HomeLivestock FeedsMaking money with Boma Rhodes hay

Making money with Boma Rhodes hay

The persistent shortage of feeding materials for livestock especially during the dry season opens a sound opportunity for making money selling Boma Rhodes grass hay. The high productivity and quality per unit area of boma rhodes make it the grass of choice for both the large and small-scale farmers.

In short Rhodes grass is the most important pasture grass in Kenya due to its ease in establishment and management. In Kenya there are major suppliers of rhodes grass hay which they also export to other countries.

 

Other than storing the grass for use during the dry season, you can make hay for sale irrespective of whether you have animals or not. The size of the farm may not be important although the bigger the farm the higher the profit arising from economies of scale. One can start with half acre if the land is too limiting. There are plenty of idle lands lying around whose absentee farmers do not know what to do with. Some of the reasons arise out of the demands by other crop productions which always require that they are around most of the time to monitor their progress and take action where appropriate.

Boma rhodes production and hay making for sales can easily be practiced by such farmers because the  methods of pasture establishment and propagation demand less capital. First you need to prepare a good seedbed by ploughing and harrowing twice for virgin lands. On a previously cropped land you will need to plough and harrow just once before the beginning of the long rains.

Sowing should be done very early, usually in April, so that weeds do not overtake the germinating seeds. Others prefer to sow during the short rains to take care of weeds. Drilling is preferred because it ensures that the seeds are buried and distributed uniformly and others are not left on the surface to dry as in broadcasting.  The seed is first pelleted for them to flow readily during drilling, which is done at a rate of 0.5-1 kg/ha in rows 30 – 40 cm apart. The seed is best sown on the surface not deeper than 2 cm followed by rolling. For broadcasting, the seed is best mixed with sawdust or sand. Seeds germinate in 1-7 days and seedlings develop rapidly.

Apply fertilizer or manure during planting to promote strong root development. Recommended fertilizer are SSP at 2-4 bags/ha or SSP or DAP at 1-2 bags/ha. If manure, broadcast at 10 ton/ha and harrow before planting.
Returns depend on how effectively you manage the pasture stand. The most important is weed control. Of course grazing should not be allowed as this will deplete the crop. While the numerous fungi and nematodes have been isolated from the grass, they rarely have any economic impact. Control the weeds during the first year by hand weeding or by use of herbicides.  In subsequent years, keep fields clean by slashing, hand pulling or mowing of weeds.

During the establishment year soil nitrogen is adequate for grass productivity. Additional nutrients in the form of inorganic fertilizer or farmyard manure are required in subsequent seasons. Topdress grass with 5-7 bags CAN or ASN per ha per year in 3 splits during the rain season or 5-10 tons of farmyard manure. Topdress with 2 bags SSP or 1 bag of TSP per ha per year in addition to the nitrogen fertilizers after the establishment year in areas with phosphate deficiencies.  Nitrogen fertilizer can be applied one or two months before the dry season in order to increase yields during the dry season.

DM yields generally range from about (2-) 10-25 t/ha, depending on soil fertility , environmental conditions, and cutting frequency.  Yields in the second year may be double those of the establishment year, but this also depends on management and environmental conditions.  While yields of 35-60 t/ha DM are reported, these are not the norm.

Cost of establishment

 

Item Cost (Ksh)
Land preparation
Ploughing 10,000
Harrowing 10,000
Sowing 5,000
Seeds @ Kshs. 1,000 per Kg 1,000
Fertilizer application
2 bags DAP @ Kshs. 3,000 per bag 6,000
5 bags CAN @ Kshs 2,700 per bag 13,500
Weeding
Herbicides 3,000
Labor 3,000
Harvesting labor charges 3,000
Total cost 54,500
Yields
400 bales per hectare per harvest
Harvest 3 times a year 1,200 bales
Sales @ Kshs 200 per bale 240,000
Net income 185,500

As you can see, profit in the first year is Kshs. 185,500. This profit can significantly increase the following year because there will be no cost on crop establishment and yields may double. Maintenance and harvesting will be the recurring cost in the second and third year. After the third year yields diminish and it is better to remove the crop.


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sunday ogedegbe
-1 # sunday ogedegbe 2012-01-27 23:13
very good.am a professional in the field and grow pasture grasses and legumes for livestock
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james
0 # james 2012-02-06 15:23
Hello,
We are looking for someone to cut grass for hay on our 70 acres of land in kiserian. Kindly get in touch.
rgds
James
0723436158
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Robert Njuguna
0 # Robert Njuguna 2013-04-25 10:20
Hello

I am formulating a sustainable hay harvesting project in Bisil Kajiado requiring manual donkey balers.

The project is 400 acres of land and involves the creation of a sustainable hay bank. We are thinking along the lines of manual donkey balers and hand held grass cutters to avoid tree felling. We also hope this could be a local youth income generating venture.

Any assistance is highly appreciated.

Best regards,

Robert Njuguna

Netfarmz Africa
farming the future
0727513721
Nairobi
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sunday ogedegbe
+1 # sunday ogedegbe 2012-01-27 23:14
very good
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joyce warutumo
-1 # joyce warutumo 2012-03-05 15:39
does hay grow in muhotetu in nyandrua district and how can one get assistanced to grow
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admin
+1 # admin 2012-03-09 22:31
Quote:
does hay grow in muhotetu in nyandrua district and how can one get assistanced to grow
I am sure you meant whether grasses that make hay can grow in Nyandarua District. And yes they can do very well there.
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Fredrick
-1 # Fredrick 2012-03-29 17:10
i am looking for someone to show me how to plant the grass
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Ngeno
+1 # Ngeno 2012-08-02 15:47
i have one ha to grow Boma rhodes.will it be enough to feed my five cow?
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admin
0 # admin 2012-08-02 19:06
Mr. Ngeno, one ha of boma rhodes is not enough for 5 cows in a year. One hectare is enough for utmost 2 cows and their calves.
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Dave Mwangi
0 # Dave Mwangi 2012-09-19 17:44
Good article and practical.
I need seeds asap. Where do I go?

DM
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jane
+1 # jane 2012-10-26 14:59
I have grown Rhodes grass in Laikipia East on 400 acres.I am looking for market.I purchased seed Boma Rhodes form EA seed Kijabe Street.

Any ideas even to export?
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Andrew
0 # Andrew 2012-10-26 22:27
Hi Jane

I'm a farmer based in Meru and interested in getting Rhodes boma.kindly get in touch.what your asking price ?
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Jay
0 # Jay 2013-10-19 08:41
#hi jane...do you still have the bhoma rhodes? Am interested.
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Runo
0 # Runo 2013-11-08 09:41
Hi,
We are involved in baling and selling of hay. Currently we are working with some of farms in Laikipia. Our company email is .
Kindly get back to me asap. We can buy all your produce.
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john maina
+1 # john maina 2012-11-21 15:49
Whuch is the best market place? am planning to grow them at Nyahururu in Nyandarua district
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john maina
0 # john maina 2012-11-21 15:51
How many Kgs of seeds do i need per hectare of land?
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admin
+1 # admin 2012-11-21 17:10
0.5 to 1 kg per hectare
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shahbaz
0 # shahbaz 2012-12-19 10:48
i need agriculture job i have 4-5 years exp in form menagement.
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shahbaz
0 # shahbaz 2012-12-19 10:50
i need agriculture job i have 4-5 years exp in form menagement. my # is +923332748442
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Lester
0 # Lester 2013-01-27 19:33
Dear Xtalia Farms
You talk about controlling weeds in Rhodes grass with a herbicide. What herbicide would that be, how and when do you use this herbicide?
Can Katambora Rhodes Grass do just as well as the Boma variety as written in your article?
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hom
0 # hom 2013-02-13 19:09
What is the average weight of one bale? I am a dairy farmer and buying a bale of hay at 200/= is expensive considering the price of milk at the farm gate is sh. 30/=

remember most cows in Kenya and the rest of Africa though exotic are poor converters of feed to milk. I believe the fair price for a bale of hay is Sh.100?=
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Nyaga S.
-1 # Nyaga S. 2013-02-23 02:51
I have a farm and would like to start hay production. At the moment most of the land is virgin, but would like to start with 10 acres. Am looking for a person who could do it for me,ofcourse for a fee. Any one out there?
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Njinjima
0 # Njinjima 2013-02-26 09:42
Quoting Nyaga S.:
I have a farm and would like to start hay production. At the moment most of the land is virgin, but would like to start with 10 acres. Am looking for a person who could do it for me,ofcourse for a fee. Any one out there?

Where is your farm located. Could be interested helping you. Are you leasing the other part of the land or is it for your own economical interests.
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Jeremy Cordingley
0 # Jeremy Cordingley 2013-04-04 21:55
We can assist you in soil testing the land and developing fertilizer program for your first planting. We offer crop advisory services
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Antonio Innocent Mudong,i
0 # Antonio Innocent Mudong,i 2013-10-08 11:42
Hi
I am a JKUAT 3rd year student taking Bsc Agribusiness Economics and Food I industrial Mngt.
I am now working with EPZ at Athi-River and setting up the same project(hay production) as an Agribusiness project.
I have set several before at Kitale and Busia. contact me on .
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antonio innocent
0 # antonio innocent 2013-11-08 11:07
contact me on 0723777508 or . I am an expert now producing for Expert Processing Zones Authority.
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Hellen Nzwii
-1 # Hellen Nzwii 2013-04-10 10:58
Hi, I have plenty of grass in my farm I which can be turned into hay. I can not tell the type of grass because this was formely a ranch. Malili ranch-Makueni County. can I get someone to buy this organic grass. Its about 5 acres. I am also interested in hay farming.
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njogo
0 # njogo 2013-04-17 09:38
Am a grass(hay) student.Like what you do.
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Chris Kanyotu
0 # Chris Kanyotu 2013-08-26 08:00
Hi all, my name is Chris Ngata, I run a hay harvesting and marketing business in central Kenya. I would like to work with all you hay growers in the area, not restricted to Central, to make you realise your hays full potential. Kindly get in touch, 0705 287929,
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Chris Kanyotu
0 # Chris Kanyotu 2013-08-26 08:00
Hi all, my name is Chris Ngata, I run a hay harvesting and marketing business in central Kenya. I would like to work with all you hay growers in the area, not restricted to Central, to make you realise your hays full potential. Kindly get in touch, 0705 287929,
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote
 
 
edwardo
0 # edwardo 2013-08-26 11:17
i have 300acres of wheat and barley straws for hay.advice me on where to sell to or any willing buyers.
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edwardo
0 # edwardo 2013-08-26 11:19
contact me 0724304282 for hay supplies
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Kii
0 # Kii 2013-09-01 15:23
Hey, I have 20 acres of land near Kitengela, I also have borehole, my land has been idle for 7 years now, I'm looking to plant grass for hay, which grass would be best? I previously farmed various crops which did extremely well but very labour intensive. Can you help?

Much appreciated

Kui
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Antonio Innocent Mudong,i
0 # Antonio Innocent Mudong,i 2013-10-19 09:52
would you mind contacting me on 0723777508. i am an expert in dry land Agriculture and now working with EPZA
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Antonio Innocent Mudong,i
0 # Antonio Innocent Mudong,i 2013-10-19 09:54
"Quoting Kii:
Hey, I have 20 acres of land near Kitengela, I also have borehole, my land has been idle for 7 years now, I'm looking to plant grass for hay, which grass would be best? I previously farmed various crops which did extremely well but very labour intensive. Can you help?

Much appreciated

Kui
"
contact me on 0723777508
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Kui
0 # Kui 2013-09-01 15:27
Quoting Chris Kanyotu:
Hi all, my name is Chris Ngata, I run a hay harvesting and marketing business in central Kenya. I would like to work with all you hay growers in the area, not restricted to Central, to make you realise your hays full potential. Kindly get in touch, 0705 287929,


Hey Chris, can you help?
Hey, I have 20 acres of land near Kitengela, I also have borehole, my land has been idle for 7 years now, I'm looking to plant grass for hay, which grass would be best? I previously farmed various crops which did extremely well but very labour intensive. Can you help?

Much appreciated

Kui
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antonio innocent
0 # antonio innocent 2013-10-09 11:07
Hey Kui I am setting up the same project among many others for EPZA as an expert in that field. i am based at Kitengela as well for now. contact me on
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NDUNGU
+2 # NDUNGU 2013-11-02 01:29
hey i am in business mrketing hay and i would like a reliable supplier to partner with who can keep on supplying me with hay for my cutomers at affordable prices

please email me back
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D.Mwangi
0 # D.Mwangi 2013-11-25 14:29
hi,i would luv to partner with u NDUNGU.
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