Feeding Management of High Producing Dairy Cows and Buffaloes

Feeding Management of High Producing Dairy Cows and Buffaloes

Commercial dairy farming provides important source of income to farmers and dairy entrepreneurs. Traditionally dairy farming has been an important means of generating supplemental income and employment for Agriculture farming community particularly those pertaining to the small and marginal categories. But in the recent past dairy farming as a viable commercial enterprise has become increasingly popular among farming community having an eye on maintaining high yielding dairy animals and is being looked upon as a potent means of diversification in agriculture. Besides producing milk and/or draft power, the dairy animals are also the good source of farmyard manure, which is a good source of organic matter for providing soil fertility.

The crop by-products in turn are gainfully utilized for feeding the animals. Though the total milk production in the country as per current estimates have crossed 102 million tones/annum mark and is 15% of the world milk production yet and per capita availability  of milk as still about  232 grams per day against the minimum requirement of 284 grams per day as recommended by ICMR.. The average productivity of our animals is still close to 1050 liters per annum which is far below the world average of above 3000 liters milk and milk production account for 9.2 and 12.4 percent to protein intake in rural and urban areas, respectively, which in higher then the protein intake by non-vegetarians through an9mal product s. the performance of the Indian dairy sector has been quite impressive.

Milk production in a India increases from 17 million tones in 1950-51 to over 102 million tones in the year 2008 and during a period (1990-2006),  the milk production had grown at a rate of nearly 4% per annum vis-à-vis world growth rate of 1.5 percent. The exports of dairy products increased from 13.98 million in 1990-91 to Rs 6766.82 million in 2005-06, which imports increased from 40.52 million to 345.66 million during the same period. As the net trade balance of dairy products has changed form negative to positive, the country has become a net exporter of dairy products. Thus there is a scope to enhance the milk production through better feeding management practices and genetical improvement.

Most of the indigenous cattle breeds like Shahiwal, Hariyana, Gir, Tharparker etc. have low milk production. As a result of crossing of native cattle with exotic dairy breeds, large number of crossbreds have been produced and per animal milk productivity have registered marked improvement.

The genetic potential of a cow /buffalo however, could be expressed only if she is provided matching environmental conditions. Thus the genetic potential is greatly modified by the environment  in which the animal is kept and the environmental factors those directly influence a lactating cow’s performance include of shelters, milking procedures and technique, feeds and fodders  and  feeding practices,  veterinary care, mastitis treatment, shortfalls of labours and climatic conditions. Only through control of these factors can the true genetic ability of a cow be expressed.