Two farmers have constructed zero grazing units under the supervision of the
DAIRYCHAIN team at University of Education, Winneba, Mampong-Ashanti, Ghana. They are Zaare and Karima farms, all in Sekeyere South District of Ashanti Region. The District is one of the five project Districts in Ashanti Region where DAIRYCHAIN is operating. The two farms are the first of its kind in Ashanti Region to establish zero grazing units in recent times.
Each of these farms has bought 3 heifers and 1 bull from the Amrahia Dairy Farm of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to stock the unit. The animals are crosses between local West African Shorthorn and Holstein Friesian cattle.
The farmers have cultivated elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) to feed the cattle. Elephant grass grows widely in Ghana but is usually scarce during the dry season. The cultivated elephant grass will be used to feed animals in the dry season. During the rainy season, farmers will cut wild elephant grass to feed the animals. The farmers were motivated to cultivate elephant grass by knowledge acquired at a round table meeting under DAIRYCHAIN to discuss pasture establishment at Ejura Sheep Breeding Station earlier this year.
The objective of these farmers is to improve milk production. Previously, the farmers were rearing local cattle which have poor milk yield (about 1.5 litres per cow per day). The Holstein Friesian crosses which they are using in the zero grazing units are believed to produce about 10-15 litres of milk per day. This would raise their income levels as a result lead to poverty alleviation.
The DAIRYCHAIN team at University of Education, Winneba is guiding the farmers in the management of the animals. Many more farmers are preparing to establish zero grazing units in the five project Districts.