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Postpartum reproductive performance of crossbred dairy cattle on smallholder farms in sub-humid coastal Tanzania



Postpartum reproductive performance of crossbred dairy cattle on smallholder farms in sub-humid coastal Tanzania



Tropical Animal Health and Production 36(3): 269-279



The objective of this study was to monitor the reproductive performance of dairy cows in smallholder farms under the Tanga Dairy Development Project (TDDP). The findings can be used to improve reproductive efficiency. Dates of oestrus, artificial insemination (AI) or service by bull and calving were recorded, and pregnancy was diagnosed by rectal palpation. Daily milk yields, monthly body condition score (BCS) measured on the scale of 1-9, feed availability, calf rearing, and diseases were also recorded. Milk progesterone (P4) concentration was measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA) in 1327 sequential samples collected between day 15 and 120 in 46 post-partum Zebu x Friesian crossbred dairy cows. The mean interval from calving to first P4 rise above 2 nmol/L (cyclicity) was 66.1 +/- 6.8 days. Resumption of ovarian activity postpartum was early (< 60 days) in 45%, and late (> 60 days) in 55% of the cows. In about 45% of the cows the first post-partum ovarian cycles were short (< 14 days) and had low P4 concentrations. Oestrus was missed once or several times in 34.7% of the cows, most likely indicating poor oestrus detection, silent oestrus, or farmers deliberately not taking or reporting their cows for insemination. The mean interval to conception was within 130 days postpartum. Average daily milk production was 5.7 +/- 2.2 L and the mean BCS Was 3.1 +/- 1.3. Both milk production and BCS had no clear influence on the measured reproduction parameters. Clinical uterine involution was complete within 29 +/- 2.6 days of calving in the majority of cows. Progesterone profiles and rectal palpation revealed various causes of infertility, which included anoestrus, silent oestrus, irregular oestrous cycles, and infection of the uterus. The major causes of animal culling, death, slaughter or sales include tick-borne diseases and trypanosomiasis, which have high prevalences in the area, infertility, low productivity and old age. Greater attention should be focused on reproduction and its interaction with nutrition and disease control.

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Accession: 004276363

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15080542

DOI: 10.1023/b:trop.0000016834.65290.d6


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