The potential of replacing conventional dairy supplements with forage legume-based diets in Zimbabwe’s smallholder dairy sector
Impact factor: 1.250 (Year: 2016)
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Lovemore Gwiriri, Godfrey Manyawu, Promise Mashanda, Irenie Chakoma, Siboniso Moyo, Charles Chakoma, Hazel Sethaunyane, Venancio Imbayarwo-Chikosi, Sikhalazo Dube, Barbara Maasdorp. (22/7/2016). The potential of replacing conventional dairy supplements with forage legume-based diets in Zimbabwe’s smallholder dairy sector. African Journal of Range & Forage Science, 33(3), pp. 155-163.
The effect of replacing commercial supplements with isoenergetic and isonitrogenous velvet bean-, cowpeaand lablab-based supplements on milk yield, milk quality and economic returns in smallholder crossbred dairy cows was investigated in the 2013 and 2014 dry seasons. Using 3 × 3 Latin square designs, nine multiparous Red Dane, Guernsey and Holstein-Friesian crosses in mid-lactation (130 ± 19 d) were offered forage legume-based supplements for 63 d at 0.5 kg per litre of milk produced. Milk quantity and quality were significantly (P < 0.05) different among supplements in both seasons. Cows fed commercial supplements had higher milk yield than cows fed forage legume supplements. Milk fat content was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in cows fed lablabbased supplements than cows fed other supplements. Milk protein, total solids and lactose content of cows fed commercial supplements was significantly (p < 0.05) higher than those fed forage legume-based supplements, although protein content was similar to cows fed lablab-based supplements. Dietary gross margins were higher for cows fed velvet bean- and lablab-based supplements by 17% and 16.5%, respectively. Based on supplement, production costs per litre of milk was higher by 28% and 23% using commercial supplements compared to velvet bean and lablab supplements, respectively.