Professors Facilitate Rwanda Workshops on Dairy Management and Feed TechnologyChrisRice
Between April and June, Professors Geoffrey Dahl and Diwakar Viyas (University of Florida), as well as Dirk Maier (Iowa State University), facilitated three workshops at the University of Rwanda – Nyagatare, to equip students in the students in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production with knowledge and skills in the feed value chain on how to properly feed and manage a dairy cow.
In April, Dr. Dahl facilitated a workshop on dairy management for 50 students, focusing on best practices for cow management, animal nutrition, and record-keeping, and maximizing dairy production. He demonstrated the use of an assessment and advisory tool in dairy management. Dr. Dahl also gave a seminar to Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Board (RAB), the project’s research translation partner, on dairy management and the aforementioned tool, which expressed interest in using it for their internal extension services.
In May, Dr. Viyas hosted a workshop on balanced dairy feeds and dairy feed formulation to students, covering the physiological basics and nutrition for dairy cows, and presenting a successful feeding system in terms of understanding the factors determining nutrient requirements and delivering the needed nutrients to each cow to meet her requirements as economically as possible. For the latter, the smartphone application MOD – RAFT, currently used in Sri Lanka, is intended to balance dairy ration and help farmers improve dairy production once the project team works to customize it to the Rwandan context.
Between May 28 – June 5, Dr. Maier conducted a workshop on feed technology to 70 students, focusing on feed manufacturing, operations, conditioning, pelting and crumbling, grinding, batching, and mixing. Culminating from these three workshops, the team expects enhanced student knowledge from raw materials to final complete and processed feeds will lead to improved performance for dairy management in Rwanda moving forward.
This work is part of the LASER PULSE-funded Technology Tools for Building Resilience of Dairy Farms and Improving Dairy Production in Rwanda project, a partnership among the University of Rwanda, University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Board, Iowa State University, and the University of Florida. It aims for a paradigm shift in Rwanda from subsistence farmers to more modern business-oriented dairy with high milk production. Specifically, the project explores solutions to two main challenges: feeding and reproduction management for dairy.