I am a beginner in dairy farming. I bought a five months in-calf cow last month. I feed it on Napier grass, maize stalks and harvested natural grass plus dairy meal. The cow doesn’t like the natural grass even when mixed with molasses. Its milk production is too low, 1.5 litres per day. The initial owner said he had injected it for drying. How can I feed it for maximum milk production now and after calving? Jones
The success of dairy cow production is based on genetics and management of your herd. When venturing into dairy cow production, one must do a background check on the kind of animals available and their cost.
This will be pegged to the farmer’s interest in either milk volumes or milk quality. Management of the animals involves housing, health and feeding issues.
For Napier and natural grasses, ensure that the forages are chopped and fed through the trough to avoid wastage.
For the maize stalks, soak them in water or molasses before feeding. This will help reduce low quality, highly fibrous feed materials in the diet. The cow’s diet should contain 70 per cent energy and 30 per cent protein.
Two months to calving down, that is from the seventh month, steam your cow. This means giving extra feed of high-quality concentrates at a rate of 2-5 kilogrammes per day depending on the condition of the in-calf animal.
Mineral supplementation is key to ensure that the cow has enough minerals for calf development and also for milk production. Clean fresh water should be given always without restrictions.
Answered by Dennis Kigiri