In Summary
  • Keeping the beef cattle confined and on concentrates makes the feedlot system a very expensive management programme.
  • Macadamia can do well in marginal areas and in most soil types as long as they are well-drained. However, poorly drained clay soils should be avoided.
  • You cannot go wrong by choosing grafted macadamia because they mature in 2-31/2 years and they produce 50-200kg per season by the time they are five years.
  • The main components of the biogas system are the digester where fermentation takes place and the gas holder.

DAIRY OR BEEF CATTLE, WHICH IS PROFITABLE?

Kindly write more on beef cattle, their feeding habits and the common diseases. I would also like to know, between dairy and beef cattle, which one is the best for business?

Chomba

Beef cattle can be kept on four different management systems. These are nomadic pastoralism, agro-pastoralism, feedlot system and ranches.

The system will be dictated by the resources at your disposal. The most developed and predominantly practised system in Kenya is ranching.

It is practised within a defined unit of land. Ranches strive to maintain optimal stocking rates, conserve and preserve pasture and develop livestock support facilities such as dips and water points.

In some instances, the ranches carry out slaughtering and chilling within the farm. Feedlots, on the other hand, are units where immature cattle are intensively put on a concentrate feeding regime purposely for fattening to attain a specific market weight before selling.

Keeping the beef cattle confined and on concentrates makes the feedlot system a very expensive management programme.

Pastoralism is practised in both arid and semi-arid areas. With the animals being kept on pasture in fields, major diseases are tick-borne.

Whether to venture in dairy or beef value chain is dependent on one’s interests and objectives. Any livestock venture will depend on the owner’s interests, location, market and resources. However, both dairy cattle and beef cattle are profitable.

Ochiel Alvine,
Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.

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GROWING MACADAMIA

I am Stephen Macharia. Kindly educate me on the various macadamia issues outlined below:

Do they do well in semi-arid areas with clay soil on irrigation?

Macadamia can do well in marginal areas and in most soil types as long as they are well-drained. However, poorly drained clay soils should be avoided.

In Kenya, macadamia farming is carried out in Embu, Murang’a, Thika, Meru, Taita Taveta, Tharaka Nithi, Baringo, Bungoma, Laikipia, Kakamega, Nandi, Kiambu, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Machakos.

Which is the best variety to grow?

There are many varieties and they include Murang’a 20, Murang’a 23, Taita Taveta 1 and 2, Kirinyaga 15, Ex-Embu, Ex-Kiambu, Ex- Murang’a and Meru 23 and 24.

Murang’a 20 is a good variety and is adapted to a wide range of ecological conditions.

Do ungrafted macadamia seedlings have advantages over grafted ones?

You cannot go wrong by choosing grafted macadamia because they mature in 2-31/2 years and they produce 50-200kg per season by the time they are five years.

On the other hand, ungrafted macadamia takes seven years to start bearing and they produce 7-10kg in the first year and 50kg per season by the fifth year of bearing. Therefore, grafted macadamia has more advantages than ungrafted.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Crops, Egerton University.

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I WANT INTERACTION WITH POTATO WHEAT FARMERS

I need your help in finding a farmer who is successful at wheat and Irish potato farming.

Ken

Agriculture has been devolved. You have not told us where you are but kindly visit the Ministry of Agriculture offices in your area and they will give you the information you want.

Carol Mutua,
Department of Crops, Horticulture, and Crops, Egerton University.

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WE WANT TO KEEP FISH

I am interested in keeping fish in Homa Bay along two permanent rivers with a group of educated but unemployed youths willing to soil their hands.

Kindly guide us on the requirements, possible costs per pond of 2,500 tilapia fingerlings, the feeding and any other incidental costs. We intend to fill the first 20 ponds soon as well as have a cold room for storage.

Boniface

You will need to identify the system of production, whether semi-intensive or intensive as well as the types of ponds to be used in rearing the fish.

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