This season’s exceptionally heavy rainfall in most areas of
Kenya has affected all types of agriculture including fodder for
rainfall is generally beneficial for livestock which will thrive
on good pasture. Crop growers who planted early are expecting
above average yields, but those who waited for the commencement
of the rainy season before planting have suffered and, in some
cases, have completely missed this year’s season.
Those that planted
late have also lost the opportunity for the potential of a
second season planted in the short rains.
Producers of hay
have plenty of grass that is at the correct stage of maturity
for baling but face a problem with the continued unpredictable
rain for cutting.
This situation has
resulted in FMD, the Massey Ferguson distributor in East Africa
receiving more enquiries about mower conditioners from the
farmers who are improving their income by meeting the
ever-accelerating demand for hay.
Some growers only
cut the crop, but this is not the best way of making quality hay
especially when weather is an issue.
Users of mower
conditioners have the advantage of reduced infield drying time
to enabling baling one to two days after cutting, with an
additional advantage of the hay having better nutritional value.
When grass is cut
for hay the moisture content of the grass has to be lowered
below 40 per cent before baling and for safe storage of
nutritious and livestock palatable hay bales will drop in
moisture through the bailing process down to 14 to 18 per cent
during the mechanical procedure. The drying action provided by
conditioning when cutting removes moisture rapidly through
crushing and crimping the stems to give water loss before the
hay is sun dried in the field.
Shortening the time
between cutting and baling provides the most efficient and safe
way for hay production.
If hay is rained on
and bailed, it can result in not being safe for fodder due to
fungal complexities and in extreme circumstances can result in
fire whilst being stored !
As cattle fodder for
the dairy industry, hay accounts for a high percentage of the
total expense of milk production especially in dry weather when
dairy farmers lack grass !
The growing need for
quality hay to satisfy the demand for milk from Kenya’s
expanding population, requires the hay industry to adopt
efficient methods like mower conditioners for this important
As with any
agricultural process the use of modern and appropriate equipment
contributes significantly to achieving the desired result.
The latest Massey
Ferguson balers which use centerline technology to reduce crop
losses and work at higher speeds with reduced mechanical
handling giving farmers greater productivity are now
complimented with mower conditioners to further production
feature of the Massey Ferguson baler is the design of the
knotters which allows for the use of the organic sisal which is
more readily available in the local market and is considerably
more environmentally friendly than the imported synthetic baler