Livestock Research for Rural Development 18 (2) 2006 Guidelines to authors LRRD News

Citation of this paper

Lactation yield of crossbred dairy cattle under farmer management in Eastern coast of Tanzania

J K A Bee, Y N Msanga and P Y Kavana

Livestock Research Institute, P.O. Box 5016 Tanga, Tanzania
jkabee@yahoo.com   ;   lrc@kaributanga.com

Abstract

A study to evaluate lactation performance of crossbred dairy cattle under different management systems practised by farmers and different genotypes kept by smallholder farmers was conducted in urban and peri-urban areas of Kibaha and Korogwe districts from 1999 to 2004.The survey conducted at the beginning of the project, revealed that urban and peri-urban dairy farming mostly involved civil servants, retired officers, businessmen and /or women who regard dairy enterprise as one of the major sources of income and food security in their livelihood. Data on daily milk yield, lactation number, Bos taurus inheritance, breed and management systems practised were collected.

Daily milk yield was affected by Bos taurus inheritance (P<0.05). The cows with 75% Bos taurus inheritance produced more milk than the other Bos taurus levels and this was followed by the 62% Bos taurus. Friesian crosses in Kibaha district significantly (P<0.05) out yielded those in Korogwe district. However, the performance of Ayrshire crosses in both districts was the same (P>0.05). The yields of Ayrshires in both districts were not significantly (P>0.05) different from those of Friesians and there is an apparent advantage of Ayrshires over Friesians in Korogwe district. Overall mean daily yield of the animals in both locations was 6.7±0.4 litres per cow per day and the difference between sites, breed and management was not statistically significant (P>0.05).

Dairy cattle farmers who practice zero grazing should be advised to keep crossbred animals of the intermediate exotic blood (62.5-75%) for good production performances.

Key words: Ayrshire , Bos tarus inheritance, crossbred dairy cattle, daily milk yield, Eastern Tanzania, Friesian, lactation performance


Introduction

The dairy industry in most parts of the world started with small-scale traditional cattle rearing in rural areas with the objective of producing milk to feed the family and neighbours. As the herd increased, production increased and there was surplus milk, which had to find market outlet in urban areas. This necessitated dairy cattle keeping in urban and peri-urban areas where the milk market is not a problem. In Tanzania, dairy cattle keeping is becoming popular among the smallholder dairy cattle farmers in urban and peri-urban areas. The smallholder dairy sector is composed of individuals owning a few numbers of dairy cows, mostly between one and five heads. This sector is characterized by having more intensive production systems because land is a limiting factor for expansion of arable crop farming. It has become an important and profitable economic activity among the farming community (Mulangila et al 1997).

Smallholder dairying is regarded as one of the best means of providing resource poor farmers with regular income to pay for children's education and other family's daily necessities. Urban livestock keeping fits different livelihood strategies and contributes to food security, income and employment generation, saving and insurance (Guendel 2001). However, increased and sustainable production has generally been constrained by several factors including poor management, inadequate feed resources, both in quality and quantity, unimproved genotypes, reproductive wastage and inadequate animal health care. Genetic improvement remains a tool in livestock research and development, but greater emphasis should be placed on the improvement of the management systems of the existing animal resources, achievement of an optimum balance between the genotype and the climate and feeding and management (Jonsson et al 1993). Most of the smallholder dairy farmers have little knowledge of dairy cattle husbandry, thus their management practices are of low standard. There is, therefore, a need of evaluating lactation performance of crossbred dairy cattle under the smallholder management practices and also evaluate the performance of the different genotypes kept by farmers.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the lactation performance of crossbred dairy cattle under farmers' management as affected by location, feeding management, cattle breed and level of Bos taurus blood.
 

Materials and methods

Study area

This study was carried out in urban and peri-urban areas of Korogwe and Kibaha districts of the Eastern coast zone of Tanzania after formal consultations with the District Agricultural and Livestock Development Offices (DALDO) were done. Korogwe is located north west of Tanga city, some 93 kilometres and is situated at 050 09S and 380 29' E and is semi-arid while Kibaha is located west of Dar Es Salaam city, approximately 40 kilometres and is situated at 060 46'S and 380 55' E and is sub-humid. The areas receive bimodal type of rainfall with short rains falling between October and December and long rain between mid March and May and are a typical climate characterized by hot and humid weather. The hottest months are January to mid- March while the coolest are June and July.

Research Activities

Animals from which the study was carried out are owned by smallholder farmers under independent management with public extension services provided by the district council. Animals kept included Friesian and Ayrshire crosses to the East African Zebu and the Bos taurus blood varied from 50 to 100%. Cattle were managed either under zero grazing or grazing and concentrate feeding was usually 2 kg/day of maize bran offered at milking. Cows were hand milked and calves were restricted suckled (Nguyen Van Sanh et al 1997) and weaned at the age of 4.4 and 4.7 months in Kibaha and Korogwe, respectively. Animals were naturally mated when a farmer observed heat symptoms. The study involved 182 farmers of which 76 were in Korogwe and 106 in Kibaha.

A structured questionnaire was used to interview farmers with crossbred dairy cattle. Field visits and group discussions with the farmers were conducted in order to identify the breed and genotype of the animals. Subsequent visits were done to collect information on daily milk yield, lactation number of the animal and management. The visits were done once every two months by the staff from the livestock research centre in collaboration with the extension personnel in respective districts. In some smallholder farms, animals were grazed extensively on native pastures in open areas around the farm during the day time while others were stall-fed with cut-and-carry grasses. The dairy cows were supplemented with maize bran, cotton seed cake and minerals during milking and on average each milking cow was provided with about 2 kg of the compounded supplement mentioned above. All lactating cows were hand-milked by cow attendants or family members. The amount of milk extracted from the target animal on the previous day of the visit as described by the farmer was recorded on the day of the visit.

Data collection and analysis

The independent variables were categorized as follows:

Bos taurus inheritance      1 = 50%
                                        2 = 62%
                                        3 = 75%
                                        4 = >75% (including purebreds).

Breed 1 = Friesian; 2 = Ayrshire
Management 1 = Zero grazing; 2 = Pasture grazing

All data collected were summarized, coded and entered into a computer (Microsoft Excel 97) for arrangement and computation before analysis was done by a Statistical Analyses System (SAS 1999) using the General Linear Model (GLM) for generalized least squares procedures suitable for use on data with unequal sub-class numbers.
 

Results and discussion

The survey at the beginning of the study in 1999 revealed that the main reasons for keeping dairy cattle were mainly as a source of income, subsistence and finally tradition, in that order of importance. Age at first service was 20 and 21 months, and calving intervals 13 and 14 months in Korogwe and Kibaha, respectively.

The survey also revealed that urban and peri-urban dairy farming mostly involved retired officers, civil servants, businessmen and or women who regard dairy enterprise as one of the profitable economic activity providing food, income and other family necessities.

Table 1 presents the least square means and standard errors for daily milk yield per cow as affected by district, management, breed and Bos taurus inheritance.

Table 1. Least square means and standard errors for daily milk yield (litres) as affected by district, management, breed and Bos taurus inheritance

Variable

n

Yield

SE

Overall

 

740

6.7

0.4

District

Korogwe

387

6.6

0.9

 

Kibaha

353

6.8

0.5

Management

Zero grazing

438

6.6

0.5

 

Pasture grazing

302

6.7

0.5

Breed:

Friesian

411

6.6

0.4

 

Ayrshire

329

6.8

0.6

Bos taurus inheritance

50%

251

6.0b

0.5

62%

127

6.8ab

0.6

 

75%

248

7.0a

0.5

>75%

114

6.9a

0.6

ab Means within a column with different superscript letters differ significantly at P<0.05

There was no difference in daily milk yield between zero and pasture grazed cows. This observation indicates that under zero grazing, farmers could not feed more than what the cows could feed for themselves. Overall mean in the present study was 6.7 litres per cow per day. Epaphras et al (2004) reported mean daily milk production of crossbred Ayrshire cows reared under coastal tropical climate of Tanzania of 7.1 litres. Msangi et al (2001) reported daily milk yield of 6.3 litres for pasture grazed cows and 7.5 litres for zero grazed cows in the sub- humid northern coast of Tanzania. Discrepancy between results obtained by different authors could be caused by year effects.

Cows with 75% Bos taurus inheritance were producing more milk than the other Bos taurus inheritance levels. The findings by Agyemang and Nkhonjera (1986) in Malawi are in agreement with the findings in the present report. Milk production increased as the level of Bos taurus increased from 50% to 87.5 % ( 5.3 kg, 6.2 kg and 7.3 kg for 50%, 75% and 87.5% Bos taurus inheritance, respectively). Kiwuwa et al (1983) working with crossbred dairy cattle in Arsi Region of Ethiopia, reported that crossbreeding the indigenous cattle with Bos taurus breeds had more than doubled milk yields of the F1 generation, and further upgrading to ¾ exotic had almost tripled the yields. This is in agreement with what was observed in year 2003 in the present study, but contrary to findings by Msanga et al (2000), who found that, 62% Bos taurus inheritance were producing more. Preston and Murgueitio (1992) reported that if total performance is taken into account (fertility, survival, growth rate and milk yield), animals of an intermediate level of European inheritance are likely to be superior. This is further supported by Syrstad (1996) who reported that optimum point of upgrading lies between 50% and 75% Bos taurus breeding for milk production. As the level of exotic inheritance increased towards 100%, the problem of high mortality and reduced fertility increased.

The effect of parity on lactation performance of crossbred dairy cattle is given in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Lactation Performance of crossbred dairy cattle as affected by lactation number

Results shown in figure 1 indicate that there was an increase in milk production from parity 1 to 3 and thereafter the production started to drop. This may be partly explained by highest milk production capacity coupled with greater feed intake in older cows than young ones. Cows in 5th and more lactation were no longer better producers' compared with those in their 3rd lactation. The older age may contribute to reduced milk production through turnover of secretory cells, with higher numbers dieing compared to the newly produced active secretory cells (Epaphras et al (2004). The shape of the lactation curve is determined by the number of mammary epithelial cells and their secretory activity such that the increase in the number accounts for increased milk yield to peak lactation and vice versa (Capuco et al 2003).

Table 2. Least square means for district x breed interaction for daily milk yield (litres) per cow

District

Breed

n

Yield

SE

Korogwe

Friesian

198

6.0b

0.2

 

Ayrshire

189

6.8ab

0.2

Kibaha

Friesian

213

7.2a

0.3

 

Ayrshire

140

6.6ab

0.3

abMeans within a column with different superscripts letters differ significantly(P<0.05)

Friesian crosses in Korogwe district were out yielded by those in Kibaha district (P<0.05). However, Ayrshire crosses in both districts did not have daily yields that were significantly different from the Friesians and indeed there is an apparent advantage of Ayrshires over Friesians in Korogwe district.

Table 3. Least square means for district x Bos taurus inheritance for milk yield (litres)

District

Bos taurus inheritance

n

Yield

S.E.

Korogwe

50%

131

6.4b

0.9

 

62%

55

6.6ab

1.0

 

75%

114

7.2a

1.0

 

>75%

87

6.4b

1.0

Kibaha

50%

120

5.6c

0.5

 

62%

72

6.9ab

0.6

 

75%

134

7.6a

0.5

 

>75%

49

6.2bc

0.7

abMeans within a column with different superscript letters differ significantly (P<0.05)

Animals with 75% Bos taurus inheritance out yielded the other Bos taurus levels (P<0.05), followed by the 62% Bos taurus. Agyemang and Nkhonjera (1986), working with crossbred dairy cattle in Malawi, reported that in areas where rainfall is poor and feed supply is inadequate, cows with 50% Friesian inheritance and those with 75% Friesian gave similar milk yields. However, in areas with adequate feed supply, 75% Friesian crosses produced about 1000 kg of milk more than the 50% Friesian crosses. Similar results were reported in Ethiopia by Kiwuwa et al (1983).

From the field visit made in April 2004, it was established that there was an increase of 113% and 147% in the number of crossbred dairy cattle population over a five-year period of the study for Korogwe and Kibaha (1328 to 2830 for Korogwe and 2081 to 5147 for Kibaha), respectively. The number of farmers keeping crossbred dairy cattle had increased from 394 to 604 (53.3%) in Korogwe while the figure for Kibaha was 402 to 538 (33.8%). This implies that dairy cattle keeping is a lucrative enterprise and profitable economic activity among the farming community for their livelihood.
 

Conclusions

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to the Government of Tanzania through Tanzania Agricultural Research Project Phase II (TARP II), which provided funds for this work. The collaboration accorded by the Livestock Extension Staff of Kibaha and Korogwe Districts is highly acknowledged. The team also wishes to give their gratitude to individual farmers for their co-operation that made this work possible. Last but not least, the success and accomplishment of this work could not be possible without the teamwork of the Livestock Research Centre Tanga staff (S Lwanda, R J Shekimeweri and E Kessy).



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Received 13 October 2005; Accepted 30 November 2005; Published 10 February 2006

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