Monday, February 26, 2024
Home Farming Tips How To Increase Productivity In Dairy Cattle

How To Increase Productivity In Dairy Cattle

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Joshua Kato

It was a beehive of activities at Sight Farm, Namulonge in Wakiso district last month, even when the main occasion was about cattle keeping.

This was after over 350 enthusiastic farmers gathered at this dairy farm to learn ways of improving the production and productivity of their herds.

The training was facilitated by URUS. There was also a mini-exhibition about dairy-keeping technologies. Sight Farm is owned by Henry Lugolobi.

Dr Hamid Rutaro, the technical manager for URUS Africa, explained to the farmers that increasing production in livestock is not only about genetics, but a combination of other factors in feeding quality and quantity, health, comfortability, records and timing.

“Although you have the best genetics, without enough quality feed and water, your animals will not produce milk because it is their bodies that produce milk and without feeds, they will be eating their bodies to produce milk. Here, you will end up losing the milk and the cow itself,” she said.

They were advised to keep the animals healthy since unhealthy animals will not be able to produce milk.

“If you are practising dairy farming as a business, you need to understand that for every day a cow is on your farm, but doesn’t produce milk, it costs you between $2-5 (about sh7,200 and sh18,000) in labour, water, feed and shelter. In a month, you will have lost between sh216,000 and sh540,000,” he says.

In addition to feeds, water is a must.

“If you are thinking of having heavy milkers that can give you 30 litres and above, they should drink over 200 litres of water in intervals (10-15 times a day). This, therefore, means you must avail water all the time for it to drink.”

Serve animals on time

Dr William Kabanda advised farmers to keenly observe the heat signs so that they serve the animals on time.

He explains that with better management, each of the cows should give the farmer a calf every year. This is because a cow should be given two months of the voluntary waiting period to help her regain its body shape, for the uterus to get back to its proper position, clean up its body and get ready to conceive again.

“Please don’t serve your cow before at least 50 days after calving, even if it came on heat because it hasn’t gained its shape to carry a calf and produce milk,” he says.

Kabanda told farmers that animal management is crucial as they need to have quality feeds with balanced nutrients to not only keep them in shape to produce milk, but also avoid effects like milk fever that result from inadequate nutrients.

Also, provide it with a comfortable shelter for it to relax as a cow needs 14-15 hours of relaxation each day, for the body to make milk.

At the event, Dr Jolly Kabirizi exhibited technologies that can reduce feeding costs for urban dairy farmers.

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