Assessment of feeding practices and performance of dairy cattle in Kibaha district, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Two studies were carried out in Kibaha District to investigate feeding practices and performance of dairy cattle kept by smallholder farmers. In experiment 1, formal survey which aimed at assessing the existing feeding practices, performance and constraints, involved 30 dairy farmers from 3 wards. In experiment 2, twenty four (24) lactating cows from two wards, that is 12 cows from each ward, were monitored for one month where intakes and milk yield were measured. In experiment 1; the performance in terms of reproduction and milk yield of cows under both zero and full grazing, was low during wet and dry seasons. Major constraints identified were nutritional related causes by the existing feeding practices. In experiment 2, the overall percentages of crude protein (CP), in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), neutral detergent fibre (NDF), calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P) and overall means of Metabolizable energy (ME MJ) contents of mixed forages under full grazing were 6.18, 48.01, 73.58, 0.25, 0.16 and 6.88, while those under zero grazing were 6.09, 49.08, 74.2, 0.24, 0.18 and 7.02, respectively. The overall daily nutrient intakes (g/ kgW0.75) of zero grazed cows were 120, 7.48, 0.26, 0.21 and 0.86 MJ for DM, CP, Ca, P and ME respectively. The daily milk yield of lactating cows under full grazing and zero grazing systems measured during monitoring experiment were 5.45 and 6.59 l/cow, respectively. Production performance of dairy cattle observed during wet season was suboptimal, probably due to underfeeding attributed by lack of adequate supplementation. It is, therefore proposed to supplement the animals with concentrate that will supply 41.6 MJ, 1012g CP, 38g Ca, and 22g P per cow/ day for optimal milk production.




Feeding practices assessment, Dairy cattle performance, Kibaha District, Zero grazing, Full grazing