Experts' take on topical issues affecting farming, agribusiness

A farmer prepares silage for his livestock in this past photo. Silage-making is a feed conservation method that helps prolong the shelf-life of the feed.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Pigs have one stomach, thus most of their feeds are made mainly from cereals, for instance, maize, broken rice, wheat, barley and sunflower.
  • Rabbit urine is a good source of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. It is also used as a pesticide.
  • Dairy goats’ rearing is an interesting business because of the high milk prices and the nutritional value of the product.
  • Avocados do well in the region, among other fruits. This has seen farmers from Kuresoi North sub-county grow the crop.

Feeding pigs spinach silage

I keep pigs and wanted to know if one can use spinach to prepare silage for the animals. And will it be of any health benefit?

Antony Wang'ombe

Pigs have one stomach, thus most of their feeds are made mainly from cereals, for instance, maize, broken rice, wheat, barley and sunflower.

Also, protein sources like soybean or fishmeal are used. However, they also need other nutrients. Vegetables are a good source of minerals and vitamins for the animals and can be a good snack.

They are best offered fresh. However, since they are consumed by people, it brings great competition with humans as food. Overall, silage-making is a feed conservation method that helps prolong the shelf-life of the feed.

Dennis Kigiri, 
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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The benefits of rabbit urine

What is the main significance of rabbit urine? Second, can a rabbit suffer infertility? 

Nelson Wachira

For many years, rabbits have been kept as pets. However, their importance has significantly changed since they are a good source of meat, skin, droppings and urine.

The urine is a good source of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. It is also used as a pesticide. Yes, rabbits can suffer infertility, though it’s rare.

This can be associated with age, health, diet, hormonal imbalance, abnormalities of the reproductive organ,  infections or parasites, climate and seasonal changes, among others.

Dennis Kigiri, 
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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Goat keeping

I am a resident of Nyandarua County and would like to settle on dairy goat farming, but I have no idea on markets and the best breed because the place is cold. Is dairy goat farming viable in the area?

Rocy Mosho

Dairy goats’ rearing is an interesting business because of the high milk prices and the nutritional value of the product.

The goat breeds you can keep include Saanen, Toggenburg, Alpine and the American Lamancha. For good market, you must have consistency in production.

Please do market research before venturing into dairy goat production.

Dennis Kigiri, 
Department of Animal Science, Egerton University.

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Feedlot business

I would like to know if you have learning materials on beef animals’ feeding and nutrition. Second, I have a Sahiwal mixed with Zebu currently on free-range.

I have constructed a feeder lot, watering place, spraying area and salt-licking place, which can feed 50 cows and I am now in the process of constructing a holding bay for incoming cows for disease observation.

Further, I am also planning to be buying skinny cows and fattening them for sale. I bought a posho mill and a grain mixture.

I have nine acres of Boma Rhodes, two acres of napier grass and I also want to plant some desmodium fodder. Lastly, does dry maize stock add any value to a cow? What about sunflower?

Chomba Munyi 

You have quite some comprehensive work going on. My advice is that you visit the Department of Animal Sciences at Egerton University, where you will get elaborate guidance and training.

The information you need cannot be addressed on this platform. You can also reach me at denniskigiri@yahoo.com.

Dennis Kigiri, Department of Animal Science, 
Egerton University.

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Crop to farm in Ngata, Nakuru

I have two acres in Ngata, Nakuru County. Kindly advise, which crops can do well in the area.

Mwangi Kamotho


The climatic conditions around Ngata are favourable for a wide range of fruit production. What you should consider before you venture into the business is market.

Avocados do well in the region, among other fruits. This has seen farmers from Kuresoi North sub-county grow the crop.

Other fruits you can plant include plums and pears, and recently farmers have adopted the production of passion fruits, which are produced from certified seedlings bought from registered companies or government entities like Kefri and Kenya Seed Company.

Some farmers in the region have also shown interest in banana production, which is one of the most important crops in the world and have a wide market due to their multipurpose value.

It is advisable to produce tissue culture bananas since they are resistant to various diseases and can endure adverse weather conditions.

Sillus Oduor,
Department of Crops, Horticulture, 
Egerton University.

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