TECHNICAL PAPER #34
UNDERSTANDING DAIRY PRODUCTION
IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Dr. John W. Hibbs
Dr. W. G. Whittlestone
Philip D. Flora
Wallace N. Lindskoog
Dr. Paul D. Thompson
VOLUNTEERS IN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
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Understanding Dairy Production in
[C]1985, Volunteers in Technical Assistance
This paper is one of a series published by Volunteers in Technical
Assistance to provide an introduction to specific state-of-the-art
technologies of interest to people in developing countries.
The papers are intended to be used as guidelines to help
people choose technologies that are suitable to their situations.
They are not intended to provide construction or implementation
details. People are urged to contact VITA or a similar organization
for further information and technical assistance if they
find that a particular technology seems to meet their needs.
The papers in the series were written, reviewed, and illustrated
almost entirely by VITA Volunteer technical experts on a purely
voluntary basis. Some 500 volunteers were involved in the production
of the first 100 titles issued, contributing approximately
5,000 hours of their time. VITA staff included Maria Giannuzzi
as editor, Suzanne Brooks handling typesetting and layout, and
Margaret Crouch as project manager.
The author, VITA Volunteer Dr. John W. Hibbs is professor emeritus
of the Department of Dairy Science, Ohio State University. As
a specialist in animal nutrition and physiology, Dr. Hibbs has
served as an AID/OSU adviser at the Haryana Agricultural University
in Hissar, (Haryana) India and as an FAO consultant under
the UNDP at the National Dairy Research Institute in Karnal,
India. The co-author, Dr. W. G. Whittlestone is a professor at
the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. He has published
over 250 papers in the field of lactational physiology,
dairy hygiene, and behavioral studies related to lactation and
mothering in farm animals. The reviewers are also VITA Volunteers.
Philip D. Flora has worked in Bolivia and is currently a
partner of a dairy farm in Indiana. Wallace N. Lindskoog is a
specialist in Holstein dairy cattle breeding and is the owner of
Lindskoog Hatcheries and Arlinda Holsteins in Turlock, California.
Dr. Paul D. Thompson is a biomedical electronics engineer.
He has worked with the USDA Agricultural Research Service
specializing in the relationship between machine milking and
bovine mastitis. He is currently President of the Dairy Equipment
Company in Madison, Wisconsin.
VITA is a private, nonprofit organization that supports people
working on technical problems in developing countries. VITA offers
information and assistance aimed at helping individuals and
groups to select and implement technologies appropriate to their
situations. VITA maintains an international Inquiry Service, a
specialized documentation center, and a computerized roster of
volunteer technical consultants; manages long-term field projects;
and publishes a variety of technical manuals and papers.
UNDERSTANDING DAIRY PRODUCTION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
By VITA Volunteers John W. Hibbs and Walter G. Whittlestone
Dairy production in some form exists in most developing countries.
Cattle, water buffalo, goats, and sheep all provide milk
for human consumption in various regions of the world. In many
countries, however, cattle have been developed primarily as draft
animals resulting in low genetic potential for milk production.
Efforts to improve primitive dairy production practices have been
undertaken to provide more and better quality milk as a source of
highly nutritious food for humans, especially growing children.
Most of these efforts have been in the following areas:
o Breeding and selection of cows with higher milk-producing
potential and bulls with greater transmitting
ability for higher milk production.
o Better feeding practices to help cows produce to their
o Provision of a year-round supply of high quality
(highly digestible) forage through improved forage
harvesting and preservation and improved pasturing
o Control of infectious and metabolic diseases, some of
which are associated with higher levels of milk
o Better management of reproductive problems, including
raising calves for herd replacements.
o Sound milking practices, which aid in sanitation and
control of mastitis.
o Adequate housing for extremes in weather and climate.
o Improved sanitation and cold storage of the product,
especially when the milk is not consumed soon after
o Stabilized, year-round local markets for dairy products,
without which the dairy farmer cannot long survive,
in view of the high investment required to initiate
a successful dairy program.
o Provision of low-interest bank or government loan
credit, which can encourage beginning dairy farmers to
make the initial investment in cattle and facilities.
II. DAIRY PRODUCTION PRACTICES
The dairy industries in many industrialized countries have developed
elaborate facilities in an effort to: (1) save labor, which
is plentiful and inexpensive in most developing countries; (2)
provide protection for both the cattle and their caretakers from
cold in winter; and (3) provide sufficient sanitation and refrigeration
to ensure the keeping qualities of the product, for
shipping, long shelf life, and manufacturing procedures. It
should be kept in mind that very elaborate facilities are not
always necessary. In tropical countries, for example, cattle do
not need shelter from cold winters, and areas where milk is
consumed quickly and locally have different storage requirements.
Relatively high levels of milk production can be achieved without
elaborate facilities, and the dairy operation can be upgraded
gradually as economic conditions permit.
Improving dairy production begins with careful attention to
breeding in order to improve native cattle, to feeding practices
so as to assure good diet year-round, and to the harvesting and
preservation of forage.
BREEDING AND SELECTION
While the most rapid progress in increasing productivity can
result from raising or importing purebred European breeds, these
breeds are more susceptible to disease and extreme climatic
conditions, and the initial cost is higher. However, where high
standards of disease control and management of the environment
are possible, purebred European breed cows can do well in hot
climates if properly fed. This point has been demonstrated in
Israel where milk production of Holstein cows rivals that of the
most developed countries. It is also possible to start with cows
of native dairy breeds (mostly Zebus) and grade up the herd
through cross breeding, but this requires more time.
In some developing countries, rapid progress has been made in
increasing the milk-producing ability of cows through the use of
bulls or semen from European dairy breeds, notably Holstein,
Brown Swiss, Jersey, and Red Dane. In India, for example, the
offspring from native cows bred to Holstein or Brown Swiss bulls
produced about double the milk per lactation of the native cows,
approximately 3,600 pounds/lactation. This amount is about the
same as that produced by the Murrah water buffalo. The offspring
of the crossbred cows bred to bulls of European breeds have the
potential to produce even more, if fed in such a way that their
genetic potential can be reached. Often they are not adequately
fed. Cows possessing one-fourth to one-half native breed genes
will retain some of the disease resistance of the native breeds
and will be more resistant to heat than purebred cows of the
In view of the wealth of knowledge, gained through extensive
research in all phases of dairying around the world, most developing
countries would be well-advised to put emphasis on the
application and extension of existing knowledge rather than on
repetitious research, at least in the early stages of development.
This applies not only to breeding but to all phases of
Herd management is a major key in meeting the highest potential
of milk production for each cow. Careful management will make
the cow as comfortable as possible and reduce many elements of
stress that would adversely affect the animal's production.
Animal health is an important factor. For all age groups, one
needs to pay attention to a number of health practices. In
particular, there should be a good vaccination program for the
diseases common to the region (e.g., hoof and mouth, brucelosis,
rabies, etc.) It is also important to have a regular parasite
control program against internal and external parasites. Parasites
adversely affect the animal's production and lower its
resistance to disease and infection. In case of serious illness
or injury, veterinary advice is strongly recommended.
Providing housing or shelter is another step in making it
possible for the animal to reach its potential. The housing or
shelter can also be used for milking, making it more sanitary and
comfortable for the owner and cow alike. There are various setups
available for efficient dairy production. These include
stanchions (a device that fits loosely around a cow's neck and
limits forward and backward motion) and parlors. For a small
dairy, a simple stall is adequate. Dairy set-ups such as these
make the milking operation more efficient and also provide the
individual attention the animal needs. Sanitation is the most
important aspect in the milking process: The milking area and all
utensils (buckets) should be clean.
FEEDING AND NUTRITION
After procuring cows with the genetic ability to produce large
quantities of milk, it is important for dairy managers to develop
a "Production Philosophy of Feeding" as opposed to the all too
common "Survival Philosophy of Feeding," which limits intake to
minimum daily requirements.
In warm climates, where some type of edible forage is available
all year-round, the common practice is to feed whatever is available
that can be cut daily or scavenged by the cows. This forage
is often referred to as "green fodder" and may vary from high
quality berseem or alfalfa (70 percent digestible dry matter),
often in limited amounts, to mature sorghum, millet, corn,
mustard, etc., depending on the area involved and the season of
the year. This "green fodder" is often mixed with wheat straw
(wheat bhusa), rice straw, and other poorly-digested roughages
and supplemented to some extent with oil cake. This type of
feeding offers survival but low milk production.
To ensure that cows will produce to their genetic ability, a
uniformly high digestible source of nutrients must be supplied
year-round. In most situations this will require harvest and
storage of high-quality forage(s) for use when good "green
fodder" or good pasture is not available.
Research has shown that, when the dry matter digestibility of the
diet falls below about 67 percent, voluntary feed intake decreases
with declining digestibility. This decline is associated
with the indigestible residue in the intestinal tract and the
slower rate of digestion.
When the digestibility of the diet is maintained above about 67
percent, digestibility and the rate of digestion no longer limit
intake, and other factors, including nutritional needs for production,
govern voluntary intake. For cows to attain a maximum
voluntary feed intake and produce to their capabilities, they
must be fed a highly digestible diet, balanced for protein, on a
The poorer the quality of the roughage, that is, the lower its
digestibility, the more grain concentrate (high in digestibility)
is needed for adequate feed intake. Of all the nutritional
factors that influence milk production, digestibility of the
diet, as related to feed intake, is the most critical. If good
cows are limited in feed intake, they can not reach their producing
Table 1 clearly illustrates the effect of the stage of maturity
of the forage on protein content, dry matter digestibility,
voluntary intake, fecal dry matter excretion, milk production,
and the the amount of concentrate, balanced for protein, needed
to maintain milk production as the forage matures and its digestibility
declines. The forage in this experiment was cut and
chopped daily and fed individually free choice (eat at will) to
the Holstein and Jersey cows.
Effect of Stage of Maturity of Grass-Legume Forage
on Dry Matter Intake, Digestibility, and Milk Production 1.2/
Stage of Total Dry Matter Forage Dry Digestible Fecal Dry Milk Amount of
Day Maturity of Protein Digestibility Matter Intake Dry Matter Matter Production Grain
Alfalfa (Percent) (Percent) lb/day/1,000 Intake lb/day/1.000 lb/day Needed
lb body wt. lb/day/1,000 lb body wt. lb/day 3/
lb body wt.
May 17 Pre-bud 21.9 66.8 34.4 23.0 11.1 42.5 3.0
May 24 Bud 18.9 65.0 33.2 21.6 11.6 39.2 5.7
May 31 Early Bloom 15.9 63.1 32.0 20.2 11.8 34.0 8.4
June 7 Mid Bloom 14.0 61.3 30.6 18.8 11.8 31.4 10.9
June 14 Full Bloom 12.0 59.4 29.2 17.4 11.8 26.5 13.5
June 21 Late Bloom 10.0 57.5 27.8 16.0 11.8 23.4 15.7
June 28 Mature ---- 55.8 26.3 14.7 11.6 19.5 18.2
1 Data taken in part from Ohio Farm and Home Research, 46 (May-June 1961): 3, and Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station
Research Bulletin 914 (June 1962)
2 Fresh chopped forage fed daily free choice with only 3 to 5 pounds of concentrate/day respectively to Jersey and
Holstein cows. Data shown are weekly averages.
3 The amount of grain concentrate, balanced for protein, needed per 1,000 pound cow to have maintained the level of
production on May 17, 42.5 pounds/day.
In a six week period, protein content decreased more than half
from 21.9 percent to less than 10.0 percent; dry matter digestibility
declined from 67 percent to 56 percent; and voluntary
forage intake fell from 34.4 to 26.3 pounds/day/1,000 pounds
body weight. It is interesting to note that fecal dry matter
excretion remained nearly constant at about 11.8 pounds/day/1,000
pounds body weight. Thus, as digestibility of the forage
declined, cows were able to eat less and less forage in a 24-hour
period. However, as a result of their limited feed intake, milk
yield from these cows declined by 50 percent, from 42.5 to 19.5
The Holstein and Jersey cows in this experiment were fed a
concentrate mixture at the daily rate of 5 and 3 pounds, respectively.
The last column in Table 1 gives the estimated amount of
grain concentrate, balanced for protein, that would have been
necessary to feed in order to have maintained the initial level
of milk production of 42.5 pounds/day. While only 3-5 pounds was
fed at the beginning, 18.2 pounds/1,000 pounds body weight would
have been needed six weeks later when the forage had matured.
Thus, the poorer the forage quality, the more concentrate must be
fed to maintain production.
In hot climates maturity of forages advances even faster and low
digestibilities are reached in a shorter time. It is clear,
therefore, that forages should be harvested in an immature stage
of development. Legumes (berseen, alfalfa, etc.) should be harvested
in the pre-bloom stage, and grasses in the boot stage
(pre-emergence stage of the head). The same principle applies
whether the forage is harvested daily; cut, dried, and stored as
hay; cut, wilted, and ensiled; or harvested as rotated pasture by
Grain concentrates, including cereal grains, protein supplements,
and by-product feeds can be used to supplement the forage to
provide a balanced diet. The amount and content of the concentrate
will depend on the level of milk production and the quality
(digestibility) of the forage.
FORAGE HARVESTING AND PRESERVATION
In seasons when there is ample sunshine and warm temperatures,
hay-making is the best method of preserving legume and grass
forages. When weather does not permit hay-making without frequent
loss of the crop, silage can be made, after wilting to 35
percent or 45 percent dry matter for best preservation. If silage
is put up wetter than 35 percent dry matter, it may spoil or be
of poor quality due to abnormal fermentation. If much dryer than
45 percent, it may heat in storage to the point where the protein
is rendered indigestible.
Chopped forages can be made into silage in a number of ways: (1)
pits; (2) stacks covered with plastic to exclude the air; (3)
trenches; (4) bunkers; (5) upright silos, which are more expensive.
The most important factors for producing good silage are:
(1) harvesting the forage in an immature stage (legumes in the
pre-bloom stage and grasses in the boot stage); (2) chopping and
careful packing to help exclude air; and (3) ensiling at the
proper dry matter content--after wilting to 35-45 percent dry
In hot climates, forages become harsh and brittle when dry and
the leaves, especially legumes, fall off quickly when handled.
This is a loss of nutrients, because the leaves contain most of
the protein, minerals, and carotene-pro-vitamin A. The following
method of hay-making will result in low leaf loss, and can be
practiced by small village farmers to help provide a year-round
supply of high quality forage for their cows:
1. Cut and chop the forage. Many farmers have access to
either a hand- or motor-driven chopper (chaffer). 2. Spread
the wet green chopped forage in the sun on a smooth clean
surface (threshing area, roof top, courtyard, roadway,
etc.). 3. Stir the forage frequently to hasten drying. 4.
When dry, the leaves and chopped stems can be easily
gathered together without separation, and can be moved to
storage or to market by head load, bullock cart, or truck.
Any storage place in the village normally used for straw (bhusa)
or grains, such as thatched or mud-covered stacks or rooms in
buildings, can be used to store the chopped dried hay, either
bagged or loose. Any excess dried hay can be sold for a good
price as a cash crop in seasons when good forage is in short
supply. Prices should be based on the dry matter content of the
hay (100 pounds of dry forage at 90 percent dry matter would be
worth the same as 600 pounds of wet forage at 15 percent dry
MILKING AND MILK HANDLING
Many developing countries are tropical, which makes good hygiene
difficult. More than 10 percent of the milk produced in India,
for example, is lost due to spoilage. Thus, good hygiene means
more milk for human consumption.
The essential problem is to prevent contamination right from the
moment the milk leaves the udder. Likewise, cooling should start
as soon as possible. The approach to hygiene depends on the
facilities available. For example, in Israel there is often no
cooling water but plenty of sanitizers, while in parts of India
the reverse may be true. If ice-making facilities are available
at the milk collection center, hygiene can be greatly improved.
In developed countries, the use of machines to milk the cow and
cool the milk is widely practiced. But for a very small dairy
operation in a developing country, it is not recommended nor
economically feasible to start up with a milking machine. The
price of equipment, whether new or used, is extremely high and
importing milking equipment and parts to a developing country
might be difficult. Operators of larger dairies, where capital
costs may be met more easily, may wish to consider milking
machines because they offer important advantages in maintaining
Water Buffaloes. This animal milks best if it has been washed
or sprayed with water before milking. The custom of pouring
water over the animal before milking is common in India and has
the unfortunate effect of washing the dust and dirt on the
animal's body down round the udder and teats from which it may
run over the milker's hands and into the milker's pail with
disasterous effects on hygiene!
The ideal solution to this problem is to have a wallow such as
part of an irrigation ditch where the buffaloes may actually swim
on their way to the milking shed. They should then stand in a
shady place to "drip dry" before milking. This is a good time
to feed any supplements and adds further to the animal's contentment
before milking. It is essential to have shade--buffaloes
hate hot sunshine.
If a wallow is not possible a simple shower bath is good but care
is needed to ensure that enough water is used to wash away the
dirt that runs off. Such water need not be wasted--it has a
place in irrigation or even in washing down the cattle yards
before going into the irrigation system. "Drip drying" is
essential after a shower. When water is not available, good shade
is even more essential in the yards at milking time. In this
case, it is best to wash just the teats and lower udder. This
part of the animal is part of the cooling system due to the
vascular mechanisms in the teats. Washing thus helps to make the
buffalo comfortable and if only the lower part is wetted it is
possible to mop off the excess water. If possible all washing
water used this way should contain at least 200 parts per million
of chlorine. Just before hand milking, all water should be
squeezed off by hand. An udder cloth is not recommended.
Full hand milking should be carried out. The "stripping" method
common in India is damaging to the teats. The buffalo is a
"tough" milker but despite this, milk should be squeezed out with
full hand pressure, not by wringing the teat between thumb and
fingers. After milking, the teats should be dipped in a chlorine
Cows. This animal does not need the "water treatment," but shade
is desirable for holding yards. As with the buffalo, good
stimulation by rubbing the udders and squeezing the teats before
milking is needed. Unless adequate washing water with chlorine
in it is available, it is best not to try to wash more than the
teats and lower parts of the udder. Full hand milking is
It should be emphasized that the milking of both buffalos and
cows should be carried out with the teats as dry as possible.
The custom of dipping the milker's hands in the milk to provide
"lubriciation" for hand milking is quite unacceptable: It is a
major cause of bacterial contamination of the milk. If a lubricant
is thought to be essential, the use of coconut oil in small
quantities is helpful. Coconut oil is added to soap made from
this oil to make an udder wash. A small quantity of the creamy
mix is rubbed onto the udder surface and teats and washed away
with a final squeezing away of residual water. This makes an
All of the rules for good hygiene apply to machine milking.
However, mechanical milking makes it possible to reduce greatly
the potential for contamination of the milk. Experience with
machine milking buffaloes in India showed that there is an enormous
improvement in milk quality, as measured with the reductase
test, by using a simple direct-to-can milking system. The udders
were washed with chlorine solution with much rubbing and stimulation,
excess water removed and the machine applied without delay.
Likewise in Israel it has been shown that milking into a tank on
wheels and taking the milk to the cooling and collection center
as soon as milking is complete can result in good quality milk
even though there are no cooling facilities on the farm. This is
due to the transient anti-bacterial properties of freshly drawn
milk. There is little bacterial growth for the first half hour
The transport cans or mobile tanks are thoroughly washed at the
collecting center and returned with a quantity of chlorine
solution in the bottom. This keep the vessels sanitary until
needed when the chlorine solution may be used for rinsing the
milking equipment and finally for washing the udder and teats.
Any farmer milking more than 10 cows or buffaloes or 20-30 goats
will probably find that a simple machine is worthwhile if only
because of the improved milk quality made possible by mechanical
milking. The machine may be kept sanitary by soaking the milk
handling parts in caustic soda between milking snd rinsing with
chlorine solution before milking.
The milking of sheep and goats requires the same preparation
methods and general hygiene as for cows.
Care of Utensils
All milk containing vessels must be covered at all times. The
milker's bucket should have a partial cover to minimize dirt
falling in during milking. The receptacle into which the milk is
poured from the milker's bucket must be covered and provision
made for cooling when possible. A simple immersion cooler is
very helpful. Ideally, the milk should be refrigerated.
All vessels used for milk must be thoroughly scrubbed with a
detergent or soap. They must be rinsed with chlorine solution.
The latter is easily prepared when not available by passing an
accurately known amount of chlorine solution. The latter is
easily prepared when not available by passing an accurately known
amount of chlorine gas into a fixed amount of caustic soda solution.
This can be done cheaply by using a concrete pipe as the
receptacle, hanging the chlorine cylinder from a spring balance,
and bubbling in the right amount of gas. The solution is about
2.5 percent chlorine and is diluted to 200 parts per million for
When ice can be made at the milk collecting center or dairy
factory it is possible to improve the hygiene of milk transport.
The cans are fitted with lids that have a cone-shaped
attachment into which broken ice may be placed. When the can is
filled to the appropriate level the lid is fitted and the cone
filled with ice which then cools the milk on the way to the
collecting center. After delivery of the milk the can is cleaned
and filled with pieces of ice for the return trip. The ice is
kept under some sort of insulating cover until required at the
next milking. This crude form of refrigeration combined with
machine milking makes possible the production of reasonable
quality milk under difficult conditions.
New Developments in Hygiene
The "Alpom" System. This is a preservative based on the natural
anti-bacterial properties of fresh milk. It contains peroxide
and the enzyme lactoperoxidase. When mixed with the calf's
saliva, which contains thiocyanate, a very anti-bacterial substance
of short life is produced. The artificial addition of
peroxide and thiocyanate will inhibit bacterial growth for a
significant time. This method works for the milk of cows and
buffaloes but there are problems with goat milk because of the
chemistry of goat casein.
Thermization.(*) By the use of heat well below pasteurizing temperature
and thus not affecting the flavor of milk, it is possible
to inhibit bacterial development for a time. Thermization
is best done as soon as the milk is drawn and before it is cooled
for transport. The use of solar energy for heating the milk is
attractive in tropical countries and there is need for research
on this aspect of milk quality control.
Other Developments. There are a number of developments in the
advanced dairy countries that hold promise for developing countries.
These have arisen because of the fuel crisis. One is the
use of the roof of the cow shed, painted black, as a solar
absorber during the day to provide hot water. At night, water is
trickled over the open roof and radiation of heat into the night
sky results in substantial cooling of the water, which is stored
in a tank.
Another widely used practice is to spray water into the air or
run it over coke in a tower, thus causing evaporation. In a dry
climate this is a good way to produce cool water for milk cooling.
A more sophisticated approach is to use solar energy to drive an
absorption refrigerator. The capital cost is high at present but
there is little maintenance and operating costs are low.
(*) Thermization is conventionally carried out at 66[degrees centigrade] for 15
The equipment needed for dairying can be rather simple:
o Enclosed buildings may be needed, depending on the
o Milking facilities should include some way to restrain
cows while being milked, e.g., tie stalls, stanchions
(a device that fits loosely around a cow's neck and
limits forward and backward motion), either outdors or
in a building.
o Cleanable utensils are essential for receiving the milk
at milking time and storing the product until used or
sold. Facilities should be available to keep utensils
clean. This includes plenty of clean water and if
possible, sunlight for drying and holding down bacterial
o If the milk is to be held for more than a few hours,
some cooling device will be needed.
o Feed mangers (a trough or open box in a stable designed
to hold feed or fodder for livestock) of some kind for
feeding hay, silage, and concentrates, not necessarily
in the milking area.
o Cattle on pasture will require fencing or herding to
keep them from straying or destroying other crops.
o If milk is to be transported, some means of conveyance
and utensils for holding it will be needed. In some
areas, bicycles are used for transportation to market.
This will depend on local conditions.
The above facilities can be developed to whatever degree of
sophistication economic conditions warrant.
III. STARTING A DAIRY BUSINESS
Serious thought should be given to the most simple entry into
milk production. A very good option for the first step is dairytype
goats. If the area has insects and diseases that are potent
enough to require natural resistance, start with the native
females and breed with the milkiest imported males or frozen
Teach the youngest children to like to drink the goat milk first
and then work up the age groups. Any milk that cannot be used
immediately should be cooled to the temperature of the coldest
well water of the area as soon as it is milked. Since most
developing areas do not have cheap electricity and refrigerators
in homes, any cooperative milk plants should consider making
dried milk powder or the new sterilized milk containers to
provide long shelf life without refrigeration.
If the area has plenty of moisture, plant the highest protein
variety foliage and time the rotation of the pastures so that the
grass is eaten at a young age not to be too high in fiber or too
low in protein. Similarly, if the grass is cut for hay, cut it
often enough so that the fiber content is not too high and the
protein is still good. If fertilizer is reasonably priced, the
right kind and proportion can make the foliage much more
When the goat dairy is running well, and you can produce plenty
of good quality roughage and enough quality dry hay or ensilage
to tide you over during periods of dry weather, you are ready to
consider dairy cattle. Jersey cattle may adjust to extra warm and
humid climates better than other breeds since they are smaller in
size and the milk is higher in solids and protein. If you import
dairy females, consider only the type cattle that produce milk at
least cost, especially on roughage alone. Obtain advice from
those who are experienced in paying their bills with milk checks.
Space does not permit a full discussion of all of the important
areas in dairy development. However, the farmer can go a long
way toward success if careful attention is paid to the initial
selection or development of productive breeding stock, application
of the basic principles of feeding and nutrition, and the
provision of a year-round supply of high-quality forages, properly
supplemented with grain concentrate.
In many areas assistance with balancing rations, controlling
diseases, and other aspects of dairy management can be obtained
from veterinarians; dairy specialists located at agricultural
universities; the extension service in some countries; and
organizations such as VITA, Winrock International, The Heifer
Foundation, the Peace Corps, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller
Much concern has been expressed about the competition of dairy
cows with human beings for cereal grains. It should be kept in
mind that cows consume large amounts of feeds humans cannot eat.
Nearly all the supplemental protein fed to cows in the form of
cereal grains and oil cakes is returned as high-quality milk
protein. If urea is fed at recommended levels in the concentrate
mixture, there may be a 40 percent increase in milk protein
above that consumed by the cows in the form of protein edible by
An integral part of a country's dairy and livestock industries is
the development of a reliable feed industry to foster the
economic utilization of cereal and agricultural by-products,
urea and protein, and mineral and vitamin supplements. Feed
companies should be dedicated to the philosophy that "what is
good for the farmer is good for them!"
The potential for dairy production will rise rapidly as improved
breeding, feeding, management, and disease control practices are
established. Thirty years ago in the United States the better
dairyies were producing Holstein herd averages of about 10,000
pounds of milk/cow/laction. Today the best averages are 20,000
pounds/cow/lactation. Much of this increase is due to better
feeding methods and the widespread use of artificial insemination
using bulls proven to transmit high milk producing ability.
It is important that dairy operators in less developed areas of
the world employ the best dairy production practices within their
financial means. Progress, although often slow, will be certain
for those who are persistent and anxious to learn.
BIBLIOGRAPHY/Suggested Reading List
Bearden, H.J., and Schultz, L.H. Recommended Milking Practices.
Ithaca, New York: New York State College of Agriculture,
Cornell University, October 1961.
Bradt, C.G. Dairy Herd Managemnet for Health Production and Longer
Life. Ithaca, New York: New York State College of Agriculture,
Cornell University, May 1960.
Burgwald, L.H., and Strobel, D.R. How to Use Recombined Milk Ingredients
in Manufacturing Dairy Products. Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1957.
Colby, B.E. et al. Dairy Goats: Breeding, Feeding, and Management.
Publication 439. Amherst, Massachusetts: University
of Massachusetts, College of Agriculture, 1966.
Conrad, H.R.; Pratt, A.D.; and Hibbs, J.W.; "Regulation of Feed
Intake in Dairy Cows," Journal of Dairy Science. Vol. 47,
1964, pp. 54-62.
Food and Agriculture Organization. Animal Husbandry--What Cattle
Produce. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization,
Furry, R.B. Basic Arrangements of Milking Parlors with Stall
Barns. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Agricultural
Experiment Station, April 1962.
Gall, C. "Milk Production from Sheep and Goats, "World Animal Review.
No. 13. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization,
1975, p. 108.
Guthrie E.S. Making Butter on the Farm. Cornell Extension Bulletin
751. Ithaca, New York: New York State College of
Agriculture, Cornell University, 1948.
Higgs, J.W. "Preservation of High Quality Legumes as Hay in Hot,
Semiarid Regions." World Review of Animal Production XV,
1979, pp. 23-27.
Huff, H. "A Goat Milking Stand," Mother Earth News. January 1980,
Jamaica Livestock Association. Livestock Manual for the Tropics.
Kingston, Jamaica: Jamaica Livestock Association, January
Kidd, R. "From Milk Pail to Supper Table." Mother Earth News,
No. 72, November 1981, pp. 78-80.
Kidd, R. "Ten Commandments for Raising a Backyard Dairy Cow: Part
I," Mother Earth News, No. 70, July 1981, pp. 64-66.
Kidd, R. "Ten Commandments for Raising a Backyard Dairy Cow: Part
II," Mother Earth News, No. 71, September 1981, pp. 88-89.
Kosikowski, F.V. and Holland, R.F. The Sanitary Care of Milking
Equipment on the Farm. Cornell Extension Bulletin 941.
Ithaca, New York: New York State College of Agriculture,
Cornell University, 1963.
Wells, M., and Hobbs, W. Construction and Sanitation Requirements
for Producing Clean Milk. Experiment Station Bulletin No.
33. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Haile Sellassie University,
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