Small-Scale Dairy Farming Manual

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Dairy Farming Manual

Volume 4

Husbandry Unit 7.3

page 141

Extension Materials
What should you know about milk recording?
What is milk recording? (5-6)

1 Milk recording is:
- measuring milk yield and composition
- keeping records.

 Why do you need milk recording? (7-10)

2 To make decisions about:
- feeding
- selecting animals
- culling animals.

 How can you record yields? (11-19)

3 You need to:
- weigh milk yields
- take milk samples
- keep records.

What is official recording and why should you cooperate? (20-27)

4 To improve selection of animals and production of:
- your family and neighbours
- farmers throughout your country.


  page 143


Husbandry Unit 7.3: 

Technical Notes

Note: Numbers in brackets refer to illustrations in the Extension Materials.

Milk recording is the process of making measurements of the yield and composition of milk produced by individual animals and recording them.  (5-6)

Such records are of great value for making decisions on
- feeding cattle and buffalo  (7)
- selection of calves with a higher capacity to produce (i.e. calves from high yielding 
   animals)  (8)
- progeny testing of bulls  (9)
- removing (culling) unproductive animals.  (10)

page 145

 What is milk recording?
5 In milk recording, you measure the:
- milk yield
- milk composition
of each of your animals.
6 You record the yield and composition.
Why do you need milk recording?

7 Milk recording helps you make decisions on:
- feeding cattle and buffalo (see H.4 Feeding)

- selecting calves from animals with high yields because they should have high yields when they grow


  page 146

Recording by owner

In its simplest form milk recording involves the measurement and recording by the owner of the quantity of milk produced daily by each individual animal.  The common practice is to measure the yield in kg using a suitable balance or a bucket or other container calibrated in 0.5 kg intervals.  (11-12)

The daily yield is used as a basis for making decisions on feed-ing.  (See Unit H.4)

page 147

- selecting bulls which can produce animals with high yields
- culling animals with low production.
How can you record daily milk yield?

11 You usually measure daily milk yield in kg:
- with a suitable balance

- or with a bucket marked for each 1/2 kg of milk.
Daily yield helps you make decisions on feeding. (H.4)
  page 148

The lactation yield is obtained by adding the daily yields.  This is a valuable criteria for making decisions on culling unproductive animals and selecting of calves.  (13)
An improvement on this simple method would be to get the butter fat content measured about once a month.  Assistance of the extension officer or the dairy cooperative will have to be obtained for this purpose.   (14)

To measure the average fat content of the milk on a particular day, a proportionate sample of the milk produced at each milking during the day has to be collected, e.g. if 10 kg are produced in the morning and 5 kg in the afternoon milk, the sample has to contain 10 ml from morning milk and 5 ml from afternoon milk.  A preservative like Potassium Dichromate has to be added to the sample to prevent it clotting.  (15-16)

page 149

13 By adding all the daily yields for one animal, you get the lactation yield.

This helps you decide on culling and selecting calves.

14 You should also measure the butter fat content of your milk once a month.
Consult your extension worker or dairy cooperative.
15 Take a 0.1 % sample from each milking on one day of the month e.g.
- 10 ml if you have 10 kg of morning milk
- 5 ml if you have 5 kg of afternoon milk.


16 Add a little preservative (e.g. Potassium Dichromate) to stop the sample clotting.

  page 150

Information on daily milk yield of several cows can be recorded in a single page as shown opposite.  (17)

Information on monthly milk yields can be recorded in the format given in Annex I. (18)

When lactation is completed, the information on each individual cow can be recorded in the format given in Annex II.  (19)

page 151

17 You can use this table to record daily milk yields.

    Daily milk yield (kg) during the month of __________

Date Cow No. 1 Cow No. 2 Cow No. 3 Remarks
  am. pm. am. pm. am. pm.  
Results of Butter Fat Test
18 You can use the table in Annex 1 to record monthly milk yield
19 and the table in Annex 2 to record lactation yield for each of your animals.

  page 152

Official recording

In Asia only a few countries have official milk recording schemes.  Even in those countries, only a few herds in a limited area are covered.

In official recording, an extension officer from the government or from the dairy cooperative visits each farm, records the milk yield of each individual animal and collects appropriate samples for measuring the milk composition.  Subsequently, the farmer is provided with information on yield and composition of milk of each cow. (20-21)

As official recording involves heavy cost, mainly on salaries of recorders and their travelling expenses, an attempt is made to reduce the number of visits.  Some of the practices adopted are:

- fortnightly recording, which is adequate for all recording purposes;  (22)

- monthly recording, which gives a high accuracy for progeny testing purposes, but which only gives some guidance in selecting and feeding individual animals;  (23)

page 153

What is official recording and why should you cooperate?
20 In official recording, an extension worker from the government:
-visits your farm
-records milk yields for each animal
-takes samples to measure composition.
21 After checking, he sends you information on:
-your milk yields
-the composition of your milk.
22 Frequent visits are better but cost a lot of money.
Visiting every two weeks is best for recording.
23 Visiting every month is :
-enough for breeding purposes
-enough for some guidance for feeding and selecting animals.
  page 154

 - bimonthly recording, which is adequate for progeny testing but not sufficient for individual selection and feeding;  (24)

- a.m. and p.m. sampling, where morning milk is weighed and tested in one month and afternoon milk is weighed and tested next month - more accurate than bimonthly but less accurate than monthly recording.  (25)

Whatever the procedure adopted, farmers should be encouraged to cooperate with any official recording programmes, because they serve as a basis for:

- checking farmer's own recordings for deciding on individual animal selection and feeding;  (26) 
- improving the productivity of the national cattle and buffalo herds through sire selection by progeny testing.  (27)

page 155

24 Visiting every 2 months is:
-enough for breeding purposes
-not enough for guidance on feeding and selecting animals.
25 Visiting to weigh and test:
-morning milk one month
-afternoon milk the next month
is better than visiting every two months.
26 Cooperating with official recording helps you by:
-checking your recording
-giving you guidance on feeding and selecting animals.
27 It also helps improve the selection of animals and production of farmers
-in your neighbourhood
-in your country.


  page 156

Annex I
  Monthly Milk Yield
Cow No. Cow No. Cow No.
  Milk kg Fat % Milk kg Fat % Milk kg Fat %

page 157

Annex II

Breed: .............................................................. Tattoo No: .........................................................

Date on Birth: .............................. Born of Farm: .......................Cause of Death:...........................
or                                                     or               Disposal            or
Date of Purchase: .........................Purchased from:........................Sold to:..................................
Sire's No: .......................................................................................Dam's No. .............................

of Fertile
No. of Bull used for Service
of Calving
Age at Calving
No. Allotted to Calf
Sex and Weight of Calf (kg)
Disposal of Calf
305 day Milk Yield (kg)
Total Milk Yield (kg)
Butter Fat 
Date of Drying Off
No. of Days in Milk
No. of Days off Milk

History (sheet) of cow                                                                         Tattoo No.
Fertile Service                                                                                     Age at the calving
No. of days in Milk                                                                               No. of days dry

page 159

What do you know about milk recording?
What milk recording is
1 Taking measurements of yield and composition 
2 Keeping records 
Reasons for milk recording
To make decisions on:
1 Feeding
2 Selecting calves 
3 Selecting bulls 
4 Culling 
Recording yields
1 Daily milk yield (decisions on feeding)
- balance 
- graduated bucket
2 Lactation yields (decisions on culling, selection) 
3 Butter fat content 
4 Daily record form 
5 Monthly record form 
6 Lactation record form 
Official recording
1 Farm visits:
- recording yields and sampling 
- information and guidance 
- 2 weekly visits 
- monthly visits 
- 2 monthly visits 
- monthly morning/afternoon sampling 
2 Reasons for cooperation 

page 160

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