Determinants of Productivity of Dairy Cows in Uganda
The purpose of this study was to explore the determinants of cow productivity; to enable farmers and Uganda at large exploit the competitive advantage in milk production for socio-economic development. The study employed the ANCOVA model to depict the changes in milk yield as a result of demographic characteristics, farm management factors and health extension services and to what extent these factors affect productivity. The study used secondary data collected during the 2015 annual survey by the East Africa Dairy Development 2 (EADD2) project. A study sample of 666 cattle farmers was considered. To ensure unbiased results, the model was tested for hetrosckedasticity using white test and generalized least squares was used to avoid underestimation of the standard errors. Results from the findings revealed that on average a cow produced 5.29 liters of milk per day with an average lactation length and parity number of about 4.82 months and 2.63 respectively. There were a lot of variations in milk yield between individual cows within a certain dairy breed with highest being Holstein-Friesian (8.75 liters) and the least being Ankole (2.2 liters). Cows watered throughout the day produced more milk (7.78 liters) compared to ones watered less. Farmers that grazed under the intensive farming system produced more milk compared to the extensive. Similarly, farmers whose cows received health services had more to benefit in terms of increased milk production than those who did not. According to this study, the determinants of cow productivity were revealed to be Parity, lactation length, cow type, watering frequency, farming system, access to health extension services and pregnant status of a cow. It is recommended that improved cattle breeds by either crossing or purchasing pure breeds be adopted since these are high yielders of milk compared to the indigenous Ankole cattle and Local Zebu, if possible, water lactating cows throughout the day, farmers seek health extension services and seek to be trained in improved dairy cattle management practices.
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