Dry season forages for improving dairy production in smallholder systems in Uganda

Jolly Kabirizi, Emma Ziiwa, Swidiq Mugerwa, Jean Ndikumana, William Nanyennya

Abstract


Economically feasible strategies for year-round feed supply to dairy cattle are needed to improve feed resource availability, milk yield and household income for the smallholder dairy farming systems that predominate in the rural Eastern and Central African region. Currently, Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) is the major forage in zero-grazing production systems, but dry-season production is often constrained. Our results from 24 farms show that sowing forage legumes, including Centrosema molle (formerly C. pubescens) and Clitoria ternatea, with Napier grass and Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato improved both yield of forage and protein concentration. Sowing of 0.5 ha Napier-Centro plus 0.5 ha of Mulato-Clitoria increased milk yield by 80% and household income by 52% over 0.5 ha Napier grass monoculture. Possible income foregone from the crops which could have been grown on the additional 0.5 ha must be considered in assessing the economic viability of the system.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17138/tgft(1)212-214

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