St Thomas dairy farmers learn from international experts
In its ongoing efforts to assist with the development of the local dairy industry, animal feed manufacturer and distributor Nutramix recently conducted a seminar for dairy farmers in St Thomas.
The seminar saw presentations and demonstrations by two animal nutritionists from the Nuscience Group in the Netherlands. Nuscience is a key partner for feed manufacturers worldwide and a global player in animal feed, nutritional concepts and feed additives in the animal nutrition industry.
The nutritionists, Sylvia van Doremaele and Teus van Os, offered valuable advice and gave farmers recommendations on the rearing and care of their animals, as well as advice about improving their facilities and farming practices.
Arvel Knight, president of the Serge Island Small Dairy Farmers Benevolent Society, which represents more than 60 dairy farmers in the parish, found the seminar beneficial.
"The session was very much beneficial to me. I learned a lot , and it also gave me some knowledge on what I can do to get more milk from my cows and to also get the animals in better condition," said Knight.
INVEST TO ENSURE MILK PRODUCTION
Sgt Damian Harry from the Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit spoke to the farmers about efforts in the fight against farm theft.
Van Doremaele said the objective of the session was to help the farmers invest in their calves to ensure increased milk production.
"We have been partnering with Nutramix for several years, and we've been working to improve the dairy sector in Jamaica. Nutramix is dedicated to grow, the dairy business, and we believe that every farmer deserves some attention to improve their business," she said.
"Investing in your calves with a good calf starter and calf milk replacer will help the animals grow up as good healthy dairy cows that can be inseminated at an earlier age than they're doing now. And then, together with the Nutravit minerals and the new milk booster that they have been producing, you will see an increase in milk production on the farms. That will help to grow the dairy sector."
Van Doremaele was pleased with the feedback and response from the farmers.
"The interaction was good. There were a lot of good questions, and the farmers understand the technology behind milk production and how they can improve their businesses. We are trying to get the farmers to see that they must invest in their dairy cows and cattle to improve their business," she said.
...Farmers need information, says Thomas
Winston Thomas, technical sales manager at Newport Mills , said the recent visit by animal nutritionists from the Nuscience Group in the Netherlands was a routine one.
"They develop our premixes and our nutritional programme for the dairy industry in Jamaica.
"As such, they have to visit us from time to time to see how well the farmers are adapting and what they're doing," he said.
At a Nutramix seminar, nutritionists Sylvia van Doremaele and Teus van Os shared advice with farmers from St Thomas .
"The small farmers here in St Thomas need this information, and they appreciate it being brought directly to them. We also have a special product, which is the Kalvolac milk replacer, that we're introducing to them, which will help to grow their calves faster and help them to save money from their operation," said Thomas.
"It is a good product, and when you mix it , the cost per litre of feeding it to the calf is half the cost of feeding them with whole milk. So, you're substituting the whole milk with a better product while paying less for it. So, it's really savings for the farmers."
The seminars continue to take place as a part of the Drink Real Milk campaign. Similar sessions will be held across the island to benefit other small farmers.