Maize plays a critical role in food security in Eastern and Southern Africa, being the staple food for 24 million households. Research priorities have therefore generally sought to optimise grain yield. Socio-economically it is, however, important not to ignore the value of the crop residue as forage, which has a value between one third and one half of the grain (McIntire et al., 1992). Moreover, for the smallholder farrmers, maize stover is proportionately more important as a forage source that specific forage crops. In adition where land pressure is high, as in the densely populated areas of the Kenyan Central Highlands, farmers dense-plant maize and feed thinnings to livestock, relay plant maize whenever there are rains and allow weeds to over grow beyond agronomic recommendations (Lukuyu et al., 2000). The change in farmming practices may have serious implications in terms of pests and diseases. This study therefore recognised that, as maize-based crop-livestock systems intensify in densely populated areas, the challenge is to ensure that maize production contributes more food for humans and more forage for ruminant livestock.
Lukuyu, B.A.; Murdoch, A.J.; McLeod, A.; Doward, P. The impact of maize streak virus disease on quality and yield of maize forage outputs of the maize-dairy production systems in central highlands of Kenya. Presented at The Livestock Development Group Student Conference, Focus on Livelihoods, Reading University. 16 October 2004. (2002) 16 pp.