KENYA – The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) has developed an innovative probiotic, KALPRO, designed to significantly improve livestock productivity, enhance animal health, reduce reliance on antibiotics, and decrease methane emissions from dairy cattle.

According to Willis Adero, the lead researcher on the KALPRO project, initial trials conducted in Naivasha revealed a 20-33% increase in milk production when KALPRO was incorporated into cattle diets, with the variation depending on the breed.

Similar improvements were noted among commercial beef producers in Oljororok and pig farmers in Kikuyu, where pigs achieved their target weight in just 75% of the usual time.

Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria or yeast, naturally occur in the gut and are used in animal production to improve gut health, thereby enhancing productivity and overall health.

The benefits of probiotics include increased growth rates, reduced mortality, and better feed conversion efficiency. KALPRO aids in the efficient breakdown and absorption of nutrients, boosting livestock production.

Willis noted that a major advantage of KALPRO is its ability to reduce the overuse of antibiotics, which is a significant issue in the agricultural sector.

He warned that overreliance on antibiotics contributes to antimicrobial resistance, posing a major threat to public health.

“KALPRO strengthens animals’ immune systems, helping them resist diseases and pests more effectively, thus reducing the need for antibiotics,” he said.

“KALPRO is easy to administer, either through drenching, adding it to drinking water, or mixing it with feed.”

The recommended dosage was 30 milliliters per week, with specific amounts adjusted for different animals.

For instance, dairy cows and bulls were recommended to receive 15ml twice a week, heifers, hogs, and swine 10ml, and piglets 5ml.

Ian Alusa, a KARLO research assistant, explained that, because probiotics are naturally occurring, there are no adverse effects from overfeeding, and they can be used at any stage of the animal’s life.

In addition to improving livestock health and productivity, Willis explained that KALPRO also reduces methane emissions from cattle by approximately 25-30%.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas released during digestion and from dung, and it accounts for about 32% of human-induced methane emissions. By converting methane into water and carbon dioxide, KALPRO helps mitigate the environmental impact of livestock farming.”

According to recent reports in Kenya, with global demand for animal protein projected to increase by up to 70% by 2050 due to population growth, economic development, and urban migration, the benefits of KALPRO could be substantial.

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