Production of high quality silage for dry season feeding of smallholder livestock, Zimbabwe

Summary

Many farmers in low potential areas own cattle and milk them for their own consumption and sale. However, in the dry season, natural grazing and crop residues are inadequate to support lactation, making supplementary feed necessary to maintain milk production. Costs of purchased feeds are prohibitive, making dairy a seasonal rather than an annual activity. Optimum nutrient quality of forage coincides with the rains, making silage a practical option for conservation.

A manual was produced for the growing and ensiling of annual and perennial forage crops suited to marginal and semi-arid areas of Southern Africa 'Forage Production and Conservation Manual', (MHERE et al., 2002). This includes descriptions of techniques for growing the crops and production of silage.

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