Malpractices by feed manufacturers could be the cause of the sub-standard feeds in the market today according to an expert from the Dairy Research Institute Naivasha which is under Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KARLO). David Mbugua says that though the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has set out standards that are supposed to be followed by the manufacturers, the issue of following up whether they are following the recommendations may not be being observed to the letter. Complains from farmers have increased recently on the ineffectiveness of some of the feeds in the market with some farmers preferring to formulate their feeds in the farm. Another reason the expert cites that could lead to low quality feeds in the market is the use of raw materials that haven’t passed the quality test in feed formulation. “The raw materials could be deficient in either energy, protein or minerals required in the formulation of the feeds and feeds produced from this will be of poor quality,” says Mbugua. He advises farmers that the best proof of quality in foods is in the response the animals will give either in milk production, egg production etc.
Mbugua says farmers could also reduce the cost of production by formulating their feeds. However, he points out that this can only be possible if the right raw materials are used and the right procedure is followed. “We train farmers on how to do ration formulation to reduce the costs of their animal feeding. It is practical and possible to reduce costs by 25% and increase on revenues,” says Mbugua. He cautions farmers doing their feed formulation to be keen on the quality of the concentrates they buy at any given time. The best way to be sure of the composition and quality of the raw materials he advises is taking them to a laboratory. This should be done often as raw materials vary in quality depending on where they are coming from.
“Farmers formulating feeds should try and embrace the concept of total mixed rations at farm level. The final product should meet the protein and energy levels require by animals,” says Mbugua.