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Introduction

Botswana is a net importer of dairy products from neighbouring countries, the government engaged consultants under NAMPAADD to come up with recommendations to enable Botswana to produce food for food security. This therefore means Botswana should make efforts to foster dairy development plans wherever the potential exists.  In so doing the gap between production and consumption of dairy products in the country will be narrowed.

Modernization of the dairy industry along the lines of large scale enterprises found in developed countries is the best strategy for assuring increased milk and dairy products.  However this model may not be adaptable under our conditions. Rather consideration should be accorded to the peculiarity in our livestock production systems to determine how to modify and adopt the model in order to ensure its successful application under our condition.

The MOA has conducted extensive studies on the subject and has prepared a comprehensive dairy handbook that tries to identify some of the fundamental issues in a profitable dairy enterprise. The key findings are that a minimum of 50 dairy cows is the recommended ideal herd size to give farmers a reasonable return to continue production and reduce milk imports. Furthermore, the output of Botswana's approximately 5000 dairy cows could be increased substantially, from the current average of around 10 litres of milk per cow per day to between 50 and 60 litres. Proper feeding strategies and a regular supply of fresh water would also assist in boosting output.

 

Popular Breeds

The term dairy breed is used to differentiate those cattle that are bred primarily to produce milk against those that are used for meat production.  Dairy cattle may be defined as a particular group of animals developed in a certain area for a definite purpose and having the same general characteristics such as colour, conformation and quality of product i.e. milk.  A purebred dairy cow is one whose ancestry traces back to the same breed.   A registered dairy cow is a purebred that has been registered by a particular breed association.  There are six (6) major dairy breeds of which 4 are widely found in Botswana: Friesians/Holsteins, Jerseys, Guernseys and Dairy Swiss (Braunveih).  Dairy cattle not common in Botswana are Aryshires and Dairy Shorthorn.

 

Dairy Farming Handbook

MOA has prepared a comprehensive guide for potential dairy farmers. The guide can be downloaded from the link below. Key topics covered in the guide book are:

·         Dairy breeds

·         Dairy farm workers

·         Reproductive cycle

·         Bull management

·         Calves rearing

·         Rearing of dairy heifers

·         A Basic ration for bulling heifers

·         Dairy nutrition

·         Feeding

·         Feeding incalf heifers

·         Feeding first lactators

·         Factors influencing milk production in lactating cows

·         Number of milking per day

·         Dry cows management

·         Milk secretion

·         Clean milk production

·         The milking parlour

·         Machine milking

·         The health of a cow

·         Mastitis prevention

·         Dairy herd records

·         Botswana Dairy Association

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