Assessing the productivity of Meved dairy farmAssessing the productivity of meved dairy farm

Categories: Factory FarmingMilk

Dairy farming is the business of producing milk which can be sold when it is raw or can be processed first before it is sold to the consumer.9in developing countries typical dairy farms are made of high producing dairy animals. Animals currently constituting dairy farming include cattle, goats, sheep, goats and camel. Donkey although not popular in Kenya, Italy for instance is producing donkey milk as an alternative for feeding human infants.

Dairy industry in Kenya contributes about 4.5 % of the total country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Kenya is one the largest milk producers in Africa and the other only country after south Africa that produces enough milk both for local consumption and for export. The number of milking cattle was at 3.8 million (2008 census). According to small holder dairy project (SDP ,2005) the number of milking dairy cattle stands at 6.7 million . According to 2008 census the number of milking cattle stand at 3.8 million. The milking cattle in Kenya includes the traditional cows, Friesians , Jersey, Guernsey , Ayrshire and Sahiwal.

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According to the Government of Kenya (2008) the total amount of milk stands at 4.8 tones , 4.5 tone came from cattle , 150,000 tones from goats , 50,000 tonnes from camels Due to these reason there has been effort by the Kenyan Government through policy formulation to help the dairy industry, for instance the The national Livestock policy (2008) . In Kenya the industry consists of small scale and large scale, cutting across the following dairy production systems , Intensive , semi –intensive and extensive system. According to Kenya dairy board (2009) , over 90% of the country’s Total National milk is from the small scale sector while less than 10% is from the large scale sector.

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Dairy farming has been adopted with high rate in high potential areas in Kenya. These areas include the central Kenya and The Rift valley and some parts of Nyanza. Due to unavailability of land in this high potential areas, Dairy farming adoption has been shifted to low potential areas like Kajiado . Despite the high appetite in adoption, the productivity has been low both at small scale and large scale levels. The milk production on average per cow in Kenya is about 8-10 liters compared to south Africa’s 12.7 liters ( Theron and Mostert 2008). Instead of increasing milk production on average per animal, Kenyan farmers are resorting to expanding the size of the hard to meet the milk demand. This is uneconomical looking at the scarce land, capital and the expensive labor.

This low productivity in the farms has been attributed to management and genetics of the animals. Managing the animals at different levels, that is at birth to weaning, post weaning stages, first conception to first parturition and in lactation has been attributed to low milk productivity at different farms. Making sure that animal attains the recommended weight at different growth levels, that is , at birth , weaning, at first conception has been a challenge at different farm levels. Meved being one of the dairy farms in Kirinyaga , Kenya has been having milk production on average per cow at about 17 liters . I feel that they still have a room for improvement despite beating the National average milk production per cow.

My project will aim at assessing its productivity from calves, weaned heifers, bulling heifers, in calf heifers, milking heifers and lactating ones. I will also asses the productivity on average of the milk production at different lactation numbers.

Dairy farming is one of the most important Farming activities in Kenya as it contributes about 4.5% of the country’s total gross domestic product. Milk which is a product of dairy farming is a source of nutrition to many Kenyans. The dairy sector has employed so many Kenyans, from farmers themselves, both in small scale and large scale sector, the input providers like the feed manufactures, equipments manufacturers, the researchers, the extensional officers and not forgetting the milk processors and marketers.

Due to the above importance, my project is important because it aims at assessing a dairy farm as a representative of the many milk producers in Kenya. The project will act as a representative of how productivity stands at different average farms in Kenya. It will provide an overview to help show where different farms can improve.

Specific objectives

  • To determine the pre weaning average weight gain per day.
  • To determine the weaning physiological maturity (weaning weight).
  • To assess post weaning average weight gain per day.
  • To assess the average age of heifers at first mating.
  • To assess the milk production at different lactation numbers.
  • To determine the average calf mortality rates from birth to weaning.
  • Calves

    Kansas state university through a research done by J.b Fitch ,M.C. Gillard and G.M.Drumm to determine the average weight of calves at birth from different cattle breeds indicated that ;Average weight of jersey calves was 57 pounds, Guernsey 64 pounds, Aryshire 72 pounds and that of Friesian was 91 pounds. They also explained that the weight of the dam was related to the weight of the calves, they found that the weight of the jersey calf at birth represented 6.3% of the dam’s weight, Aryshire was 6.7%, Guernsey was 6.7% while that of Friesian was 7.8%. They also concluded that male calves were 4-10 pounds heavier than females and that mature cows produced bigger calves than immature ones. A research to study the factors affecting calf growth and daily weight gain on small holder dairy farms in kiambu county, Kenya by G.K Gitau, McDermott, J.E Adams, K.D Lissemore indicated that the overall median weight gain was 0.21kg and was ranging from 0.4-0.9kg. 201 calves were examined, 104 being males and 97 being females.

    International livestock research institute (ILRI) through their manual on smallholder dairy farmer training manual indicates that the average weaning weight for Friesian calves will be ranging from 90-110 while that for Jersey will range from 65-85 kg live weight. ILRI indicates that the calf mortality from birth to weaning is about 4-6%. FAO indicates the pre-weaning mortality rate as 9.6%, 2.95% occurring during the first three days after birth while the rest (6.7%) occurring from 3 days to weaning age.


    The smallholder dairy farmer training manual by ILRI (manual 24) indicates that the heifers live weight at mating should be 250-350kg. The ILRI manual also indicates that the weight at first calving should be 400-500kg but that depends on the breed. Pennstate extension department on heifer growth shows that the age of heifers at first calving should be as indicated in the table below in months.

    Milking cows.

    A research done by AJAS (Asian-Australasian journal of Animal sciences )to determine the effects of lactation number ,stage, length and milking frequency on milk yield in Korean Holstein dairy cows showed that milk production increased in the second and third lactation but dropped at the forth lactation with the highest milk production was at number 3 as shown below.

    The farm is located in Rukanga ,Kirinyaga county (101km from Nairobi county) along the Sagana Karatina highway about 6km from Makutano junction. Kirinyaga county has a population of about 528,054 ( census 2008) with four constituencies ( Mwea, Gichugu, Ndia, Kirinyaga central ) The area experiences annual precipitation of 500-1250mm. The area has clay loam soil. The temperatures range from 15.6-28.6 degrees Celsius with an average of 22 degrees. Economic activity of the area is farming, comprising of rice growing, maize, beans, tomatoes and livestock rearing (indigenous cattle and dairy cattle ).

    Meved dairy farm

    Meved dairy farm was started in the year 2009 with two indigenous cattle. In the year 2011, the farm purchased 15 dairy cattle all Friesian. Currently the farm has a herd of over 140 dairy cattle including 2 bulls. Currently the farm is producing over 900 liters of milk per day from about 40 cows with the average production being 20 liters per cow. In terms of fodder, the farm is self sustaining only purchasing hay, mineral supplements, concentrates and medicines. The farm has over the years had trained dairy managers. Meved Dairy Farm measures the weight of all the animals using a weigh band.

    Updated: Feb 13, 2024
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Assessing the productivity of Meved dairy farmAssessing the productivity of meved dairy farm. (2024, Feb 13). Retrieved from

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