Effects of Seasonal Changes and Forage Availability on Milk Yield of Cows among Smallholder Households in Ala-Buka, Kyrgyzstan <Article>
JIDC_19-4_29.pdf 1.72 MB
Issahaku, Zakaria Amidu
Maharjan, Keshav Lall
This study employs Wood's Gamma model to estimate the parameters of lactation curve at smallholder level and the effect of changing seasons on these parameters. Data on lactation of 89 indigenous and crossbreed cows in Baltagulov Village Government (BVG), Ala-Buka, Kyrgyzstan were used to estimate the Wood's Gamma model and to generate the lactation curves. Lactation curve parameters including a scaling factor associated with initial milk yields (β0), the inclining (β1) and declining (β2) slopes before and after peak yields respectively were analyzed by calving season. Results show that initial milk yield is higher among winter and autumn cows than spring and summer calvers. The inclining and the declining slopes are, however, lower in winter and autumn compared to spring and summer. Peak milk yield and lactation persistence can serve as criteria for herders in selecting cows.
In this study, peak milk yield is associated with total milk yield and can used as a useful guide in selecting breeders as opposed to lactation persistence. Peak milk yield is higher in winter and autumn vis-a-vis spring and summer. The effect of calving season is largely dependent on the availability of pasture forage. Forage shortage in spring and early summer, and lack of fodder from the end of winter to mid spring are perceived as the major problems by almost 50% of households in BVG. It is imperative to note that seasons of calving affect milk yield through their impact on forage availability. Forage shortage during spring and summer tend to decrease productivity of cows. The sweltering heat in summer and autumn do not also auger well for optimum milk production. The study recommends the manipulation of calving to match periods of forage availability. It also recommends protection of cows from adverse weather conditions to optimise milk production in BVG, Kyrgyzstan.