The Impact of Crossbred Cows in Mixed Farming Systems in Gujarat, India : Milk Production and Feeding Practices

  • Patil, B.R. (BAIF Development Research Foundation) ;
  • Udo, H.M.J. (Department of Animal Production Systems, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Wageningen Agricultural University)
  • Received : 1996.04.15
  • Accepted : 1997.03.24
  • Published : 1997.06.01


Holstein Friesian and Jersey crossbreds are being widely introduced in the state of Gujarat in India. This paper evaluates feeding practices at farm level and examines whether the crossbreds fit into the existing mixed farm systems. Over a period of four years milk-offtake and feeds offered were recorded for 1331 cows at fortnightly intervals. The breed and the amount of concentrates fed contributed most to the variation in milk offtake. The introduction of crossbred cattle has a major impact on smallholder mixed farming systems. Crossbreds produced, on average, 1.8 times more milk than Desi, Gir, and Kankrej cows. They were fed 1.4 times more concentrates, and about 1.2 times more green and dry feeds than local cows. The major limiting constraint is the quality of the roughages offered. Farmers with crossbreds try to adjust their feeding of concentrates according to the needs of their cows. On tribal farms, local cows produced less milk than on non-tribal farms, whereas crossbreds produced the same amount of milk on both tribal and non-tribal farms. Crossbreds fit into the farming systems of both tribal and non-tribal farmers. The differences in agro-climatic characteristics between different areas in Gujarat were not reflected in differences in milk offtakes.