twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

New dairy breed

AT A RECENT Ol Kalou Agricultural Fair, in Kenya’s Highlands, one stand elicited much interest to the local farming community. A recently introduced German dual purpose breed Fleckvieh became a darling of local dairy farmers.They have been seeking information on how they can introduce it to their herds.

  Other farmers traveled from as far as Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Kiambu over 50 km away to get vital information of this recently introduced breed.

Coming from high potential, milk producing Nyandarua district, Ol Kalou farmers are known for their enterprising dairying spirit. “Increasingly, the genetic pool in the dairy sector in this country seems to have constricted over the years and the likelihood of inbreeding has become common. We are now seeking newly introduced breeds to upgrade our existing herd”, said Mr. Alfred Karanja, a successful dairy farmer from Limuru in Kiambu. Reports show that the Central Artificial Insemination Station in Kabete- where most of the locally produced semen is sourced- has only three bulls.

This has made enterprising dairy farmers look beyond borders for imported semen which is prohibitively expensive. Karanja also added that while the Holstein/Friesian breed was good for milk production, its feed intake was ‘too high’ for most smallholder farmers who produce over 80 per cent of the milk produced in the country. “Friesian also have a higher somatic cell count in milk compared to Fleckvieh which makes it prone to mastitis, a common disease among the high producing dairy cows”, he noted.

Eight cows at Mr. Karanja’s farm are already in-calf (pregnant) having been inseminated with Fleckvieh semen a few months ago. In Limuru area, according to Mr. Karanja, at least 450 cows belonging to 180 farmers have been inseminated using the semen for upgrading purposes. Another aspect in dairy production A dual purpose breed, Fleckvieh has introduced another aspect in dairy production.

“We can now raise and fatten bull calves rather than selling them off immediately they were born, which adds value to overall dairy enterprise. The calves also grow quite fast picking 300 kg within 6 months”, said Mr. Jared Kinyosi, a successful farmer in Dandora, just outside capital city Nairobi, as he talked to farmers at the Ol Kalou fair. He is among the farmers in the country who have inseminated their dairy herds with the Fleckvieh semen. Available information indicates that the breed has a high feed conversion efficiency which means it will add weight and produce milk, even while feeding on poor quality pastures.

Experts say that the introduction of new genetic resources into the existing pool will boost production especially with the dairy farmers. “It is time local smallholder farmers changed to reap from their herds betters yields in meat and milk. Ranchers, keeping mostly beef animals, will also be able to earn more with the increased milk production”, said Dr John Wanangwe, a veterinary surgeon with the Fleckvieh Genetics (EA) Ltd, the firm behind the breed introduction in Kenya. Since the introduction of the breed mid-2009, at least 2000 dairy farmers nationally have received the Fleckvieh semen according to Dr Wanangwe, with the half the number coming from Central Province. “We started off in Central Province and we are expanding to other parts of the country. A large number of farmers seeking information on the breed shows interest in the need to upgrade local herds”, he added. Semen costs US$23 to US$54 per insemination.

“The various charges depends on the bulls from which semen has been obtained. For the young unproven bulls, semen is cheaper. For the top bulls – older and proven through consequent breeding, their semen is slightly costly as confidence in performance almost hits 90 per cent”, observed the vet surgeon. He added that it will take 98 months (8 years) in breeding to obtain 94 per cent Fleckvieh pedigree if good management practices are followed. Dr Wanangwe said that the first calves in the country are expected to born from January 2010 and that crossing the breed with the Holstein/Friesian produces the best results for the local dairy farmers. Another good attribute of the breed is its resistance to tropical diseases and harsh weather in the arid and semi-arid regions.

“In South Africa and Namibia- where the breed has been raised for years, it has been found better suited to harsh conditions that the Improved Boran. It also produces 30 litres of milk daily coming second only to Holstein/ Friesian”, said Dr. Wanangwe. Smallholder dairy farmers in the country lament on their inability to meet the ever rising demand for milk locally and for export markets. “While land acreage is shrinking affecting milk production due to reduced area under fodder and pastures, improvement on genetics is the only way to keep milk production high. We need superior semen which will in turn lead to good milk producing heifers”, said Mrs. Jane Kamau, a farmer from Tumaini, in Ol Kalou division. The Fleckvieh breed started off 170 years ago when the original Simmental cattle from Switzerland were imported to Bavaria, Germany to upgrade local dual purpose breeds. Today, big populations of the breed are found in South Africa, Namibia, Europe, South America, New Zealand and Australia.


LATEST NEWS IN Cattle

Intracare launches the world’s most eco-friendly hoof bandage

Intracare launches the world’s most eco-…

Intracare, developer and supplier of products for veterinary health and nutrition, has come up with the world’s most eco-friendly hoof bandage, which will be available worldwide

Nutreco receives grant to provide sustainable feed solutions for small-scale producers

Nutreco receives grant to provide sustai…

Nutreco, a global animal nutrition leader, has received a US$4.8mn grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the implementation of localised, sustainable complete feed production in sub-Saharan...

Volatility: challenges in animal feeding

Volatility: challenges in animal feeding

As price volatility propels the use of alternative feed ingredients, Adisseo's team discusses how the quality of diets and the performance of animals can be maintained in such situations

Tackling transboundary animal diseases in Zimbabwe

Tackling transboundary animal diseases i…

To curb high impact transboundary animal diseases in Zimbabwe, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development launched the animal health...

Nuclear techniques help Zambia ensure safety in animal food products

Nuclear techniques help Zambia ensure sa…

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) are working with Zambian experts to address drug resistant microbes as well as food contamination in meat...

Evonik publishes first edition of animal diet

Evonik publishes first edition of animal…

Evonik, a German-based specialty chemicals company has published the first edition of the MetAMINO ATLAS displaying the results of 15 performance trials investigating the relative bioavailability of supplementary methionine sources...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Cattle

USAID launches Cargill, Ausvet, Heifer International and IPC consortium

USAID launches Cargill, Ausvet, Heifer I…

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has tapped a consortium led by Cargill including Ausvet, Heifer International, and the International Poultry Council (IPC) to improve livestock management

High hopes for agricultural and fisheries development in Mauritania

High hopes for agricultural and fisherie…

The significant oil and gas discoveries off the coast of Mauritania have enhanced the west African country's appeal as a foreign investment destination and this could have positive knock-on effects...

Zambeef receives corporate governance award

Zambeef receives corporate governance aw…

Zambeef Products PLC has been recognised by the Lusaka Stock Exchange for its management skills in corporate governance

Next decade to see tech-driven disruptions in food and agriculture

Next decade to see tech-driven disruptio…

Modern foods will be far more efficient than animal-derived products: up to 100 times more land-efficient, 10-25 times more feedstock-efficient, 20 times more time-efficient and 10 times more water-efficient than...

USAID initiates cattle tagging project in Kenya

USAID initiates cattle tagging project i…

USAID, in conjunction with the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC), has initiated an US$84,000 livestock identification project in northern Kenya to curb cattle theft

Volatility: challenges in animal feeding

Volatility: challenges in animal feeding

As price volatility propels the use of alternative feed ingredients, Adisseo's team discusses how the quality of diets and the performance of animals can be maintained in such situations

Malawi welcomes US$1 million USADF grant for dairy farmers

Malawi welcomes US$1 million USADF grant…

Malawi's dairy sector will receive a US$1 million investment grant from the US African Development Foundation (USADF)

South Africa to investigate the Estina Dairy Farm project

South Africa to investigate the Estina D…

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries welcomes the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) announcement of its investigation into the Estina Dairy Farm project at Vrede, Free State Province

Namibian cattle exports set to benefit local farmers

Namibian cattle exports set to benefit l…

The Namibian government is seeking to export cattle to Angola to keep livestock production in the country profitable, while improving the livelihoods of local farmers

Small abattoirs important for transition to sustainable farming

Small abattoirs important for transition…

Small abattoirs were the focus at Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC), with an expert panel including Defra, farmers, abattoir owners and campaigners

Pastoralism can support livelihoods, build peace: FAO director-general

Pastoralism can support livelihoods, bui…

At a panel focused on fostering peace in the Sahel region, FAO director-general QU Dongyu said mobile pastoralism is an important platform for livelihoods in the Sahel region and improved governance can...

Namibia sees a rise in cattle export

Namibia sees a rise in cattle export

A total of 315,198 cattle were exported from Namibia in 2017, as compared to 164 220 in 2016, said Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun, board chairperson of Meatco

Prev Next