Assessing the characteristics and milk handling practices of dairy farms in Kabale district: a case of Kamuganguzi and Buhara sub counties.
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Milk quality has been markedly linked to milk handling practices. In this paper I report on existing milk handling practices of dairy farms in Kamuganguzi and Buhara sub-counties, Kabale district assessed through a farm survey that was conducted using descriptive research design to assess the status of dairy farms in Kamuganguzi and Buhara sub-counties, Kabale district, to collect both quantitative and qualitative characteristics. A total of 65 surveys were collected. Using systematic sampling techniques, at least 6 respondents from each of the 10 villages were interviewed in the two sub-counties of Kabale district. At first the district veterinary officer (DVO) was visited at the district offices, briefed the objective of the study and requested to help in the identification of dairy farms contacts in each of the two sub-counties. During a walk to the next farmer, farms that were I identified with 30 or more heads of cattle were andomly sampled. This was done until the 65 farmers were interviewed. The target population included farms which kept more than 30 heads of cattle and producing more than 20L of milk daily and practicing any production system. Results indicated that the main types of milking containers used were aluminum (50.7%) and plastics (49.3%). The main source of water used during milking was from springs (51.3%). A high proportion (51.7%) of the milking persons did not use any sanitizer when washing hands prior to milking. 58.5% of the farmers washed the udder prior to milking and 22.2% had clean milking area. Only 82.5% of the farmers tested the milk for mastitis and 79.3% of the farmers carry out post-milking treatment. Majority (70.3%) of the farmers preserved unsold milk mainly by boiling. The study also showed a significant positive association between training in milk handling and cleanness of the milking area and milking containers. I concluded that training dairy farmers in proper milk handling practices could improve milk quality and possibly alleviate milk post-harvest losses that occur as a result of poor handling