The Tumbukiza method of growing Napier grass has been gaining popularity among dairy farmers in Kenya as it offers a simple and effective way to increase milk production and profitability. In this article, we will delve deeper into the method and highlight its key benefits and steps.

Napier grass is a popular fodder crop in Kenya, commonly used as feed for dairy cows. However, traditional methods of planting Napier grass often result in low yields and poor quality feed. The Tumbukiza method, on the other hand, has proven to be a better alternative, resulting in higher yields of better quality feed.

So, what exactly is the Tumbukiza method of growing Napier grass? Tumbukiza is a Swahili word that means “to plant in a pit”. As the name suggests, this method involves digging pits in which to plant the Napier grass. The pits are filled with a mixture of topsoil and manure, which provides the plants with the nutrients they need to grow. This method is especially effective in low to medium altitude areas of Kenya.

Production Areas

The Tumbukiza method of growing Napier grass is ideally suited for low to medium altitude areas of Kenya. This is because Napier grass thrives in warm climates with adequate rainfall, and low to medium altitude areas of Kenya generally have such climatic conditions. Additionally, these areas have a high demand for dairy products, making them the perfect locations for dairy farming. By utilizing the Tumbukiza method to grow Napier grass, farmers in these areas can increase their milk production and profitability, providing a much-needed boost to their businesses and local economies.

Napier Grass Varieties

There are several varieties of Napier grass that are suitable for the Tumbukiza method, including Bana, Clone 13, French Cameroon, and Pakistan Hybrid.

Sources of Napier for Planting

Farmers can obtain Napier grass cuttings for planting from research institutions, other farmers, or the Ministry of Agriculture.

Types of Tumbukiza

There are two types of Tumbukiza pits: the round pit type and the rectangular pit type.

For Round Pits

Farmers should dig pits 2 feet in diameter by 2 feet deep and space the rows of pits 2 feet apart. They should plant 5-10 cane cuttings or single root splits in each pit.

For Rectangular Pits

Farmers should dig pits 2 feet deep by 2-3 feet wide, and the length of the pit can vary depending on the available land. The pits should be 3 feet apart, and farmers should plant 5-10 cuttings or single root splits for every 3 feet length.

Planting

To plant Napier grass using the Tumbukiza method, farmers should mix one debe of topsoil with one to two debes of farmyard manure and put it into the pits. For the rectangular pit, the topsoil/manure mixture should be placed every 3 feet length. Farmers should leave about 6 inches of unfilled space at the top of each pit.

Management

Farmers should hand weed if there are any weeds and use the spaces between the pits to grow other crops, especially sweet potatoes. They should also apply farmyard manure or slurry after every 4 to 6 harvests.

Harvesting

Farmers should not graze animals directly on the Napier grass and should cut it when it is 2 to 3 feet tall.

Feeding

Farmers should feed 70 kg or 7 headloads of fresh unchopped Napier grass to a dairy cow per day. One acre of Tumbukiza Napier grass can provide enough feed for 2 to 3 dairy cows for one year.

Why Tumbukiza is Better

The Tumbukiza method of growing Napier grass offers several benefits for dairy farmers, including:

  • Better growth in the dry season
  • Feed available even during the dry season
  • More milk
  • Increased profitability from milk sales

Overall, the Tumbukiza method of growing Napier grass is a simple and effective way for dairy farmers in Kenya to increase their milk production and profitability. By following the steps outlined above, farmers can ensure that they are using the best practices for planting, managing, harvesting, and feeding their cows.

You can read the original Article Source: Tumbukiza kenya (reforestation.me). All the best.

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  • Graduate Farmer

    Empowering Ambitions, Cultivating Success: Graduate Farmer is dedicated to inspiring and equipping young men and women with practical solutions to kickstart and thrive in profitable agribusiness ventures across Kenya.

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Comments (4)

  • Kevin Andrew McLean August 8, 2023 Reply

    Can you give the contact information for sellers of napier grass?

    • Joseph Boit September 4, 2023 Reply

      Hello. For Napier check with KALRO +254 722 206986

  • Dennis July 5, 2024 Reply

    You just plagiarized a whole article from @KARLO for a graduate farmer you ought to have done better or yet acknowledge the original writer

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