|Mazao Yetu Ltd.|
A small Red Poll stud has also been established. Some of these animals are milked conventionally but some are dairy ranched, which means they are milked morning only and suckle their calves in the day. The calf is then separated from the mother at night. The Red Polls produce an excellent cross animal with the Boran for beef production in our area, they are heat tolerant and being relatively small framed and early maturing, we can finish them off in our conditions more easily than the bigger continental breeds. The Red Poll has good meat to bone ratio and is a good milker under adverse conditions.
A mixed herd of Jersey and Ayrshire cows are kept for milking. This herd comprises 150 animals. Semen from both the Central Artificial Insemination Services, Nairobi and imported is used on these cows. Some of these cows are registered with the Kenya Stud Book and milk yields recorded with the Dairy Recording Service of Kenya. Heifers are raised for sale. Many farmers want Friesian cows but in Western Kenya, we have found that with the low level of management skills and feed inputs,and the hot humid conditions, the Jersey and the Red Poll perform as well as, or better, than the Friesians and so we recommend them to smallholders. These cows are milked twice daily and the product sold locally.
The commercial beef herd of 150 suckler cows are Boran and Boran crosses, which are put to Red Poll bulls for production of beef or heifers that may be sold as cross-bred heifers for milk production. These cross animals under conditions prevailing in much of Kenya are very useful to smallholders, having hybrid vigour, increased disease resistance and heat tolerance. For the less developed areas with lower potential, they are ideal and are capable of producing substantial amounts of milk under relatively poor levels of management. The Boran dams crossed with either beef or dairy bulls are excellent mothers and produce beefy calves which grow well and the heifers are often good milkers. In our conditions the F1 cows often produce more milk than pure dairy breeds.
In the Horn of Africa, Boran are kept by nomadic people to provide milk. Although yields are low, there has been selection for milk production and this may be the reason why Boran crossed with other breeds, both dairy and beef, produce good milkers in the F1 cross. It may also explain why the Boran cow is such a good dam, able to produce weaners well in excess of 50% of her own body weight.
A flock of 100 crossbred ewes is kept for lamb/mutton production. These are grazed in the fire breaks between the cane fields and help to reduce mowing costs.
There is a pig unit for production of both porkers and baconers for meat. Most of these are currently sold to Farmers Choice Limited.