Current Livestock Production Challenges and Opportunities in Transmara Sub-County: Diagnostic Survey Report
The purose of this study was to assess feed resources available for Sahiwal and its Crossbred weaner calves in Trans Mara sub County of Narok County. A survey was carried out in three randomly selected Wards; Lolgorian, Keiyan and Kilgoris Central of Transmara sub-County in Narok County. A formal cross sectional survey was conducted using structured questionnaire to obtain information on challenges and opportunities related to weaner calf rearing. A single household keeping cattle was used as a sampling unit in this study. A list of households keeping Sahiwal and Sahiwal/Zebu crosses was purposively obtained from each ward and these were used to construct a sampling frame. Sample size was calculated as a proportion (0.1%) of the sampling frame. The objectives were to identify factors affecting growth of weaner Sahiwal and Sahiwal/Zebu crossbred calves and the opportunities to improve their performance under the prevailing rangeland conditions. The data collected was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Majority (over 90%) of the respondent farmers were males, thus suggesting domination of livestock activities by men. Cattle formed biggest part (about 80%) of the livestock in each farm followed by sheep and goats in that order. Free range production system was the dominant practice since people were not aware of other systems and the forages in the farm were mostly low quality natural pastures. In some areas where land was paddocked, rotational grazing was practiced. The crop by-products used to feed livestock by some farmers was mostly maize stovers and bean husks which were fed directly in the field. The major challenges encountered while raising weaner calves include diseases (>40%), drought (approx 20%), and inadequate feeds due to overstocking (<20%). To mitigate the stated challenges > between 16 and 22% of the farmers proposed proper parasites and disease control through Vaccination, dipping, deworming while between 3 and 22% suggested improvement of pastures including new introductions. Other proposals included introduction and use of A.I. services between 4 and 5%, availing affordable and quality breeding bulls especially for Sahiwal between 32 and 41%, improved livestock management and reliable access to affordable and quality animal feeds between 1 and 5%, amongst others.
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