Effect of draft work on lactation of F1 crossbred dairy cows
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/50436
In Ethiopia, the use of crossbred cows for traction could improve total on-farm production by decreasing the need to maintain draft oxen year-round and a fallower herd to supply replacement oxen, provided that lactation and reproduction are kept at levels comparable to non-working cows. In a study to estimate the effect of draft work on milk production and reproduction, 40 F1 crossbred dairy cows were assigned to four treatments (non-working non-supplemented, non-working supplemented, working non-supplemented, working supplemented). Working cows consumed more dry matter compared to non-working cows and supplemented cows more than non-supplemented cows. Milk production was greater in supplemented cows, but was similar in working and non-working cows. Body weight loss was greater for non-supplemented cows. Work considerably decreased reproductive ability of non-supplemented cows but only delayed onset of oestrus and conception in supplemented cows. Results indicate that feeding had a greater effect than work on milk yield and reproductive performance. Feeding strategies for draft cows are proposed.