Moses Gitau started his dairy farming while at a tender age. His love for agriculture made him to purse Agricultural Economics from Maasai Mara University. His now works as an agricultural officer, while dairy farming is an additional source of income. Here is his inspiring story.
How Moses Started Dairy Farming
Being brought up in a family that practiced agriculture; Moses knew the importance of agricultural farming at a tender age. He started his agribusiness while in form two, after buying a young bull at Ksh 15,000 using his savings. His savings were from the money he was earning doing casual jobs like tilling the land and working in constructions sites during school holidays. He looked after the bull until it was old enough and sold it off at Ksh 28,000. He had made a profit of Ksh 13,000 within 10 months.
Out of the money he had sold the bull, he bought a heifer. This was a great move to start selling milk after it gave birth. It took him one and half years for the cow to give birth and immediately, he started milking. He would sell the milk within his neighbourhood. He would make Ksh 5,000 per month out of selling milk. This was good earnings considering he was still in high school. His parents would help him take care of the cow and the calf when he was in school. He would use the money to pay his school fees and leave him with enough pocket money.
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What Inspired Moses to Start Dairy Farming
Moses started dairy farming out of passion and love for agriculture. His love for agriculture made him select Agriculture subject in high school, a subject he loved most. It is among the subjects that he excelled most in KSCE, giving him good grades to study Agricultural Economics in Maasai Mara University.
To date, Moses says his satisfaction is having been employed as an agricultural officer with a Kenyan firm that exports french beans to the UK. His work is mainly to help farmers to grow French beans. Many of the farmers he works with make bumper harvests. He can see and mitigate the risks that farmers face, making him excel in his job.
Challenges Moses has Faced in Dairy Farming
Moses started his dairy farming while in high school. As such, he did not have much time to attend to his cattle. His mother would help him with feeding while he was in school. It was a challenge since his mother also had other things to attend to. As such, he needed to get enough feeds when schools had closed to make his mother’s work easier.
The other challenge was his cattle getting attacked by diseases. Whenever a cow got attacked by a disease, it would cost him a lot to pay a veterinary to treat it. It would take almost all the savings he had from the sale of milk. He learnt that poor feeding was the cause of his cattle getting attacked by diseases. At the time, he didn’t know how to provide the cattle with a balanced diet to have better immunity.
He also had a challenge with feeds storage. A significant amount of animal feeds like fodder would dry since he used to get it in large quantities. It is then he decided to start storing grass in the form of hay and silage. This way, he can keep fodder for up to six months.
Advice to Those Wishing to Start Dairy Farming
Moses advises those wishing to start dairy farming to ensure that they have enough fodder for their livestock. Also, they should have proper storage means of dairy feeds. Many farmers buy fodder for their cows during dry seasons, which leaves them with very little profits.
Farmers should also learn how to store fodder in silage or hay during wet seasons. Having sufficient storage of feeds is a great way to prepare for the dry season. Farmers should also supplement their livestock with dairy feeds containing various nutrients. They should also make sure that the livestock has enough water. This helps them fight diseases and also produce more milk.
Moses says that although his dairy farming business is not his main income source, he cannot afford to end his agribusiness. He currently has three Friesian cows and hopes to add more soon.
How You Can Make Money in Dairy Farming
There are many ways you can make money from dairy farming. One of them is through the sale of milk. You can start selling milk to your local dairy or your neighbours. Also, you can make money selling manure. Many farmers buy manure to use in crop cultivation, providing you with a ready market. Also, if you grow crops, you can use the manure and save on the cost you would incur buying manure.