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The cow breed every farmer wants

By Alex Wachira
Image: Courtesy

 

The Fleckvieh is the second-largest dairy breed in the world and one of Europe’s oldest according to an online publication, The Organic Farmer.

According to the Daily Nation, Fleckviehs are highly productive, dual-purpose cattle bred for both their meat and milk.

They are huge in size resembling bulls in frame and structure.

They are popular for bearing traits that farmers want in dairy and beef cows and longevity of life.

Dr. Anthony Gichohi, General Manager of Fleckvieh Genetics East Africa told Daily Nation that the breed has an array of benefits compared to others, which includes high milk production on fewer feeds.

The cattle breed has faster maturity, eats less than the others, but produces more, lowering one’s production costs.

David Wanyamu, a cattle farmer told Daily Nation that “they are hardy, rarely contract diseases and produce high-quality milk and meat compared to other breeds, keeping expenses lower due to their low maintenance costs.”

Animal feeds include silage, Napier grass, maize stalks, and baby corn.

A dairy farmer adds mineral concentrates and dairy meal to enhance milk quality and quantity.

The Fleckvieh produces about 25 litres per day according to Wanyamu.

On its second lactation, the milk production shoots to about 40 litres per day according to local cattle breeders.

The Organic Farmer adds that “the breed has a consistent milk production throughout the lactation period producing milk steadily for 305 days a year without any decline making up to 10,000 litres of milk in every lactation period with good management.”

Every litre of milk from the Fleckvieh contains 4.2 % fat and 3.7 protein, micronutrients and omega 3 fats as highlighted by The Organic Farmer.  

For beef farmers, Farm biz Africa states that the Fleckvieh gains more body mass faster. Within six months a calf can weigh 300 kilograms with an average daily consumption of 40 kilograms feed.

Fleckvieh bulls are fast-growing and gain muscle at a rate of 1.5 kilograms per day for the first 200 days when cross-bred with other breeds

Mature cows weight can be 700 to 800 Kilograms according to Wikipedia.

Fleckvieh semen costs between Kenya shillings 800 to 4000 depending on the bull or sire it is obtained from.

There are not many purely bred Fleckvieh in Kenya thus a farmer interested in the breed is advised to crossbreed Fleckvieh with their dairy cows, says livestockkenya.com

This is the cheapest and easiest way to reduce the cost of buying pure Fleckvieh breed for small-scale farmers.

It is adaptive to many areas in the country with cool and hot climates being prone to diseases like mastitis, udder disease, tsetse fly and ticks bites due to its thick skin.

The Organic farmer notes that Fleckvieh cow milk has lower numbers of somatic cells compared to other dairy breeds, thus less prone to mastitis.

 Less somatic cells also mean the milk lasts longer without refrigeration.

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