firm’s consultant, Mr Julius Nyagwoka, comes in both mechanical and automated (digital) systems.
  • You may have seen your cattle scratching themselves against trees, walls, fences or other abrasive surfaces. This is a natural behaviour for livestock and when they cannot find somewhere to scratch against because there are no surfaces to do it, they tend to get stressed, which in turn affects their milk productivity.
  • A good number of farmers aggregate their milk before delivering it to processors. The milk is expected to be of good quality but some farmers deliver produce that is rejected due to contamination.

To produce quality milk, calves, heifers and fodder, the modern dairy farmer must embrace technology.

These include breeding, milking and fodder-growing technologies, a number of which were showcased at the African Dairy Conference and Exhibition held last week at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.

A Seeds of Gold team attended the event and samples some of the latest technologies in the sector, which can help you better your dairy farm.

Pipeline milking machine

Agricultural equipment manufacturer and supplier Kentrac Ltd showcased a pipeline milking machine, which, according to the firm’s consultant, Mr Julius Nyagwoka, comes in both mechanical and automated (digital) systems.

The milking machine has three components — milking, storage (receiver unit) and cleaning sections.

The automated machine has an electronic metre for measuring the amount of milk each cow produces while the mechanical one is calibrated and read manually.

For milking, the machine is attached to the cow’s teats as its pulsator helps in ‘prompting the animal to release the milk’.

An interconnection of tubes passes the milk through the meter, which measures the produce as it goes to the collection tank, where it is held before it is transferred to the cooler.

The machine milks a cow every three minutes, and when done, it automatically detaches the teat caps from teats.

When the milking process is done, the system cleans itself in readiness for the next milking session.

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Cow brush

You may have seen your cattle scratching themselves against trees, walls, fences or other abrasive surfaces. This is a natural behaviour for livestock and when they cannot find somewhere to scratch against because there are no surfaces to do it, they tend to get stressed, which in turn affects their milk productivity.

A cow brush comes in handy, according to Juliet Nyaboke, a sales engineer at Kentrac Ltd, as the behaviour plays a key role in contributing to the cow’s welfare, hygiene and overall relaxation.

The brush is a cylindrical motorised appliance fitted on a mount. It has brush-like overhangs which can scratch the animal, removing parasites, old hair and dead skin scales.

The appliance is normally mounted on a wall in the cattle’s resting area where the animal can readily access it.

“Surfaces such as walls, trees or fences where most cows sometimes scrub themselves could contain nails or protruding sharp objects which can harm the cow in the process,” she says, adding that the massaging effect provided by the brush soothes the cow, releasing stress and tension.

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Mobile irrigation system

Good quality dairy feeding involves providing the animals with 70 per cent forages and 30 per cent concentrates to produce a total mixed ration.

However, some farmers do not achieve this because the cost of livestock feeds is high, consequently taking up to 70 per cent of the total cost of milk production.

In Kenya, the situation has been exacerbated by a prolonged dry spell that started in 2018 and still persists to date, disrupting fodder production.

Well, smart farmers do not have to rely on the rains to grow fodder as showcased by a Danish company, Fasterholt, at the exhibition.

On display at the firm’s stand was a mobile irrigation system that has hosepipes stretching from 50 metres to a kilometre.

The calf-feeding trolley (left) and (right) Titus Ndegwa and a colleague from Fasterholt explain a point on how their mobile irrigation system works.

The calf-feeding trolley (left) and (right) from Fasterholt, Titus Ndegwa and a colleague explain a point on how their mobile irrigation system works. The system eliminates the need for fitting many sprinklers on the farm as it slowly moves watering the plants along its way across the farm. PHOTOS | BRIAN OKINDA | NMG

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