Please note, due to essential maintenance online purchasing will be unavailable between 6:00 and 11:00 (GMT) on 23rd November 2019. We apologise for any inconvenience.
A major constraint on smallholder dairy farms in Kenya is inadequate feed supply resulting in low productivity. In Kiambu district of the Central Highlands, principal feed resources are cultivated Napier grass, roadside grass and fodder from maize, including stover and higher quality thinnings cut during the growing period. An average farmer in Kiambu owns 0.8 ha of which 0.19 and 0.17 ha are dedicated to Napier and maize cultivation, respectively, and 2.2 cows producing 5.8 kg milk/day (Staal et al. 1998). Meeting the feed requirements of the dairy animals, while maintaining food production is already a challenge. There are indications that the maize crop will become increasingly important as a source of fodder (Staal et al. 1998). Methu (1998) showed that by planting 4 rather 2 maize seeds per hole, 1.9 t DM/ha of thinnings, with high energy and N content could be harvested without affecting significantly the yields of stover or grain. The present study explored further the potential of increasing production of good quality thinnings without jeopardising grain yield in a series of on-farm trials.