Milk Production and Body Weight Change of Cross-Bred Dairy Cows as Affected by Walking Distance and Breed Variations

Tesfaye Tadesse


The study was conducted in Bako Agricultural Research Centre, in Western Ethiopia with objectives of assessing the impact of breed and walking distance on milk production. Two breeds of dairy cows (50% Horro X 50% Friesian= HF and 50% Horro X 50% Jersey= HJ) were used to conduct this experiment. The cows were assigned to three walking distance groups: WD0= grazing around the barn, WD1.5= grazing 1.5km away from the barn and WD3.0= grazing 3km away from the barn. The experiment was arranged as a 2 x 3 factorial in RCBD. A total of 36 cows uniform in previous lactation milk yield and at mid stage of lactation were involved in the study, and they were grouped into two based on the period of joining the experiment. The result showed that the mean daily milk yield of cows was higher (p<0.05) for WD0 cows than WD3.0, while milk yield of WD1.5 cows was not different from WD0 or WD3.0. The mean protein content of milk from HF cows (27.03 g/kg) was significantly higher (p<0.05) than HJ cows (25.2 g/kg). The mean milk protein content of cows in WD1.5 (27.8 g/kg) was significantly (p<0.05) higher than those inWD0 and WD3.0. The mean milk fat composition of HJ cows (57.7 g/kg) was significantly (p<0.05) higher than HF cows (51.0 g/kg). HF cows lost weight while HJ gained during the experimental period. Dairy cows in WD0 had higher mean body weight and better gain compared to those walked 1.5 and 3.0 km. This study further demonstrated that the loss of BW at longer distance of 3.0 km was higher for HF (-4.1 kg) compared to HJ (-1.0 kg) cows.

Keywords: Horro cows; walking distance; milk yield; cross-bred dairy cows

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