Breed diversification in south western Uganda: characterization of a new cattle farming system
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keeping different genotypes (Holstein-Friesians or their crosses and pure Ankole) is emerging in South Western Uganda. In this system the Ankole, cattle are being crossed with Holstein-Friesian and the two genotypes are being kept in separate herds on the same farm. This is in response to the rapidly growing population, new land policies that favour individual land ownership [1, 2] high demand of livestock products in the urban centres and improved rural infrastructure. As part of a larger research program that aims at evaluating the ecological and economic sustainability of the new pastoral systems, a survey was undertaken of sixteen farmers selected from 3 sub-counties in Kiruhura District in South West Uganda. Two sets of detailed structured questionnaires were used to collect information from the farms. The 1st set was administered at the beginning of the study in April 2007, and the 2nd one was administered on a monthly basis for a period of the last 12 months. On each farm visit performance traits such as milk yield (MY), heart girth measurement (HG) and Body Condition Score (BCS) of the animals were recorded. Comparative MY, BCS and body weight performance for mature cows for the different genotypes are considered here. Majority (53.3%) of the farmers interviewed stated that they kept the two cattle types (genotypes) because the crossbreds gave them more marketable milk, while the Ankole provides security in case diseases or prolonged drought affected the crossbreds. Another group (19.9%) stated that they still prefer to keep Ankole cattle besides the crosses because they are hardy, while others (13.3%) stated that they kept Ankole for beef production because they were easier to sell off for this purpose and the crosses for milk production. Another 13.3% stated that the crossbreds were kept for income through milk sales and Ankole were kept for cultural reasons.