They are characterized by; high nutrient density, high DM, less bulky, longer lifespan, low crude fibre. Concentrate can broadly be divided into two categories; Energy source and protein source: Energy sources available in Kenya include: maize germ and bran, wheat pollard and bran, sorghum and cassava, while protein sources are maize gluten feed/meal, cotton seed meal, sunflower, groundnut meal, soya meal, copra meal, bakers’ yeast, fish meal etc.
a) Commercial Dairy Feeds
This is produced on an industrial scale that involves the combination of many ingredients blended and mixed in proportions in accordance with dairy cattle feeding specification outlined by KEBS.
b) Home-Made Dairy Feed:
These are formulations by the farmer on the farm using locally available raw materials as well as external ingredients.
The formulation is guided by an expert (see example table 2.2.1-below):-
Table 2.2.1-Ordinary Dairy Meal:
Note: KEBS specifications for 10.5 ME/Kg (Energy), CP=14-16%, Cal = 0.7% & P=0.5%
2.3 Feeding strategies:
Farmers’ practice: where farmers feed fresh/cut Napier, then offer/supplement, while milking, with unlimited amount of concentrates not based on the animal’s performance. This approach does not assist at all on milk yield and cost. What matters is for the farmers to accustom the animal to milking without any feed but ensure it has consumed its proportion of concentrates mixed with roughage.
2.3.2-Recommended practice [Total Mixed Ration (TMR)]
TMR feeding system is a practice of weighing and blending all feedstuffs into a complete ration. In this system cows are fed based on production for the milking herd and growth rate required for young stock, growth rate and fat deposition for the beef animals. It has several advantages over the adlib non planned feeding system; among these are:
- Minimizes wastage, enhances voluntary feed intake,
- All feeds roughage and concentrate are mixed together allowing no selection,
- Feeding done with an aim of meeting specific needs,
- Grain mixture can be liberally fed without fear of grain overload,
- Its’ easy to access the genetic merit of each cow,
- Its’ cheap in relation to feeding labour cost,
- It’s possible to estimate the feeds requirement etc.
- Minimizes cost/ litre.
Table 2.3.2 (a) - An example of a TMR formulation based a standard cow whose live body weight (LBW) =500kg, milk yield (MY) = 25lts/day, butterfat =3.6% at 1st calving.
|Napier fresh (18%DM)||20|
|Cotton Seed Meal||2|
|High-yield dairy Meal||5|
|Total fresh weight||38.25|
Note: Assuming the cow is in Phase II of lactation