News and knowhow for farmers

Technology offers cheaper dairy cows

calves Photo by

Calves at a pen. Farmers can use indigenous cows as surrogate mothers for dairy calves. Photo by

Farmers, who cannot afford to purchase high milk yielding exotic cows, can use their indigenous breeds in carrying and giving birth to their desired dairy animals.

Through the implantation of an embryo resulting from a superior sperm and ovum, the indigenous cow becomes the surrogate mother that carries the ‘baby’ to delivery.

The In vitro fertilisation embryo transfer technology also allows for one exotic cow to give more than 12 calves in a year.

The egg from the specific superior breed is fertilised and implanted in surrogate mother, International Livestock Research Institute Researcher Okeyo Mwai said in a video published int he organisation’s website.

The calf will exhibit the characteristics of the biological parents, not the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother does not contribute to the genetic make-up of the embryo.

Female hormones responsible for the menstrual cycle are used to induce the release of up to 30 ova or more after two weeks.

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Commercially, the eggs are fertilised to give rise to give rise to hundreds of embryos and calves from one cow within one year. The embryos can be frozen waiting for selling or transportation.

While the cost of a ready for service Friesian, arshire, jersey or Guernsey can cost more than Sh200,000, the technology allows for farmers to get the calve at a price not exceeding Sh50,000.

Some farmers prefer superior breeds, which they import from South Africa at a cost of more than Sh250,000. But in 2016, about 140 farmers lost more than Sh10 million to cartels who pretended to be importers of the cows.

Indicus East Africa is one of the companies in Eldoret that offering this technology to farmers.

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