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Home Farming Tips Managing Dairy Cattle Under Zero grazing

Managing Dairy Cattle Under Zero grazing

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a) The first thing should be to establish a fodder bank by growing elephant grass or giant setaria. You should plant at least one acre of fodder per cow.

b) Construct the zero grazing unit. The basic parts of the unit include cubicles (resting areas), the exercise area, feed and water troughs, the roof and the milking area.

C) It is important that you choose a cow that will be profitable under the available resources on the farm. If you have a good supply of fodder and other feeds, a pure exotic heavy producer such as a Friesian is suitable. If the fodder acreage is small and the climate hot, choose a smaller hardy breed such as Jersey or Guernsey, or a cross between a local and an exotic breed.

Generally, a cow producing less than 10litres a day is not economical for a zero grazing system.

D) Ensure that your cow gets as much fodder as it wants to eat. In case of elephant grass, it should be harvested when it is 60 to 90cm (2to3ft) and chopped into small pieces. Supplementary feeds such as concentrates should be given to cows producing more than eight litres of milk. Give the cow mineral supplements mixed with any of the feeds.

To ensure profitability of the enterprise, you should also pay special attention to the following:

Control of diseases and parasites to minimise deaths and other economic losses.

Proper milking technique and maintain high hygiene standards.

Use appropriate breeding methods such as artificial insemination.

Keep records on production, health, sales and purchases to help you in planning and decision making.

Ensure environmental protection for sustainable production.

Good calf rearing for replacement stock.

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