Feeding dairy cows in the tropics


Proceedings of the FAO Expert Consultation
held in Bangkok, Thailand
7–11 July 1989

Edited by
Andrew Speedy
and René Sansoucy

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

ISBN 92-5-103029-4

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. Applications for such permission, with a statement of the purpose and extent of the reproduction, should be addressed to the Director, Publications Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.


Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.


List of participants
Medium-term outlook for dairying in the developing countries
  by W. Krostitz
The lactating cow in the various ecosystems Environmental effects on its productivity
  by H.D Johnson
Physiological constraints to milk production: Factors which determine nutrient pertitioning, lactation persistency and mobilization of body reserves
  by Y. Chilliard
Influence of nutrition on reproductive performance of the milking/gestating cow in the tropics
  by K.H Lotthammer
The role and mechanisms of genetic improvement in production systems constrained by nutritional and environmental factors
  by O. Syrstad (
Matching livestock systems with avialable resources
  by T.R. Preston
Nutritional characteristics of tropical feed resources: Natural and improved grasslands, crop residues and agro-industrial by-products
  by M. Chenost and R. Sansoucy
Feeding strategies for improving milk production of dairy animals managed by small-farmers in the tropics
  by R.A. Leng
Feeding riverline buffaloes for milk/dual purpose production
  by A.M. El-Serafy
Feeding swamp buffalo for milk production
  by S. Khajarern and J.M. Khajarern
Future prospects for fodder and pasture production
  by A. Aminah and C.P Chen
Forage and legumes as protein supplements for pasture based systems
  by F.A. Moog
The development of dairy farming in Thailand
  by S. Pichet
Milk production systems based on pastures in the tropics
  by Roberto Garcia Trujillo
Dairy production in the semi-arid rangelands of West Africa
  by Modibo Traore
Feeding systems and problems in the Indo-Ganges plain: Case study
  by V.C. Badve
Feeding dairy cattle in tropical regions of China
  by Cheng Nanging
Milk production systems in tropical Latin America
  by J.I. Restrepo, E. Murgueitio and T.R. Preston 189
Restricted suckling in dual purpose systems
  by J. Ugarte (
Heifer rearing in the tropics
  by J. Ugarte (
Feeding cows for milk production in the Arusha/Kilimanjaro coffee/banana belt of Tanzania. FAO project: assistance to smallholders in dairy development. Case study.
  by L.S. Morungu
Milk production from tropical fodder and sugarcane residues. Case study: on farm research in Mauritius
  by A.A. Boodoo
Training in the development of feed resources
  by R.W. Froemert

(*) These authors were unable to participate in the meeting.However their paper is included as a valuable contribution tothese proceedings.


The FAO Expert Consultation on Feeding Dairy Cows in the Tropics was held in Thailand in the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, from 3 to 7 July 1989.

Recent FAO statistics show that, while milking the same number of cows (about 110 million head) the developing countries (mainly located in the tropical zone) produce only 22 % of the whole fresh milk equivalent produced by the developed countries and 18 % of the total world production (461.5 million t). In addition, milk production in Asia and to a lesser extent in Africa was reduced from 1986 to 1987 due to drought and the policy measures taken by some countries. In spite of successful achievements such as “Operation Flood” in India, many failures have also been observed in the past.

The problems encountered in stimulating milk production in developing countries are very complex. As in other agricultural development operations many difficulties such as pricing, marketing, etc are beyond the control of the producer. However, technical constraints including nutrition, health and breeding, have still to be, and can be overcome.

Among these constraints the nutrition aspect is probably the first factor limiting milk production. The 1987 Conference of FAO drew attention to the increasing difficulty in providing the bulk of feed requirements for cattle through grazing, crop by-products and to a lesser extent, fodder crops.

Recent advances in the knowledge of ruminant nutrition physiology and in the nutritive value and techniques of utilization of feed resources including unconventional ones e.g. crop residues and agro-industrial by-products, provide scope for overcoming the forecasted feed shortage.

The purpose of this expert consultation therefore was to:

The opening speech was delivered by Mr. Vitoon Kamnirdpeth, Director General of the Department of Livestock Development, on behalf of the Royal Government of Thailand. First of all he expressed his government's appreciation to FAO for organizing this Expert Consultation in Thailand, and welcomed all the participants. He briefly reminded the Experts of the milk production history in Thailand which started only 30 years ago and has developed rapidly during the last ten years. Although milk production is increasing, milk consumption per caput is still low and the Government is trying to encourage the Thai population to consume more milk and milk products. He pointed out that the main problems that the dairy farmers encounter in Thailand are similar to those encountered in other tropical developing countries, particularly those concerning animal feeding but also breeding, health, etc…. This Expert Consultation will deal with the feeding of dairy cattle. It should be a good opportunity within this context to help increase milk production in tropical developing countries.

The welcome address was given by Mr. S.S. Puri, Assistant Director-General and FAO Representative for Asia and the Pacific. He first pointed out that the Expert Consultation would not only deal with dairy cows but also with buffaloes which are very important in Asia, especially in India where they are more numerous than cows. He mentioned that in Asia human diet is mainly dependent on rice/cereals which implies an unbalanced diet. Thus, in terms of non-cereal food diet, there is a need for increasing milk and meat production and availability. About 40 % of the number of cows in the world are in Asia, but they are only responsible for about 7 % of the world milk production. The productivity of the animals is low and did not follow the rapid increase of cereal yield in the last 20 years. For these reasons, diets are still deficient in good quality proteins and particularly those from milk and milk products. He also pointed out that in the tropical areas, there is very little land still available for pastures. For example, in India 96 % of the usable land is already cultivated. There is a need to increase feed in quantity and quality for milk production. Therefore this Expert Consultation on feeding is of great importance.

Technical secretaries were R. Sansoucy and P. Hassoun


AUSTRALIA:R.A. LENG Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Nutrition
University of New England Armidale, N.S.W. 2351
Telex: 166050 Tel: (067) 732707
Telefax: (067) 733122 E-mail: [email protected] (UUNET network)
CHINA:CHEN NANQING Senior Researcher in Tropical
Dairy Production Institute of Animal Husbandry
Academy of Agricultural Sciences Guangdong
c/o FAOR: Telex: 22664 FAO BJCN (CHINA)
Tel: 5322835/6/7 PABX
Instituto de Ciencia Animal Apartado 24, San José de las Lajas
La Habana c/o FAOR:
Telex: 512110 FAO CU (CUBA) Tel: 219717, 219155, 218470 (direct)
EGYPT:A.M. EL SERAFY Professor of Animal Nutrition
Ain Shams University 12 Kobry El-Kobba St.
Cairo c/o FAOR:
Telex: 21360 FOODAG UN Tel: 709084 (direct), 705182, 705029, 703412, 703475 Ext: 156
Chamber of Agriculture Weser-Ems
Mars-La-Tour Strasse 1 2900 Oldenburg
Telex: 25639 (Lakaol) Tel: 0441/801–640
Telefax: 0441/801180
FRANCE:M. CHENOST Senior Research Officer
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
63122 Theix, Ceyrat Telex: 990227F (INRATEX)
Tel: 73624075 Telefax: 73624450
Y. CHILLIARD Senior Research Officer
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
63122 Theix, Ceyrat Telex: 990227F (INRATEX)
Tel: 73624075 Telefax: 73624450
INDIA:V. BADVE Senior Research Officer
Bhartiya Agro-Industries Foundation Atx Post Urulikanchan - 412202
Dist. Pune India Telex: 145283 BAIF IN
MALAYSIA:Aminah ABDULLAH Senior Research Officer
Livestock Research Division, Malaysian Agricultural Research and
Development Institute (MARDI) P.O. Box 12301, General Post Office,
50774 Kuala Lumpur Telex: MARDI MA 37115 VVV
Tel: 03–9486601 Ext. 435
Centre National de Recherches Zootechniques
B.P. 262, Bamako Telex: 2426 FOODAGRI BAMAKO
Tel: 355055
MAURITIUS:A. BOODOO Senior Researcher
Animal Production Division Ministry of Agriculture
Le Reduit c/o UNDP:
Telex: 4259 UNDP IW (MAURITIUS) Tel: 23726/7
Telefax: (203) 084871 UNDP PORTLOUIS
PHILIPPINES:F.A. MOOG Chief Agricultural Development
Specialist, Research Division Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI)
Ministry of Agriculture Alabang - Metro - Manila
c/o FAOR: Telex: 64111 FAO PN or 23149 FAOR PH
Tel: 850611/30 Ext: 259, 8171654 (dir)
TANZANIA:L. MORUNGU National Team Leader
FAO Project URT/86/013 Assistance to Smallholder in Dairy
Development P.O. Box 3092 Moshi
c/o FAOR: Telex: 41320 FOODAGRI/KADC 43005-TZ (MOSHI)
Tel: 32979 (direct), 33914, 33917, 33910
FAO Regional Dairy Development and Training Team for Asia and the
Pacific P.O. Box 125
Chiang Mai University Chiang Mai 50002
S. KHAJARERN Professor
Department of Animal Science Faculty of Agriculture
Khon Kaen University Khon Kaen 40002
Telex: 55303 UNIKHON TH
S. PICHET Dairy Farming Promotion Organization
of Thailand Muaklek, Saraburi
Tel: (036) 244167
Fundación para el Desarrolló Integral del Valle del Cauca
Programa CIPAV Camera de Comercio
Apartado Aereo 7482 Cali, Colombia
Telex: 055724 Tel: 823271
Telefax: 824627 CALI COLOMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:H.D. JOHNSON University of Missouri-Colombia
Dairy Science Department 114 Animal Science Research Center
Colombia, Mo. 65211 USA
Telex: 704786 UM INTL AG UD
FAO:P. HASSOUN Associate Professional Officer
(Feed Resources), Animal Production and Health Division FAO HQ
via delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome
Telex: 610181 FAO I Tel: 57971
Telefax: 57973152/5782610
R. SANSOUCY Senior Officer
(Feed Resources), Animal Production and Health Division FAO HQ
via delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome
Telex: 610181 FAO I Tel: 57971
Telefax: 57973152/5782610 E-mail: [email protected] (EARN network)