Development of low cost feeding system for finishing of immature stock for meat in rangelands of Kenya
The livestock revolution indicates that the consumption of livestock products will be growing in developing countries including Kenya. Kenya is currently a net importer of meat and meat products and this situation will get worse as income and urbanization grows. Sheep contribute to food production, rural employment and gross national product by converting roughages into meat, wool and skin. There is an increasing demand for mutton for domestic and export for meat.
Under the existing production systems the slaughter weight of sheep and beef in the county is low and age at which it is usually achieved is much higher (>3 years). There is high demand particularly from the youth of a market oriented production system for meat products that reduces the age at slaughter while increasing the market weight of marketed animals. Such a system which involves fattening/raising animals for meat under grazing with supplementation and on enhanced management, should be cost effective. The major advantage of this system is that the farmer would for example, rear the animals only for seven months (in case of sheep) and not for the whole year. He will get handsome profit after seven months, which is at par with the lambs reared for 11-12 months under extensive grazing system. Shorter periods of rearing reduce the risk of mortality before selling. It would also ensure that a “flying herd” operation that sources immatures from the more arid rangeland and finishing them on better rangelands is achieved. The project proposes to develop a profitable grass based finishing ration and management system for production of mutton and beef on kenyan rangelands as one way of commercializing livestock production in these areas. Sub-activities will focus on:
- Development of supplementary rations
- Conducting feeding and management trials
- Determination of profitability of the system
- Packaging and upscaling of technology