Thursday, May 23, 2024
Home Farming Tips How To Feed Dairy Cows To Boost Milk Production

How To Feed Dairy Cows To Boost Milk Production

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Umar Nsubuga

Deborah Nabatanzi, a resident of Kangave village Makulubita sub-county, in Luwero district has a few dairy cows under zero grazing. 

She says she feeds them mainly elephant grass, potato vines and some dairy meal three times a day. 

Muhammad Kiyemba, a veterinary doctor says zero-grazing dairy cows need to have access to fodder most of the day and rest when they are full.

“A lactating cow needs sufficient feeds to produce milk as well as maintain itself. If it fails to eat enough, it will lose weight and produce less milk. Likewise, a pregnant cow needs food for herself and the growing foetus,” he explains. 

A lactating cow needs sufficient feeds to produce milk as well as maintain itself. Photos by Umar Nsubuga

Kiyemba says some farmers estimate the amount of grass that their cows need, and provide all of it at once. However, he adds that this might not be good because, after a few hours, the grass will not be fresh, especially during the dry seasons.

He explains that although some cows do not mind withered grass, most of them like it fresh. So, when the grass becomes withered, they end up eating less than what they need.

“A better practice is to give small amounts of fresh grass several times a day provided you replenish as soon as the feed trough is empty.

Different cows eat different amounts. After some time, you know how long it takes to finish a given amount of fodder,” he explains.

Kiyemba says dairy meal may be given at any time of the day but preferably during milking hours. The process of eating dairy meal distances the cow’s attention from the milkman. This makes milking easier, safer and more productive.

“You need to broaden the variety of fodder so that the cows get a balanced diet. For instance, one-third of the fodder should be legumes such as calliandra, lab-lab, lucaena, and green leaf desmodium,” he says.

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