Effect of feeding oat and vetch forages on milk production and quality in smallholder dairy farms in Central Kenya

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Solomon W. Mwendia
Chris M. Mwungu
Stanley Karanja Ng’ang’a
David Njenga
An Maria Notenbaert
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Despite the significant livestock contribution to households’ nutrition and incomes in many African smallholder farms, milk productivity remains low. Inadequate feeding is the main reason for the underperformance. To contribute towards addressing this, an on-farm feeding trial was undertaken in Ol-joro-Orok Central Kenya. A feed basket using oat (Avena sativa) cv Conway and vetch (Vicia villosa) was compared to farmers practice. Milk production (kg) and quality parameters, including butterfat, protein, lactose, and density, were monitored, and cost-benefit analysis (CBA) undertaken. Feeding both oat and vetch increased milk production by 21% (morning) and 18%, (evening), equivalent to 1.4 kg/day. Increases (%) in quality were butter fat (18.2), solidnon-fat (16.5), lactose (16.2), and protein (16.1). Concomitantly, the CBA returned positive results, supporting the hypothesis of economic advantage in using oat and vetch in milk production in the area, and possibly in other similar areas.
Forage, Milk production
Mwendia, S.W., C.M. Mwungu, S.K. Ng’ang’a, D. Njenga, and A. Notenbaert. 2018. “Effect of Feeding Oat and Vetch Forages on Milk Production and Quality in Smallholder Dairy Farms in Central Kenya,” Tropical Animal Health and Production, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-018-1529-3.