Milking routines, milk yield and udder health on smallholder dairy farms in Baringo, Kenya
Sammanfattning: The aim of the project was to investigate possible differences in milking rou-tines, milk yield and udder health between smallholder dairy farms in the highlands (HL) and lowlands (LL) in Baringo county, Kenya, and identify management aspects that could be improved to increase milk yield. The ob-jective was further to study milk handling practices of primary dairy cooper-atives in Baringo and to describe challenges they are facing. Seven Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS) were visited and interviewed, and 31 of their member farms were visited in total; 16 farms in the LL and 15 farms in the HL. Farmers were interviewed about management routines and observations were made of milking routines. Milk yield was registered (kg) and samples of whole udder and udder quarter milk were obtained. In total, 114 cows were included in the study. All milk samples were analysed for somatic cell count (SCC) and the pH was determined in whole udder milk samples. No clear differences were found in milking routines, udder health or milk yield be-tween the HL and LL. The calculated average milk yield was 6.58 kg per cow and day and the milk SCC varied greatly between farms, cows and udder quarters. The median milk SCC was low in whole udder samples with 139 000 cells/ml, but 25% of the cows had ≥ 400 000 cells/ml in their whole udder milk and 38% of the cows had at least one udder quarter with ≥ 1 000 000 cells/ml. Milking intervals were uneven on many farms and inter-vals were ≤ 6 or ≥ 18 hours on 32% of the farms. Additionally, indications of a beneficial effect of restricted suckling on udder health were found and should be seen as an important practice to promote good udder health. Im-proving feed and water access on farms, increasing the number of daily milk deliveries from farmers to FCS in some regions, improving contracts with processors and finding ways of coping with the competition of informal milk vendors are aspects which likely would contribute to increased milk produc-tion in the Baringo area.
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