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Home Farming Tips There Is Money In Dairy Cattle, If You Do It Right

There Is Money In Dairy Cattle, If You Do It Right

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Joshua Kato

On May 25, the faculty of science, technology and innovations at Valley University of Science and Technology (VUST) in Bushenyi hosted an insightful training session for dairy cattle farmers.

The event, which drew 140 participants from Kyenjojo, Rukungiri, Masaka, Sironko, Apac, Isingiro, the Greater Bushenyi area and other districts, aimed to enhance dairy cattle farming practices to improve milk yields and income while maintaining a clean environment.

The Government identified milk as a focal commodity for the accelerated development of the agricultural sector.

Uganda’s milk production is largely dominated by smallholder farmers who own over 90% of the national cattle population. Due to land scarcity, over 90% of smallholder dairy farmers practice zero-grazing.

Challenges in Industry

Despite registering significant levels of growth, Uganda’s dairy cattle industry continues to experience a myriad of challenges, especially in a lack of knowledge and practical skills on improved feeds, animal breeding, disease control and proper waste disposal, leading to low production and productivity.

“Empowering farmers with climate-smart dairy cattle technologies and innovations using the hands-on approach is a critical input for them for quick transfer of technology. It is also a way to improve their productivity and socioeconomic conditions,” Prof. Jolly Kabirizi, a livestock nutritionist and dairy farmer, says.

 Promoting agriculture

The training commenced with an inspiring opening address by Dr Enos Rwasheema, the Vice-Chancellor of VUST, who emphasised the university’s commitment to supporting local farmers and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

He further noted that man’s quest for knowledge should never stop.

“If you stop learning, you start dying,” he said.

VUST is a private university in Bushenyi district (western Uganda). It is wholly owned by Mukaira Foundation Limited and aims at bridging the gap by supporting the Government in promotion of sciences.

The Faculty of Science, Technology and Innovations was hosting the training.

The faculty’s dean, Smith Rumanzi, stressed the importance of dairy cattle farming, saying the industry is a crucial part of Uganda’s agricultural sector while the dedicated farmers are the backbone of the industry.

He told the farmers that the university recognised the vital role dairy farming played in the economic and nutritional well-being of the communities.

Innovativeness

A highlight of the event was the presentation by Prof. Kabirizi, a VUST science faculty member, who shared her expertise on improved dairy cattle feeds and waste management technologies for increased yield and a healthy environment.

She is also a local and international researcher who worked with the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) as a senior scientist.

Kabirizi emphasised the importance of adopting innovative feed and effective waste management practices to enhance milk production and ensure a sustainable farming environment.

She encouraged dairy cattle farmers to adopt improved technologies because “dairy cattle farming is a rewarding business and a cow is the best tenant as it feeds people”

Creating feeding Plan

Dairy expert Prof. Jolly Kabirizi says feeding accounts for over 60% of the total cost of production in a profitable dairy cattle enterprise.

She advised farmers to ensure adequate feeding to keep animals healthy and productive. Below are some ways to ensure this:

  • Producing your own feeds (fresh, conserved and compounded) is a very good option and reduces the feeding costs per animal. So, determine the amount of pasture required for the animal.
  • Working with a nutritionist to develop balanced rations for your lactating cows, dry cows and heifers if these animals are to be raised on the farm. Raising your own feed takes land and time, not to mention equipment for planting and harvesting the crops.
  • Hiring operators to plant and harvest crops, or making arrangements with neighbours to share equipment and labour can reduce your capital investment as you start your dairy business and build capital. Some of the major feed resources in the animal’s diet are mineral licks and/or mineral supplements, dairy concentrates for optimum milk production, utilising agricultural farm products (including cereal stovers and sweet potato vines) and agro[1]industrial byproducts (including molasses).

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: A farmer tours a dairy farm. Despite registering significant levels of growth, Uganda’s dairy cattle industry continues to experience a myriad of challenge.

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