The status of maize stover utilization as feed for livestock in Kiambu and Thika districts of Kenya: constraints and opportuniti
Wahome, R. G
Kuria, J. K. N
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Maize stover is an important feed resource in smallholder crop/livestock production systems. A situation analysis survey was undertaken in four administrative divisions, namely Kiambaa and Githuguri in the Kiambu district and Gatanga and Kamwangi in the Thika district as representatives of this system. The objective of the study was to establish baseline information on maize stover utilization as livestock feed and possible constraints and strategies to deal with these constraints. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Simple random sampling was used to select 15 respondents per district, giving a sample size of 30 households. Sampling criteria was based on dairy enterprise priority and a zero-grazing production system. Termite attacks during storage and low quality of stover were the major constraints in utilization of maize stover. Among the major strategies for dealing with the low quality of stover, was supplementation with spent brewers' grains, which was most important in Thika district, while in Kiambu district, supplementation with fodder grasses emerged highest. Treatment of dry maize stover with urea was among the least adopted technologies in the two districts. It was concluded from the study that the efficiency with which the available stover are utilized is compromised by poor handling before feeding. Some of the strategies adopted to overcome the identified constraint of low quality were also inappropriate. This may reflect the lack of technical know-how on how best to use the stover and/or inappropriateness of available technologies. There is a need to address this situation by adapting known and workable technologies under the local conditions.