By Rufas Chege
Beef farming in Kenya is an age-old practice that was originally left for pastoralists.
It involves breeding & raising cattle for meat. This is different from dairy farming where the cattle are reared for milk.
The big guns in the exportation of meat worldwide are Argentina, New Zealand, and Australia. European countries, as well as the US, do have a sizable beef creation amount to feed their local demand.
Beef cattle farming in Kenya is done by pastoral communities and subsistence farmers. The cattle count in Kenya is more than million. The large-scale beef farmers are found mainly in Rift Valley, Nyanza, and Eastern Kenya.
The distribution is dependent on rainfall patterns. They rear animals for commercial purposes as well as subsistence. Small scale beef farming in Kenya is however done in almost all parts of the country mainly for subsistence purposes as well as for dairy.
Types of beef cattle in Kenya
There are two main variants of beef cattle in the country. The first and most popular are the indigenous breeds like the Zebu and Boran.
The other types are exotic beef breeds. These include the Simmental, Hereford, Angus, and Charolais.The Boran is known as one of the best cows for survival in Kenya. It works well in arid areas and can translate roughage from the natural grasses into quality beef, all the while remaining resistant to diseases brought about by ticks.
Many breeders in the country love this particular breed because calving is easier and it has the ability to produce a calf every year maintaining the 365 days calving interval. Armed with the right feeding and animal care, the Boran cross-bred with one of the exotic breeds produce better weights of 300 kg.