Published by goldertrust on 24 Nov 2008
Since the beginning of August, the Farm has been busy preparing for the 2008 harvest season; this meant that the forage harvester needed to be in working order, all 4 tractors have to work and the trailers need to be adjusted to be able to take bigger loads. It is a bit like a circus really! It only happens once a year and if there are no mechanical failures, good weather conditions and dry farm roads we usually finish within 3-4 weeks. If the situation is ideal we only stop the forage harvester in the evening as it gets dark and we fill and cover the silage pit after 3-5 days of harvesting.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case this year. The last week of August saw us starting off very well. The silage harvest was going on well and on a speedy note but when September rolled around, things went down hill.
The first two weeks of the month it rained nearly on a daily basis- a total of 136 mm up till the 14th of September. Off-loading the trailers with the chopped maize is done manually, so when it rains we have to stop. Furthermore, the amount of rainfall in such a short period causes the roads to become impassable and some of the maize fields were water logged. In such situations, we are required to wait for 1-2 days for dry weather in order to continue, which delays the whole process.
The third week of September, FarmChem-Seedlinks a Kenyan based company selling farm inputs like maize and vegetable seeds, used our small holder unit (zero grazing unit) to demonstrate some of their maize and vegetable varieties to farmers from within the district.
Having seen the small-holder unit (a small farm of about 1 ha. that caters for 2 cows) they then visited the large scale farming system on Baraka Farm. The farmers were very interested in the dairy cows; we explained to them how the cows are kept, fed and taken care of from the day they are born until the day they have their first baby calf. The biggest obstacle to improved milk production in this area of Kenya is the little/poor fodder that is available for the animals. Thanks to the Golder Trust for Orphans, we are able to maintain a very good system on the farm and are exploring growing our dairy business to include cheese production. We are looking forward to discussing this project further with the Golder Trust for Orphans in early 2009.