A Study of the Performance of some of Production, Reproductive and Economic Traits of Cattle in Smallholder Dairy Farms in Chaharmohalo Bakhtiari Province



Four hundered and ninety five (495) smallholder dairy farms active in 52 villages of different cities in Chaharmohalo Bakhtiari Province, keeping 1321 lactating within a total of 2811 mature cows (lactating and dry) were used. These herds were taken during winter 2009 to summer 2010 to assess some of the production, reproductive and economic performance traits under smallholder management system. A questionnaire survey was applied to collect retrospective data from the previous year's information, recorded information, direct recordings during the visit of the farms and as well interview with the smallholder farmer. The smallholder dairy farms included 441 small farms (89.09%), and 54 medium size farms (10.91%). From a breed aspect, there were: 11 native breed farms (2.22%), 327 cross bred farms (66.06%), and 157 Holstein breed ones (31.72%). The production performance figures were recorded as 30.56, 22.21 and 13.30 kg for total milk yield on farm, milk sold on farm and daily milk production per cow, respectively. A 62.75% of milk was reported as sold per total milk produced. The overall mean reproductive figures were recorded as 30.07 months for age for the first calving, 15.77 months for calving interval, 335.96 days for average lactation length and 6.99% for calf mortality rate. The mean daily feed consumption per cow was recorded as 15.85 kg, containing 25.69% of concentrate. The mean daily feed expenses and return from sale of milk were 35786 and 45765 rails, respectively. The ratio of feed expenses to income from milk and price of milk to feed ratio were found as 75.76% and 159%, respectively. The average herd size was 5.86 heads, including 2.21 lactating cows, and 2.67 total mature cows while the rest male and female calves. Also, the proportion of lactating cows to total cows and to total herd were estimated as 84.83% and 42.66% respectively. There were significant variations observed among different seasons, city and breed for most of the traits.