The webinar on forages counted with 40+ participants from all over the East Africa region. These notes are shared with all 160 dairy professionals who registered for the webinar and the 38 people who downloaded the forage tools. The BAMSCOS report is scheduled for publication in January 2024. It will be shared with everyone via NFPConnects.
The programme of the webinar:
- The importance of forage. Introduction pitch by Geert Westenbrink, NEADAP
- The BAMSCOS case study on improved forage. Presentation by Jos Creemers.
- Using the Forage Finder and the Forage Cost Calculator. Demonstration by Peris Chege.
Jos Creemers and Peris Chege are both dairy consultants for Pro-Dairy East Africa.
Introduction on forages
In his introduction, Geert Westenbrink stressed the importance of year-round available fodder of good quality as a pathway to increase production per cow. This is especially important on the 9+ million dairy farms in East Africa that have less than 5 cows and combine dairy with cropping. NEADAP aims to focus the partnership and solutions on these mixed crop-livestock systems, that recycle nutrients and provide a relatively stable income, considering the volatility of dairy markets and prices.
Neadap approach to year-round fodder availability: The BAMSCOS case
The presentation by Jos Creemers covered a forage study with 24 farmers of the BAMSCOS cooperative in Baringo, Kenya. The study analysed these farms' available forages and current feeding strategy. Next, it analysed the cost of forage production, the quality of the forages and the requirements of the dairy cows on these farmers. A farm walk and several tools were used to research the potential for improving dairy production. Most farms can improve their income and lower their environmental footprint by increasing the quantity of forage, harvesting forage earlier for better content and decrease the forage-to-concentrate ratio.
In his presentation, Jos Creemers made reference to Rumen8. Follow this link and this link for more info on Rumen8. You can also watch these videos 5 min introduction and 20-minute intro on the Rumen8 dairy module by Hink Perdok.
NEADAP Forage Finder and the Forage Cost Calculator
Peris Chege demonstrated the NEADAP Forage Finder and the Forage Cost Calculator. The Forage Finder (and in due course the Forage Cost Calculator) is available for download via this link: https://forms.gle/4Uc8ko4xQX8uNWqB9
The Forage Finder was developed in its current version for Kenya. Now the format is tested, the Forage Finder can be expanded to other countries. NEADAP is inviting partners interested to adapt and scale the tool for wider use. The Forage Cost Calculator has an option to select the currency in East Africa. It is expected to be released by the end of the year.
Managing Consultant, ProDairy E.A. Ltd
Dairy Coach & Consultant, ProDairy E.A Ltd