Modeling the influence of existing feeding strategies on performance of grade dairy cattle in Vihiga, Kenya
Livestock Research for Rural Development
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute - Kakamega, P.O Box 169-50100, Kakamega, Kenya; Animal Production Department, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053, Nairobi, Kenya
A modeling study was carried out on grade dairy cattle in four production systems in Vihiga District. The objective was to evaluate the effects of existing feeding strategies on performance of grade dairy cattle. Data for the model was extracted from results of a survey of 236 grade dairy cattle owning households in Vihiga District. Results showed that feeding strategies for grade dairy cattle in Vihiga District were sub-optimal reflected in low actual and potential milk yields per cow per day. Protein was a major limiting nutrient and the situation was serious during the dry season when low quality forages were available. Further, the costs milk production was higher in intensive production systems as opposed to the extensive production systems, The most optimum existing feeding strategies for Vihiga in terms of economic returns by grade dairy cattle production systems were: a) The basal feed comprising napier grass cut and carry supplemented with dairy meal and other fodder (a mixture of fodder trees and legumes and sweet potato vines) in Stall feeding only and Grazing only production systems, and b) The basal feed comprising natural pastures and napier grass cut and carry supplemented with dairy meal, other fodder and crop residue in Mainly stall feeding with some grazing and Mainly grazing with some stall feeding production systems, In conclusion, supplementation of the basal diets with dairy meal and fodder as single supplements or components in compound feeding strategies was necessary in Vihiga for enhanced performance of grade dairy cattle in terms of milk yields, live weight gains, manure production and economic returns.
Animalia; Bos; Ipomoea batatas; Pennisetum purpureum