Climate variability and livestock feeding strategies in the agro-pastoral systems of Southeastern Kenya

This study was conducted to address the problem of inadequate information on the characteristics of drylands' agro-pastoral livestock production systems and how they are adapting to the changing environments (biophysical, social, cultural, economic and technological) under increasing climate variability. The objectives of this study were to; 1) Characterize the agro-pastoral livestock production systems under increasing climate variability, 2) Evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of top ranked feed conservation strategies being used by the agro-pastoralists and 3) Formulate and evaluate livestock feed rations from top ranked feed materials. The characteristics of the agro-pastoral production systems were inventoried through a reconnaissance survey while climate information was generated through analyzing long and short term rainfall and temperature data. In evaluating the top ranked feed conservation structures (granary, roof and open wooden racks and tree branches), Panicum maximum hay bales were conserved in them and the hay quality monitored over four months period. The nutritive contents, dry matter intake and performance of Small East Afr ic an Zchu (SEAZ) yearlings were used to rank the top ranked feed materials.