The overall aim of the current project is to increase reproductive performance and lactation yields in local Zebu cows.
To describe general practices regarding management of Zebu cattle in the Bolero EPA, Rumphi District. To determine reproductive and lactation performance and important influencing factors in Zebu cattle calving in fall. To determine the prevalence of possible infectious causes for reproduction and production inefficiency in Zebu cattle
Among 101 cows followed from calving in the dry period of 2015, 53 were pregnant and 48 non-pregnant after six months. Calf mortality is an important factor impairing food production from the zebu cattle in the region. Supplemental feeding of Gliricidia sepium leaves was positively associated with the length of the lactation period. This shows a potential for enhanced milk yield and thereby improved food security. Blood serology showed low prevalence of common infectious diseases, such as East cost fever, babesiosis, brucellosis, neosporosis and BVDV. The prevalence of Coxiella burnetii was high. This is a zoonotic disease that attack humans.
A relatively short period from calving to start of sexual activity, and considerably variability in pregnancy rate at 6 month between cows, herds and agricultural sections, point towards a potential to maintain reproductive performance during the dry period by applying adequate management in Zebu cattle in Northern Malawi.
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