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40 farmers participate in training programme

40 farmers participate in training programme

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Close to 40 livestock farmers, attending the Farmers Field School for small ruminant farmers, were involved in a training program on the making of silage for sheep and goats, on Wednesday, 9 April 2014.{{more}}

The training was done on Oswald Byam’s farm at Fairbaine Pastures where visiting FAO consultant Jerry Thomas, out of Barbados, demonstrated one of the methods used as a food security measure for livestock. Thomas outlined the advantages of “making hay while the sun shines,” advocating that for livestock farmers, the making of silage was an appropriate use of the adage, as they engaged in activities to preserve and store some of the excess grass, legumes and other forage material used in the diet of the animals that are now in abundant supply.

Silage is livestock feed made from preserved pasture grass and or other fodder crops that is stored and later used for feeding of animals when the pasture becomes unavailable, especially during the dry season. It is made by using chopped portions of the wilted grass and other fodder crops, mixed alternately with molasses or any appropriate material, and is left to ferment under air-tight conditions. In this way the fodder breaks down while the nutritive values remain intact. This is later fed to the animals.

The farmers were able to make at least five containers, which were taken back to their respective classrooms to be monitored over the next 21 days.

According to the chief veterinary officer Dr Kathian Hackshaw, the making of silage is just one of the means being introduced here to address the rising costs in livestock production and encourage more efficient use of the fodder materials that exist here in abundance. She said that the training session was one of the major activities of the Farmers Field School, an FAO sponsored initiative, in which farmers are brought together to share, learn and improve their knowledge, skills and competencies, which are then translated to their operations on farm. Dr Hackshaw indicated that there will be two more training activities before the program comes to an end in June of this year.

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