A dairy farmer in the dry Kaewa area of Machakos has perfected the art of storing and preserving fodder for his 30 cows, through unique bunkers that ensures that the feed can last the cows a whole year at a time when pasture has become limited.
David Muli, who has seen drier days and dwindling pasture, leaves nothing to chance in feeding his cows
.Maintaining the right feed rations, he has planted the nutritious tree Lucerne, napier grass and maize stalks which he mixes when feeding his cows.
But aware that changes in climate means that feeds can become limited at certain times of the year, Muli has come up with a unique way of preserving the fodder incase of dry days.
He has constructed five bunkers which are ten feet into the ground and measuring 12 by 20 feet where he stores the fodder. So big are the bunkers that they can comfortably feed the 30 cows for a whole year.
Before storage he mixes his Lucerne, napier and maize stalks with molasses and maize jam which are used as preservatives.
“The mistake farmers make is thinking that they can store their feed anywhere and expect the feed to retain its nutrients.
The bunkers are very important to me because they retain the nutrients in the fodder and do not allow the fodder to lose the green colour even if it goes for six months.
Again the bunkers allow the fodder to ferment slowly, and the animals seem to love that fodder taste,” Muli said.
It is a venture that has paid off for him, in an area where farmers incessantly complain about harsh climatic conditions which have led to dwindling pastures which ultimately affect milk production.
A litre of milk goes for Sh60. And aware that water that he relies on for the farm and for feeding his livestock can easily dry up, he has sunk a borehole and dug a water reservoir that occupies part of his 15 acre farm.
He also uses state of the art milking machines, two in number, with each having cost him Sh300,000
The conscious investment in animal feed earns Muli over Sh12 million per year with each cow producing at least 20 liters of milk on daily basis.