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Small farmer feeding dairy cattle. ©FAO/Jon Spaull


A virtual course enhanced capacity of extension workers to manage feed efficiently


An e-course on  “Feeding management of dairy cattle in tropical countries” was organised jointly by the FAO Regional Office for Africa and the Animal Production and Health Division based in Rome. A total of 22 participants from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Zambia and Mauritius participated in the e-course.


The e-course is available from the FAO e-learning platform. The learning through the e-course was supported by four weekly webinars, which provided additional learning opportunities by re-emphasising the key points from the e-course. These webinars also gave the participants the opportunity to ask questions and obtain clarification and further information.  In addition, each webinar was recorded so that others could learn from them. Almost 50% of the participants benefitted from these recordings because they were unable to participate in the webinars due to slow Internet speed.

The course and the webinars covered the following topics:

  • Principles of dairy nutrition and feeding management as cows move through their annual lactation cycle
  • Quantification of the likely milk responses to changes in intakes of feed nutrients so that a ration can be formulated to achieve a targeted milk yield
  • A practical session on trouble shooting feeding problems
  • Specific aspects of dairy production technology such as rearing young stock and feeding for improved fertility

The participants learnt:

  • Good feeding management
  • How to calculate nutrient requirements of animals
  • Balanced feeding of animals
  • Impact of feeding on animal production and health

The wide variety of topics updated their technical knowledge on forage cultivation, chemical residues, mineral premixes, rearing heifers, milk responses to improved feeding, improving herd fertility, the lactation cycle, feed formulation, principles of balanced feeding and pregnancy diagnosis.

The feedback obtained from the participants regarding the e-course and webinars was highly satisfactory. Quoting one participant: “Now I will advise farmers confidently how to feed their dairy animals balanced feeds and formulate feeds at low costs in order to increase milk productions".

The webinars were conducted by Dr. John Moran from Australia and were coordinated by Harinder Makkar with the excellent technical support of Nadia Rumich from FAO.
The recordings of the webinars are available at: www.feedipedia.org