By Prossy Nandudu
Dr Jolly Kabirizi, an expert in livestock feeds adds that apart from grasses, farmers should also consider food crops as sources of hay or silage that if preserved can feed livestock so they can continue producing milk.
She explained that silage is conserved fodder/feed stored in “silo” bags for dry season feeding; and that the sweet potato vines can be collected from markets or homes. Making sweet potato vines silage reduces wastes in markets and on farms.
To make sweet potato silage
Kabirizi who was training farmers on how to add value in livestock feeds at the Harvest Money expo also shared tips of making potato silage.
One should chop sweet potato vines into pieces of about 5 cm length using a forage chopper or a panga. The cut pieces should be wilted or half dried to reduce moisture or water content.
When ready, some 10kgs of maize bran should sprayed per 100kg bag of wilted vines because bran improves silage quality & preservation, explained Kabirizi.
She also emphasized storage, by sharing tips on how one can make a polythene tube silo. To make a plastic silo, she said that one should cut a plastic tubing polythene (gauge 600-800 microns thick) into pieces of 1.5 meters’ length. Then tie firmly with a sisal string at 30 cm distance from the cut edge.
Turn the bag inside-out & fold back the edge to produce a silage bag (silo). The ready bag should be placed in a-100 kg synthetic sac to protect the silage from being damaged by rats & hot weather. Fill the plastic tube with chopped vines & compact to remove the air. Tie a plastic tube bag with a sisal string.
The bag should be well labeled indicate the date and of production before it can be stored in a well -ventilated place, free from rats. Silage can be stored for 3 years. Interns feed, she said the silage should be given to cows after 21-30 days.
Nutritional values of potato silage include 18% protein content. Only 10kgs of silage should be added in the 100 kg of total feeds consumed by a cow per day. She however cautions the silage shouldn’t be given to cows within 30 minutes of milking to prevent bad smell in milk.
Maize stover or stalk is another plant product that is ignored by famers and yet it could be another animal feed. To make the best out of it, the stalk should be chopped into small pieces.
Then mixed with molasses (sukaali Gulu), water & spent grain yeast solution in a ratio of 1:2:1.
Molasses provides energy & improves the taste of stover while spent grain yeast solution improves protein content. When ready it should be compacted and then stored in silage bags, added Kabirizi.