A group of close to 120 Kenyans — dairy farmers and a battery of journalists — are in Israel to sample the country’s top-edge dairy farming technology, a trip sponsored by New KCC. As we traverse a number of small towns and centres, the desert climate in Israel is evident. After a relaxed night, our morning programme starts on high gear.
Our first destination is Kibbutz — an area nestled in scenic and fertile landscapes, representing a unique, rural way of life whose historic hallmark is sharing. There are historical houses in Kibbutz with their economic mainstay being dairy farming.
The dairy industry here is an important aspect in the growth of the agricultural sector with the creation of optimal integration between the production unit, technologies and equipment, the operator and the production environment.
The increased milk production in Israel, despite the harsh conditions, has made the country an attraction site for many milk producing nations. Nearly everything from feeding to breeding is done differently in Israel. AfiMilk, a local dairy farm in Jordan Valley was one of the farms visited by the Kenyan delegation.
Mr Pinchas Gur, a manager at the farm that hosts over 400 dairy cows took us around the farm, originally built in 1932, on the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee.
From the tours at the farm, the technology has played a crucial role in increased production. The Israeli dairy sector produces 12,000 kilogrammes of milk per cow on average annually against Kenya’s 2,500kg.
So what’s the magic pill?
Mr Gur tells Smart Harvest that correct feeding and breeding is everything. “Wheat silage, corn silage and fermented poultry manure are some of the famous feeds for dairy animals,” says Gur.
Mr Mor Noibart, a manager at Kibbutz Mesilot — one of the farms dealing with feeds — engages farmers on the importance of getting the correct Total Mixed Ration (TMR) for dairy animals.
“It is essential to provide the animal a constant and well-balanced feed ration, which provides all its requirements throughout the year. Based on reliable on-line feed ingredient analysis, cost and benefit calculated feed rations are provided in such a way that the animal can efficiently produce milk.”