Animal Production Research Department Annual Report 1983

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Ministry Of Agriculture
The year 1983 was the second year of operation when the Department existed as a fully fledged constituent of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. One of the objectives of the first several years of independent existence of the Department is to lay the foundations for an animal production research programme and actiVities thereof for the eighties. It now appears that the primary responsibility of the Department will be to generate innovations suitable for two different areas of the country with reference to both dairy and beef cattle. Central Kenya constitute one of these areas. The, area is densely populated and enjoys bimodal rainfall with characteristic two drought period between the long and short rains. Feeding dary cattle duringthese dry periods is a challenge to both the diry animal, the~ animal production extension officer and the researcher. ". The dairying regime in this arEais charaerized by confinement and semi-confinement of the animals to Which forage. Fodder and agro• by-products are harvested, precessed and carted' to the troughs~ It would seem that the animals are better but not adequately fed during the rains than during the dry period. The kingpin . fodder in thiS regime is Napier grass especially bana Napier grass. Some giant setaria and giant panicum are grown to a lesser extent. The Department will study closely the factors which limit milk production in this situation and seek ways to overcome these constraints 1n an economic dairy operation.