Sorghum production practices in an integrated crop-livestock production system in Makueni county, eastern Kenya

Dorcas, K and Koech, O K and Kinama, J M and Chemining’wa, G N and Ojulong, H F (2019) Sorghum production practices in an integrated crop-livestock production system in Makueni county, eastern Kenya. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems, 22 (1). pp. 13-23. ISSN 1870-0462

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Productivity of sorghum has been below potential in arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, due to poor agronomic practices and soil nutrient deficiency. Sorghum crop is fairly drought tolerant, resistant to waterlogging, and yields are reasonably better in infertile soils compared to other crops. Proper agronomic practices would significantly increase yields as well as nutrient content in grains and crop residues used as livestock feed. The objective of this study was to investigate the existing sorghum production practices and sorghum use as food and feed sources. A survey involving 90 farmers from sorghum producing areas in Makueni County was conducted. The survey focused on the varieties and fertilizers used, trends in yields, constraints to sorghum production and the present strategies used for sorghum as animal feed. Most farmers (84.4%) used uncertified seeds from own saved sources, and the commonly grown variety was Seredo (44.5%) due to resistance to bird damage. The majority (32.1%) of farmers recorded very low yield of sorghum grain, from151 to 250 kg ha-1. Most farmers (68.9%) used farmyard manure in sorghum production, while 30.9% of the farmers did not use any fertilizer. All farmers indicated that their greatest challenge in sorghum production was inadequate rainfall. Bird damage to the crop was a chronic problem to most (73.3%) farmers. The majority (58.9%) of farmers conserved sorghum residue for feed as hay. The findings show the need to provide technical information and guidance on the production practices, such as choosing best-yielding seed varieties, proper methods of pest and disease control and proper use and conservation of sorghum residue as animal feed.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dry land crops; Multipurpose sorghum; Sorghum varieties; Sorghum ratooning
Subjects: Others > Livestock
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Kenya
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 08:10
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2019 08:10
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: We acknowledge RUFORUM for supporting this research activity at ICRISAT Kiboko under the RUFORUM Field Attachment Program Award (FAPA). We also acknowledge the support of ICRISAT for allowing the use of their research information, materials and facilities at the Kiboko Field Station. Lastly, we thank Mr. Patrick Sheunda and Mr. Kibuka of ICRISAT Kiboko Station for their continued support and guidance during the study period.
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