Project 4: Techno-Economical Assessment of Production Technology of Animal Feedstock from Bush

Project Coordination:

Faculty: Faculty of Engineering

Project Leader: Mr Evert Strydom
Project Collaborators: Prof Pio Barone Lumaga


Strategic Partners:

o Hochland Tractors
Hochland Tractors (HT) is one of the leading importers and suppliers in Namibia for agricultural equipment including wood processing equipment.


o Baufi’s Agricultural Services
Baufi’s Agricultural Services (BAS) is one of the leading importers and suppliers as well as also designing and fabrication in Namibia for agricultural equipment including wood processing equipment.

o Namibia Agricultural Union

The Namibia Agricultural Union is a union of farmers in Namibia which represents commercial or non-subsistence farmers. The NAU is part of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers, a global organization which advocates for farmers

Results Discussion

According to the investigation done so far there is a dramatic difference between the manufactures machine specification data and the experimented data. Most of the results obtained from the research was from thorough desktop study and from interviewing local farmers on the results they got when they are using their machines. The result figures obtained from the researches where considerably higher as compared to the manufacture or supplier’s specification due to the following reasons:

Various farmers used different production protocols, therefore the data was based on an individual’s method of approach and not always standardized. Various farmers harvested different bush with different moisture levels, therefore the moisture content of the bush was unaccounted for. Different harvesting methods, meaning various farmers used different stem thicknesses on their machines. Fuel consumption rate where merely estimated and the thorough investigation for the exact amount of fuel consumption is different for every farmer. Interviews conducted have a higher biased opinion compared to actual data collection.


The specific deliverables are:

This project stretches only over a period of one year only.

(1) To conduct a detailed investigation into locally available machines, and

(2) To publish an assessment report on the economic viability of various combinations of technologies to produce bush-based feed.

Bush-feed is made by mixing milled encroacher bush with additives. The earliest documented production of bush-feed in Namibia dates to 1972 but its use has been rising in the past decade. Farmers have testified that bush-feed production reduces pressure on the rangeland and grazing. It also allows maintaining the herd size during times of fodder shortage. Some also feed their goats, pigs, donkeys or game with it, receiving excellent results. Farmers have tried different bush-based rations depending on the availability and cost of supplements. The use of local pods and drought resistant fodder crops, such as camelthorn pods and spineless prickly pear as supplements are found to be suitable options to enhance nutritive value. Most farmers dry the milled bush, store it and only mix it with supplements shortly before feeding. Other farmers mix the milled bush right after harvesting. To further enhance storability, one can make pellets from the mixtures. Production output depends largely on the technical equipment used for cutting, chipping and/or milling and on the set-up and management of the operation. Most farmers prefer the combination of a wood chipper and a hammer mill over the use of a combined all-in-one machine (e.g. Bos-tot-Kos). This is because existing combined machines are either too expensive or unreliable. Various locally available machines are suitable for bush-based animal feed production but have not been fully tested in a production setup.

This project will conduct a detailed investigation into locally available machines by thoroughly testing animal feed machinery for harvesting, milling, mixing and pelletizing biomass feedstock. The focus shall be to test and document the most viable combination of machines, keeping in mind the suitability for the target groups (commercial and communal farmers) in terms of level of investment and maintenance requirements.