This innovative project has two components:
. The first component is mowing and drying hay. It is how the hay should be mowed (when) and how it should be dried to obtain an appetizing and nutritional hay for animals.
How to mow grass
Grass is mowed with a scythe or machete 3 fingers high (about 5 cm)
When should grass be mowed?
Pick the best time to mow grass:
- When the grass is well grown
- When the grass is more nutritious (between 6 and 8 weeks)
How should mowed grass be dried?
In order to avoid the cut grass from yellowing or moulding, drying must be done properly. This means in the sun for about a day or two until the grass is pale green and brittle and there is a slight smell to it (do not let the grass yellow in the sun).
. The second component is conserving the dried grass. It is how to properly shelter the hay from the weather and conserve it.
Where should dried grass be stored?
Mowed grass (hay) must be stored in an APESS-type hangar. (APESS is an association that promotes breeding in Sahel and Savane). This protects the hay from termites and weather (rain, wind, etc.) in a well-ventilated environment.
How to build an APESS hangar
The APESS-type hangar is different from ordinary hangars because it protects hay very well. It is built completely from wood or banco (adobe).
- width: 4 m
- length: 8 m
- central height: 3 m
- lateral height: 1.5 m
- a platform 20 cm from the ground
After building the framework, make the barn impermeable by covering it with:
- grain stalks
- or grass stalks
What makes this project is unique and creative is that in the country of Sahel in general and particularly in Burkina Faso where the rains are rare and fresh grass cannot be found, this project proposes an alternative way to feed animals with appetizing green grass in all seasons during the year. This grass is as nutritious as fresh grass during the rainy season.
Adopting this innovation will allow people to:
- Be able to maintain their animals by feeding them well in any season
- Have fresh milk in any season
- Improve family income
- Decrease animals straying
- Also decrease the number of conflicts between farmers and livestock breeders which are very frequent in the zones where farmers and breeding exist side by side
The mowing technique and hay conservation project was implemented in Burkina Faso (Sahel region). To date, this idea has been expanded to at least 11 countries which are in the APESS coverage zone including: Mali, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Mauritania. All livestock breeder members of the APESS use this technique.
For operational implementation of this project, the APESS supports them in terms of training and operating which must have:
- an APESS-type hangar for hay
- equipment to transport the hay
- and a support staff to mow the hay
Burkina Faso is a Sahelian country in the heart of West Africa with a very dry climate (3 to 4 months of rainy season and 8 to 9 months of dry season). The Sahel region is the driest and most elevated region in the country. This zone has long been plagued by a lack of grass for feeding livestock. The project was initiated mainly to address this difficulty.
The mowing technique and hay conservation project is an innovation that is already being practiced by breeder members of the APESS. It is not difficult to implement, but for breeders who have a lot of animals, they must practice grass production in order to do better, as well as add a food supplement like oil meal, grain stalks and other things of that nature.