Milk yield and calf growth performance of cattle under partial suckling system at Andassa Livestock Research Centre, North West Ethiopia
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Andassa Livestock Research Centre, P.O.Box 27, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia; Bahir Dar University, P.O.Box 79, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia; ANRS, Food Security Coordination and Disaster Prevention Office, P.O.Box 497, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia; Addis Ababa University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, P.O.Box 34, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia
Milk yield and calf growth performance of cattle under partial suckling system were studied at Andassa Livestock Research Centre from 2002-2008. The results of the study showed that mean partial lactation and daily milk yield of Fogera cows was 291 and 0.99 kg, respectively. Parity of cow and year of calving significantly affected both partial lactation and daily milk yield, while season of calving had no significant effect on both parameters. The mean lactation length was 292 days. Season of calving, parity of cow and year of calving significantly affected lactation length. Linear relationship between partial lactation milk yield and lactation length was observed. The overall mean birth weight obtained in the current study was 22.7 kg. Birth weight was significantly affected by breed of calf and birth year. The overall mean weights (kg) of calf at one month, three months, six months, nine months and at one year of age were 40.7, 56.5, 80.4, 121 and 120 kg, respectively. Weight at one month was significantly affected by all the fixed effects considered. The weights at three and six months of age were significantly affected by breed of calf and year of birth only. The overall mean daily body weight gain (g) from birth to one month, three months, six months, nine months and one year of age were 591, 374, 321, 359 and 272, respectively. Calf growth showed a significant correlation with the length of suckling period only until six months. Results of the present study showed that milk yield data generated through partial hand milking (two teats) revealed the existence of variability within the herd and improvements in productivity could be achieved through long term genetic selection. Weaning of calves could be practiced at six months of age to prevent the negative effect of longer suckling time on reproduction performance of the dam so as to increase calf crop productivity. Milk yield and calf growth performance of Fogera cattle and their crossbred under improved nutrition needs to be studied.