Backgrounder on dairy production

| October 28, 2019

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Raising dairy cattle can be a very productive enterprise. But there are many aspects to caring for dairy animals, ensuring that they’re healthy, and ensuring that they’re productive.

For example, farmers involved in dairy production need to know:

  • How to design and construct a proper cow barn.
  • How to feed dairy cows to ensure maximum milk production.
  • How to properly milk cows.
  • How to handle milk to prevent contamination.
  • How to ensure that their cows receive feed in the correct quantity, type, and from the correct source.

Farmers need to know that:

  • Dairy cows need access to quality feed and water for at least 22 hours per day.
  • Dairy cows require 12-14 hours daily rest where they lie down.
  • A dairy cow that produces at least 30 litres of milk daily (a “high milk production cow”) should consume 4% of its body weight in dry matter every day.
  • High milk production cows can drink over 150 litres of water daily in hot seasons.
  • An increase in temperature of four degrees Celsius increases water needs by 6-7 litres daily.
  • Pregnant and milking cows require more minerals, and in particular large amounts of calcium and phosphorous.
  • In tropical East Africa, lactating cows require 60-70 litres of water daily for maintenance, and an extra 4-5 litres of water for every litre of milk they produce.

Learn more in this backgrounder.