Summary of the equipment in the farm. The University Farm has a variety of equipment to complete its work. The farm has three Same® tractors that are used for assortment of tasks from spraying in the coffee section to cutting and bailing hay for the dairy cows. The most recent tractor addition to the farm is a Same Tiger® 75.4 tractor that was delivered in 2013 and is well suited for heavy work such as plowing. In addition to the tractors, the farm has the following equipment: disk plow, harrower, gyro mower, furrower, hay cutter, hay bailer, chemical sprayer for coffee, 3 trailers (1 dumping), chaff cutter and Power saws.
Mr. Phillip Njuguna operating one of the farm tractors
The University Farm has 16 permanent workers, 2 contract employees and an average of 100 casual employees per day. The majority of the workers are engaged in activities related to the coffee unit (e.g. picking of coffee and pruning of coffee trees), while the rest are divided among the horticulture unit, the livestock unit and the maintenance of farm machinery and buildings.
Strategic Business Plans
To support the operations of the Farm, business plans which will form the core of a three year strategic plan are being developed for each unit of the farm. The plans will ensure sustainable and profitable production for all units in the farm.
The Farm uses a number of different irrigation systems to ensure that the farm is productive. These include a centrifugal electric-based irrigation pump that can pump water from the Muringato river to Munyeni House. The pipes consist of 8” and 6” underground concrete pipes that terminate at hydrants from which aluminum pipes are connected to 17 1” overhead sprinklers.
At the horticulture unit, two different systems are used for irrigation. The first being a small portable petrol pump which is used to irrigate a significant portion of the horticulture section while the second system is composed of three hydrums that are used to pump water to the horticulture section near the farm offices.
The University is currently in the process of procuring 6 acres of drip irrigation kits for the farm. This will significantly increase the production while at the same time reduce the amount of water wasted through evaporation and runoff. In addition, the farm is exploring the option of installing sub-surface drip irrigation at Kigunyo block for the 8,500 Batian seedlings that will be planted in April. Sub surface drip irrigation is extensively used on coffee plantations in Tanzania but has not been used much in Kenya. This pilot trial will form the basis for future installation of drip irrigation to all the coffee blocks.
This article was prepared by Mr. Kyle Holland (Business Development Officer)