Analysis of farmers’ adoption of zero grazing and knowledge of cattle reproductive parameters in western Kenya

Besides soil replenishment through manure application , the zero grazing production system also contributes towards smallholders' standards of living and poverty reduction. Its benefits are many and substantial; in western Kenya, the livestock farmers have adopted it. However, factors influencing its adoption are not known. It is also not certain whether the livestock farmers who practice zero grazing are knowledgeable of the cattle reproductive parameters or not which is key to zero grazing. Inadequate knowledge of the cattle reproductive parameters limits the productivity and profitability of the zero grazing dairy production system. This study determined factors influencing the adoption of zero grazing dairy production system, farmers’ knowledge of the cattle reproductive parameters and milk production. It also assessed farmers’ knowledge on the cattle reproductive parameters. A cross-sectional study design was used in which a random number of 520 livestock farmers, stratified by type of dairy production system (farmers who practice zero grazing and farmers who do not) were used. The data was collected using a pre-tested structured questionnaire that contained information on personal details of the household head, dairy cattle breeds, animal composition, cattle animal reproductive parameters, animal production systems and milk production records. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics, logistic regression, two-sample t test and ordinary least squares models (OLS). The results obtained by the logistic regression model revealed that adoption of zero grazing was influenced by other factors besides male household heads, herdsize, ownship of one or more means of transport and number of small ruminants. Factors such as age of the household head, years spent in school by the household head, number of school going children, number of exotic cattle, being above the poverty line of Ksh 2,500, dependency ratio and number of cross breed cattle had influence on adoption of zero grazing. The twosample t- test revealed that farmers who practice zero grazing had significantly higher knowledge of cattle reproductive parameters than the farmers who do not. The OLS regression predicted practicing zero grazing and number of exotic cattle to have been the important factors in influencing farmers’ knowledge of the reproductive parameters. The OLS showed farmers’ knowledge of the cattle reproductive parameters, number of exotic cattle, number of cross breed cattle, milk production as most important reason for keeping cattle, being above poverty line of Ksh 2,500 and practicing zero grazing as important factors in influencing milk production. It was concluded that the analysis on socioeconomic factors was useful in identifying major factors that influence adoption of zero grazing, farmers’ knowledge on the cattle reproductive parameters and milk production. Therefore, policy measures, which are directed towards promoting ownership of improved breeds of cattle, poverty line of more Ksh 2,500 and education of farmers will be of considerable importance in promoting zero grazing adoption. Efforts directed towards training of farmers on the reproductive parameters and encouraging farmer to farmer interaction are of importance as these are some of the channels for information dissemination and circulation of technologies among farmers.
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Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Theses and Dissertations
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Open Access
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Dr. Francis K. Njonge (JKUAT), Dr. Hippolyte Affognon (ICIPE), Dr. Daisy Salifu (ICIPE)
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