Dairy Cattle Farming in Kars District, Turkey: I. Characteristics and Production


Abstract: The objectives of the present study were to determine farm characteristics and production traits on dairy farms in Kars. A 2-stage stratified random sampling strategy was used to select localities (7) and farms (45). The study involved an interview with the farmers and regular visits to the farms. The survey identified important farm characteristics including demography, production and management practices. The results describe (a) farm demographics (number of family members, education of farmers, animal caretakers employed, types of herds, herd sizes, breeds, and age categories), (b) farm management practices; management at feeding (type, source, storage of feedstuffs, feeding, water supply and use of feed supplements during the indoor and outdoor periods, and pasture management), management at calving (use of maternity pens, colostrum feeding, and grouping of calves) and management at housing (period of housing, types of buildings, use of bedding, ventilation systems, and building cleanliness), and (c) production traits (breeding methods, dry period, calving rate, milk yield and processes). Some identified practices (period of housing, dairy breeds, dry period, milk yield and calving rate) differ from those in previous reports and others (use of crumbled dung as bedding, rare use of maternity pens, water from streams during the outdoor period, and common use of pastureland) require serious attention in terms of cattle health. The results may be of use in designing strategies to overcome drawbacks that are detrimental to feasible and profitable farming and also in forming bases for future epidemiological studies in Kars.

Keywords: Farm demography, farm characteristics, management practices, production trait, dairy cattle

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