Handy bales save livestock keepers money
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|Manual box baling of maize stover and other dry forages to facilitate transport, storage and feed budgeting|
Working with farmers in Tanzania, researchers have developed a simple way of making bales by hand. Since transporting feed is a major cost for poor producers, the technique could have a major impact on their livelihoods – reducing transport costs by up to 60% in some cases. Using a bottomless box as a frame, and trampling the contents to compact it, farmers can quickly create bales from a wide range of crop residues, including maize and hay stover and bean stems. Not only can a lot more be packed onto a single pickup truck – reducing costs – it’s also much easier for livestock owners to store feed when it’s packaged in bales.
Project Ref: LPP05:
Relevant Research Projects:
Using PRA with smallholder-farmers in Northern Tanzania, in 1996-98, Project R6619 developed a simple method (manual box baling) of packaging maize stover to increase the payload when transporting the fibrous crop residue (over 10-20 km) from fields on the plains to homesteads on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Stover (although of low feed value) is a major dry-season forage for dairy cattle and goats in Kilimanjaro and other regions of Tanzania, and also elsewhere in Africa.
Bales (ca.12 kg weight) were made by trampling stover into wooden frames (bottom-less boxes, 75 cm long, 50 cm wide, 45 cm high) placed on the ground. Bales were tied with sisal twine inserted in the frames, before the stover.
Using one man per bale, the time taken to make each bale was 17 minutes. Allowing for charges of hiring 1.0 tonne pickup vehicles and labour, the cost of transporting baled stover was 33% less than the conventional method involving transporting loose maize stover in pickups. If the more nutritious fractions (leaves, leaf husk and sheath) were manually stripped from the stover and baled, and stems left in the field, the cost of transporting baled strippings (per kg of metabolisable energy) was 60% less than the conventional method of carrying loose stover.
Additional benefits from baling, perceived by farmers, were reduced losses of the more nutritious (more digestible) leaf, husk and sheath fractions, both in transport and in store, increased storage capacity (up to 50%) in the homestead, and more accurate feed budgeting (i.e. the number of bales were known, labourers and children could be told more explicitly how much stover to feed).
Farmers also found that roadside hay and bean haulms were cheaper to transport if box baled.
R6619 was principally concerned with increasing profitable milk production from cattle and goats through more efficient forage use, particularly during the dry-season periods of forage shortages.
The technology is also applicable to smallholder farmers producing meat and to service providers involved with the transport and trade of dry forages, and renting out draught animals.
Box baling could apply in any production system involving use of dry, bulky forages.
*Box baling would also be applicable for resource-poor smallholders in these farming systems
Manual box baling has practical application whenever resource-poor people transport, store and stall-feed bulky dry forages (grass and legume hays, fibrous crop residues such as cereal stovers of maize, sorghum, millet, cereal straws of rice, teff, wheat, barley, oats, and haulms of beans).
In East Africa and Southern Africa, suggested clustering would be R6619, R5188, R7955 and R7351 (fibrous crop residues are deficient in available nutrients, particularly protein; R7351 output involves a source of low-cost protein supplement, hence its inclusion in this cluster).
In South Asia (especially Bangladesh) suggested clustering would be R6619, R6610.
Manual box baling (R6619) is relevant for ‘Community based goat production in Kenya’ (R7634) and also to ‘Wambui’ (R7425).
Manual box baling (R6619) is also likely to be relevant for the cluster ‘Promotion of crop residues for fodder’ (R8339, R7346, R8296) in India. Box baling is also likely to be relevant to `Smallholder dairying toolbox’ (ZC0261), `Adoption of planted forages for smallholder dairying in Kenya’ (R6153, R5732), ‘Strategies for the allocation to seasonally varying feed resources’ (R5690), ‘Small stock toolbox (ZC0243) and ‘Tropical forages CD rom’ (A Frost, M Peters, S Peters).
How the outputs were validated:
Based on previous research in Kenya by Onim et al (1992) (Annex 2, Reference 16), the manual box baling technology was developed and validated in 1997, using PRA directly with the beneficiaries who are Moderate Poor, smallholder maize-coffee-dairy farmers on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The validation involved researcher-managed male farmers (Moderate Poor) and their hired male labourers (Extreme Vulnerable Poor), freshly harvested maize stover and stripped stover (leaves, husk and sheath), and commercially-hired pickups (see Massawe, 1999, Annex 1, Reference 6). The benefits of manual box baling were clear – large reductions (33-60%) in the cost of transporting stover, reduction in losses of the more nutritious fractions (leaf, husk and sheath), increased storage capacity (50%) at the homesteads, and easier and more accurate feed budgeting.
Following the initial development and validation of manual box baling by men, women became interested in the technology and they collaborated in the validation by undertaking the stripping of stover (removal of leaf, husk and sheath), leaving the men to bale the strippings.
The manual box baling technology was promoted by preparing an extension leaflet and posters ‘Cut costs of feeding stover’ (Annex 1, References 7 & 8) which were distributed to various stakeholders including institutions, farmer groups, CBOs, churches and individuals.
Similar results were obtained when researchers of Sokoine University of Agriculture (acting as an intermediary organisation and aiming to improve livelihoods of small-scale dairy farmers through an integrated livestock production system approach) further validated manual box baling during 2001-2004, using PRA at farm level, with 29 Moderate Poor farmers and Women Headed Households in Njombe and Makambaku, Iringa, Southern Highlands of Tanzania (see Annex 2, Reference 15). Separate Extension leaflets were prepared by both Sokoine University of Agriculture and the Ministry of Livestock Development in Tanzania (Swahili – JAMHURI YA MUUNGANO WA TANZANIA WIZARA YA MAENDELEO YA MIFUGO. Utengenezaji wa Hei kwa kutamia Kasha la Mbao) and distributed to extensionists and farmers.
Soil Conversation and Agroforestry Programmes (SCAPA) in Arusha also promoted the manual box baling technology to its target farmers.
Smallholder farmers (Moderate Poor) growing rice and producing milk in three districts near Mymensingh, in Bangladesh, also validated manual box baling of legume hay and straw (R6610). The technology was also demonstrated to Extreme Vulnerable Poor (landless women participating in Action Research of Project R8109).
The validity of the box baling technology was confirmed by researchers and extensionists at scientific meetings and in peer reviewed project publications (Annex 1, References 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10).
Where the Outputs were Validated:
Who are the Users?
Where the outputs have been used:
Scale of Current Use:
Policy and Institutional Structures, and Key Components for Success:
Lessons Learned and Uptake Pathways
Promotion of Outputs:
Potential Barriers Preventing Adoption of Outputs:
How to Overcome Barriers to Adoption of Outputs:
Impacts On Poverty
Poverty Impact Studies:
No impact studies on box baling per se have taken place. However, three studies (Tanzania, Kenya, Bangladesh) have involved box baling as one of the technologies being assessed.
How the Poor have Benefited (including gender and other poverty groups):
In Tanzania, the survey in Njombe district (TARP ll SUA Project 2005, Annex 2, Reference 18), the “basket of technologies” (improved dry season feeding using baled hay and crop residues) increased milk production from 7.5 to 12 litres of milk per cow per day. Incomes of 92% of farmers increased from 276000 to 459000 Tanzanian Shillings per year (224 to 373 US$). Using conserved forages during the dry season meant that less time was spent collecting feed for cattle; there was an average saving of 4 hours per day over almost 5 months. As well as increasing incomes, farmers concluded that the project had positively improved other aspects of livelihoods (food, inputs, implements, nutrition, health, skills development and social credibility)
In Kenya, FARM Africa’s goat improvement model (R7634) resulted in very positive impacts on the participants involved (improvements in household incomes to pay bills from sale of dairy goats, better nutrition from drinking goat milk, improved crop production from use of goat manure, acquired knowledge and leadership skills)
In Bangladesh (R6610) the four studies/assessments showed human capital to increase. Benefits spread among smallholder landed farmers (75 received intensive training over 18 months; 50 continue to use the technologies; about 1200 farmers attended field days), women headed households and landless cattle keeping households. Other major beneficiaries were extension workers (more than 1000) and others that received training. Women, particularly (being responsible for managing livestock at the homesteads), gained social capital due to less underemployment, greater confidence and greater involvement in income earning activities. Natural and physical capitals were enhanced due to soil and cow fertility improvements. Contributions to financial capital increased income from both cattle and rice production for those adopting the technologies. The box baling technology facilitated storage and preservation for year-round feeding of high quality forages and feed budgeting for optimum utilisation. Benefits have mostly accrued to the moderate poor and women headed households. (For further details, see R6610).
Direct and Indirect Environmental Benefits:
Adverse Environmental Impacts:
Coping with the Effects of Climate Change, or Risk from Natural Disasters:
R6619: Husbandry strategies for improving the sustainable utilisation of forages to increase profitable milk production from cows and goats on smallholder farms in Tanzania
Final Technical Report on a Research Project Funded by the Department for International Development’s Livestock Production Programme (March 31, 2000). Nicholaus Massawe, Emyr Owen, Louis Mtenga, Steve Ashley, Dannie Romney, Sarah Holden
This project was designed around the hypothesis that feed resources were a major limiting factor to milk production in the high potential areas of Tanzania and that by taking a farmer-oriented approach to technological research, practical solutions to the most pressing constraints could be developed and promoted.
There was little evidence that the dairy production constraints facing poorer farmers in Tanzania had been adequately identified or addressed prior to this project. This project therefore applied participatory appraisal techniques so that farmers could identify and prioritise their constraints and participatory evaluation techniques so that farmers could evaluate experimental technologies for themselves. Finally, farmer-to-farmer learning and evaluation permitted the transfer of potentially beneficial technology from one group of farmers to another. The adoption of a participatory approach to all stages of the technology generation and dissemination cycle is rare in livestock research and this project serves as an example of the benefits which may accrue from this approach.
The technology of manual box-baling of maize stover has shown that real economic benefits can be gained from simple applied technology. Allied with stripping the more digestible portions from maize stover prior to baling, the cost of transported forage reduces from 10 Tanzanian shillings per mega Joule of metabolisable energy to 4 Tanzanian shillings. This same technology can be applied to the roadside grass trade and provide benefits to both sellers and buyers of this forage.
Farmer-to-farmer visit and learning showed promise as a means of technology transfer and may have benefits over either training and visit approaches or local farm open days.
The project has contributed to DFID’s development goals by engaging in dialogue with poorer farmers, learning from their experiences and circumstances and allowing them to select and test technologies so that farmers become empowered to improve their own productive opportunities and hence alleviate poverty
1. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Romney, D.L., Ashley, S.D. and Holden, S.J.1997 Developing sustainable forage utilisation to increase profitable milk production on smallholder farms in Tanzania: approach using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). Proceedings of the 23rd Scientific Conference of Tanzania Society of Animal Production 23 (1996), 23-31.
2. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Ashley, S.D., Holden, S.J. and Romney, D.L. 1998. Identified constraints to improving forage utilisation for milk production in three locations of Tanzania. International Conference, Food, Lands and Livelihoods: Setting Research Agendas for Animal Science, organised by the British Society of Animal Science and Kenya Agricultural Research Institute held in Nairobi 27-30 January 1998. Summary No. 98.
3. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Romney, D.L., Ashley, S.D. and Holden, S.J. 1999. The economics of maize stover transportation in northern Tanzania: 1. Cost effectiveness of loose vs manual baling and using different sizes of trucks. Proceedings of the 25th Scientific Conference of Tanzania Society of Animal Production (ed. Kifaro, G.C., Ndemanishu, E.E. and Kakengi, A.M.V.) 25 (1998), 5-12.
4. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Romney, D.L., Ashley, S.D. and Holden, S.J. 1999. Stripping of leaf, sheath and husks combined with manual box baling as a strategy towards efficient and economical use of maize stover. Proceedings of the 25th Scientific Conference of Tanzania Society of Animal Production (ed. Kifaro, G.C., Ndemanishu, E.E. and Kakengi, A.M.V.) 25 (1998), 233-237.
5. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Romney, D.L., Ashley, S.D. and Holden, S.J. 1999. Roadside grass as feed resource and income source for women and children in northern Tanzania. Proceedings of the 25th Scientific Conference of Tanzania Society of Animal Production (ed. Kifaro, G.C., Ndemanishu, E.E. and Kakengi, A.M.V.) 25 (1998), 243-250.
6. Massawe, N.F. 1999 (July). Strategies based on participatory rural appraisal for improving the utilisation of forages to increase profitable milk production on smallholder farms in Tanzania. PhD Thesis, The University of Reading. 293 pp.
7. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Romney, D.L., Holden, S.J and Ashley, S.D. 2000 (March).`Cut costs of feeding stover‘ Extension leaflet. Illustrations by J. Kariuki; design and printing by Development Communications Ltd., PO Box 39486, Nairobi. Leaflet describes box baling technology. 18,000 copies in Swahili, 2,000 copies in English.
8. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E., Mtenga, L.A., Romney, D.L., Holden, S.J and Ashley, S.D. 2000 (March).`Cut costs of feeding stover‘ Extension poster. Illustrations by J. Kariuki; design and printing by Development Communications Ltd., PO Box 39486, Nairobi. Poster describes box baling technology. 13 copies in Swahili, 12 copies in English.
9. Massawe, N.F., Owen, E. and Mtenga, L.A. 2002. Involving farmers in research technology development. In: Helping smallstock keepers enhance their livelihoods: improving management of smallholder owned sheep and goats by utilising local resources (ed. Smith, T., Godfrey, S.H., Buttery, P.J. and Owen, E.). Proceedings of the second DFID Livestock Production Programme Link Project (R7798) Workshop for smallstock keepers. Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania, Tanzania, 8-10 January 2002. Natural Resources International Ltd., Aylesford, Kent, UK, ISBN:, 09539274-4-x.
10. Massawe, N.F. and Mruttu H.A. 2004. Dissemination of low cost technology for handling crop residues and dry forages for dry season feeding in Northern Tanzania. In: Small stock in development(ed. Smith, T., Godfrey, S.H., Buttery, P.J., Ssewannyana, E. and Owen, E.). Proceedings of a workshop on enhancing the contribution of small livestock to the livelihoods of resource-poor communities. Masaka, Uganda, 15-19 November 2004. Natural Resources International Ltd., Aylesford, Kent, UK.
11. Thorp, S.1999. Transporting the ideas of success. WRENmedia Agfax Press Article. World Radio for the Environment Press Release, July 1999. WREN media, Fressingfield, Eye, Suffolk IP21 5SA. Article, based on interview of Nicholaus Massawe by Susanna Thorp. The article describes development of farmer-approved box baling of maize stover to reduce transport costs.
12. Assuming-Brempbong, S. 2003.Post Production, Value Addition and Marketing of Agricultural Commodities in Ghana: Potentials, Constraints and opportunities. 16 pp. Paper Presented at the Workshop onAgriculture and Rural Development Growth in Ghana. Organised by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana November 17-18, 2003.
13. IIRR and ACT. 2005. Conservation Agriculture : A manual for farmers and extension workers in Africa. International Institute of Rural Reconstruction. Nairobi; African Conservation Tillage Network, Harare. 251 pp.
14. Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing 2003. Cooperative Development Policy, 2002. Ministry of Cooperatives and Marketing, Dodoma, February 2003. 42 pp.
15. Mtengeti, E.J., Phiri, E.C.J.H., Muhikambele, V.R.M., Mtenga, L.A., Pereka, A.B. and Urio, N.A. 2004. Forage Production, Conservation and Utilisation. In: Improving Livestock Productivity (ed. Gwakisa et al.) Research dissemination Series. Volume 2. 2-6 TARP 11 SUA Project.
16. Onim, J.F.M., Fitzhugh, H.A. and Getz, W.R. 1992. Developing and using forages. In: On-farm research and technology for dual purpose goats (ed. P.P. Semenye and T. Hutchcroft), pp. 47-70. Small Ruminant Collaborative Research Support Program (SR-CRSP), Nairobi, Kenya
17. TARP II SUA Project. 2004. Improving Livestock Productivity. Research Dissemination Series Volume 2. TARP II SUA (pp. 2-6), Sokoine University of Agriculture Morogoro, Tanzania, 37 pp.
18. TARP II SUA Project. 2005. The Impact Assessment and Perspectives. The case of the Project: Food Security and household Income for Smallholder Farmers in Tanzania: Applied research with emphasis on women. Volume 2 Section 3.5 (pp. 78-84). TARP II SUA Sokoine University of Agriculture Morogoro, Tanzania.
19. Urio, N.A., Mtengeti, E.J., Magne Mo,. Phiri, E.C., Mgassa, M.N., Laswai, G.H., Pereka, A.E., Mbwile, R., Muhikambele, V.R., Chibunda, R., Israeli, S, Mwakilemebe, A. and Ayo, E. 2003. Studies on forage conservation for dry season feeding in Njombe district, Southern Highlands of Tanzania. In: Towards food security. Research on production, processing, marketing and utilisation. Proceedings of the Collaborative Research Workshop jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and Sokoine University of Agriculture, held in Morogoro, 28-29 May 2003.
20. URT 2006. National Livestock Policy, The United Republic of Tanzania, Ministry of Livestock Development, Final draft May 2006.
21. Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development. 2006. Draft National Livestock Policy. By the Technical Working Group. Republic of Kenya, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, February 2006.
22. Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development. 2006. Draft Dairy Policy 2006. Towards a Competitive and Sustainable Dairy Industry for Economic Growth in the 21st Century and beyond. Republic of Kenya, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, March 2006.
Relevant Research Projects, with links to the