Dairy farming in West Kenya

Feb 9, 2016

Since September 2014 The Friesian outsourced Wytze Heida to the Netherlands Development Organisation SNV in order to assist at their Kenyan Market-led Dairy Program (KMDP) in North Rift, Kenya. In that successful program Wytze provides management support to a large number of dairy farms with herds ranging from 20-600 milking cows. Wytze gives an update of his observations:

“I noticed that a lot of daily dairy issues challenge the new generation of dairy farmers to optimise the farm and to utilise their capacity much more. These daily issues will be resolved through the implementation of routines and discipline.”

“But training (learning by doing!) and knowledge sharing is also essential for improving the management skills and working method. I showed the farm managers that good nutrition (especially roughage) is needed for an increase in milk production. Progress has been recognized and milk production is improving. I see that as an important step in the process: Seeing is believing. Now there is an increase in milk production, we focus on the next step: milking techniques and milk quality.”

“Another challenge is the neglected rearing; young heifers calve down at the age of 3-4 years. Breeds do have dairy genes, so with improvement in daily management huge progress can be made.”

“I believe that the dairy sector is able to make positive steps, only when the participants are motivated to adapt techniques and invest in capacity. Farm owners, farm managers and staff will be stimulated to improve their dairy business also by record-keeping. With software but also manually the information of the animals (herd) can be monitored and analysed for further management/strategy purposes.”

In conclusion we can say that the KMDP is making real progress. We look forward to a new update, Wytze!

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