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Home Farming Tips Implications Of Napier Stunt Disease On Dairy Cattle Production

Implications Of Napier Stunt Disease On Dairy Cattle Production

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Napier stunt disease causes considerable losses and affects both human and animal welfare in various ways stemming from social and economic aspects.

The catastrophic disease is mostly characterized by the drastic decline in herbage biomass that can go up to 100% in severely affected fields. 

It causes a decline in milk yield of over 50% due to inadequate feeds.

Increased cost of production as farmers have to depend on purchased feed.

High labour demands in areas where farmers walk a long distance in search of feed from communal areas, and food and nutritional insecurity as home consumption of milk decreases.

Management of the stunting disease

Inspect the field regularly, remove and burn all diseased Napier grass stools.

Use tolerant varieties as a component of an integrated management approach could be an environmentally friendly way to contain this disease in the smallholder dairy industry. 

Several new Napier grass accessions (Kakamega 1, Kakamega 2, NARO (National Agricultural Research Organization Napier) NAP1; NARO NAP 2, NARO NAP 3, Pakchong variety and others), tolerant to Napier stunt disease and have high biomass dry matter yield (10 to 100 tons per acre per year) are being promoted in different agro-ecological zones of Uganda. 

Improve the health of Napier grass by applying manure or fertilizer.

When harvesting, cut Napier grass plants leaving a stubble height of 5cm above ground level.

If the area is seriously affected use alternative grass species such as Brachiaria grass.

Sensitise neighbours about the transmission mechanism and management of the disease.

Compiled by Dr Jolly Kabirizi           

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