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HomeUncategorizedFarmer abandons maize farming for Brachiaria grass

Farmer abandons maize farming for Brachiaria grass

KNA A farmer in Murang’a has embraced grass farming after ditching maize growing which he said has subjected him to losses for many years.

Kamau Munyeki who hails from Kogoini village explained to KNA how he has embraced growing brachiaria grass for three years now after maize farming failed to sustain the livelihood of his family.  

“I recall once when my maize farm was heavily infested by armyworms. I had planted maize to use as silage to feed my cows but due to poor quality of the silage, milk production was very low,” said Munyeki

The farmer narrated how he got his initial brachiaria seeds from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and that three years down the line he is happy that he gave the grass a shot

“Every year I harvest approximately 1,000 bales of the grass which I sell to make profit. Each bale goes for Sh. 200. With this money I am able to sustain my family,” the father of two stated.

From a distance one can easily confuse the brachiaria grass with the common napier grass but on a closer look the difference comes pronounced.

“Most people tend to call it napier as it resembles the same but as you can see it has dark green blades which are thinner as compared to napier which are broader,” he explained.

 “I really like the type of fodder as it increases my cow’s milk production, it grows fast, and it is drought resistant and rarely affected by diseases,” he added.

The farmer highly embraces the grass as it contains protein levels of about nine percent which converts to increased levels of milk production hence more profits.

In addition, the grass is advantageous as it is drought resistant and rarely affected by diseases such as stunt and smut.  Besides higher yields, the grass can be made into hay or fed to livestock while fresh from the farm.

“Because of change in climate patterns it is difficult to predict when the rains will fall and if we plant and receive low downpour the maize won’t do well unlike the brachiaria grass which can withstand prolonged dry spell.” he added.

Munyeki encourages other farmers with entrepreneurial skills in Murang’a to venture into brachiaria grass farming since it is a low risk and high profitable type of farming

“The grass is ready for harvest after 4 months and it can be cut up to the seventh or the tenth year and after planting,” he said.

 He advised farmers with idle land to try the grass instead of leaving their farms unattended to.

 “I urge my fellow farmers to seize this golden opportunity for brachiaria seed production since there is a growing interest in brachiaria and the demand for planting is increasing day by day,” said Munyeki.

Brachiaria seeds are readily available in agrovet outlets country wide and farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity and plant the fodder as it has high returns of investment.

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