African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6693

Full Length Research Paper

Feed resource utilization and dairy cattle productivity in the agro-pastoral system of South Western Uganda

Mary Tibezinda*
  • Mary Tibezinda*
  • Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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Ewa Wredle
  • Ewa Wredle
  • Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P. O. Box 7024, SE-75007 Uppsala, Sweden.
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Elly N. Sabiiti
  • Elly N. Sabiiti
  • Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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Denis Mpairwe
  • Denis Mpairwe
  • Department of Agricultural Production, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda.
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  •  Received: 04 January 2016
  •  Accepted: 17 March 2016
  •  Published: 11 August 2016

Abstract

A cross-sectional study was carried out in six sub-counties of Kiruhura district, South Western Uganda with the aim of assessing feed resource utilisation and dairy cattle productivity. Individual interviews using a semi structured questionnaire were conducted in seventy five households.  The mean land holding, grazing land and cultivated land were 74, 70 and 2 ha, respectively. Majority (61%) of the farms kept Ankole × Friesian crossbred cattle and the average daily milk production per cow per day for low grade and high grade crossbred cows was 5.4±1.3 and 7.4±2.6 L, respectively. The mean in months for age at first calving (AFC) was 30.7±9.8 and 25.9±4.9, calving interval (CI) was 12.6±3.2 and 11.4±1.1, and open period 3.5±2.7 and 2.3±1.2 for low grade and high grade cross bred cattle, respectively. A few farms (7%) maintained a constant herd size from the previous two years, while (67%) registered decreases in herd size and 27% increased their herd size. Natural pastures were the major feed resource throughout the year for all households and the majority (71%) did not provide any feed supplement during dry season or conserve the excess pasture produced in the rainy season.  The average stocking rate was 1.4 ± 0.98 TLU/ha which was high and this was aggravated by increasing use of land for cultivation. The use of crop residues and agro-industrial by products was low. The average annual dry matter production on farms meets only 83% of the annual dry matter requirements for an average herd. The major constraints to livestock production were the high costs incurred in disease prevention and treatment (62%), feed shortage (40%) and drought related challenges (31%). It was concluded that feed availability could be improved by equipping the farmers with feed resource management techniques such as improved management of grazing lands, conservation of pastures in the form of hay, and proper utilization of crop residues and agro-industrial by-products, through training and provision of dedicated extension services.

Key words: Dairy cattle, feed resource, crossbred, cattle productivity.