Having well-balanced nutritious pasture is the pillar to a successful dairy farming since pasture contributes a bigger percentage to the feeds of cows.
During a one-day dairy farmers’ training Itungo Farm at Naluvule-Wakiso, Dr Patrick Ssekimpi one of the Best Farmer competition winners and the chairman of the Dairy Farmers Network (DAFAN), advised farmer to embrace pasture growing for the growth and development of their farms. Itungo Farm is owned by at Pison Busingye and his wife Jolly Asiimwe.
DAFAN members visit each other every month where they are trained on different aspects of dairy farming like; genetics, artificial insemination, diseases and pest management, housing, housing among others.
At Itungo Farm, they were trained about pasture growing, harvest, preservation and feeding.
Dr Ssekimpi said it is important for a farmer to grow pastures since it provides cheap and effective feed that will not only reduce farm expenses but also promote farm production and productivity which will help the farmer earn profits.
Busingye grows over 20 pasture varieties, including chloris gayana, yellow and bazooka high breed maize, giantsetaria, Pakchong 1 super napier, sugergraze forage sorghum, alfa alfa (queen of forage), stylo, siratro and glycine plus three varieties of sweet potato; New Kawogo and NAS pot 11 from Uganda and Wagabolige from Kenya for vines.
“With good pastures, dairy farming will be made easy. Pasture should be grown for its nutritional value to the animal, especially carbohydrates and proteins, which reduces the cost of buying dairy meal,” he explained.
Dr Jolly Kabirizi, a senior principal researcher officer/forage scientist and the executive director of Kyakuwa Farm Clinic, advised farmers to take good care of their pasture gardens by practising good agronomic practices such as application of fertilisers, weeding, controlling pests and diseases, among others, if they are to get the best.
She also urged farmers to use the different ways of preservation of animal feeds such as silage, hay, haylage, feed blocks and pellets, among others, which will help them conserve feed for use in the difficult periods such as during the dry spell.