Nutritional Status of Dairy Cattle in theNorth-Western Himalayan Region of the Kashmir Valley

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agril, Science and Technology ofKashmir, Shuhama, Alusteng, Srinagar, 190006, India


A field study was conducted in nine villages, three each from Kupwara, Handwara and Karnah Tehsils of Kupwara district, to find out the nutritional value of feeds and fodders, existing feeding practices and nutritional status of dairy cattle. Data was collected from the fifteen farm families from each of the nine were randomly selected through a common questionnaire. All the farmers were found to add the basal diet(paddy straw, rice bran and wheat bran) with salt (NaCl)) and none of the farmers used a mineral supplement with the diet. The mean values of daily dry matter intake (DMI) for lactating cows was 19.61 and 43.93% above the estimated feed intake accordingto the feeding standards (FS) for Kupwara and Handwara tehsils The DMI of dry cows was 41.40 and 37.21% above the DMI stated in the FS requirements. According to the live body weight of heifers, the daily DMI was observed to be 22.90, 46.78 and 6.80% above DMI requirements in the Kupwara, Handwara and Karnah tehsils, respectively. The daily digestible crude protein (DCP) intake in case of lactating cows was 12.65 and 38.10% above their requirement for Kupwara and Handwara tehsils. The dry cows has a DCP intake that was 19.81 and 19.94% above FS requirements in Kupwara and Handwara tehsils. Heifer daily DCP intake was 10.24 and 80.16% below FS requirements in Kupwara and Karnah tehsils, respectively The daily intake of DCP for calves was 29.5, 29.6 and 78.4 % below FS requirements in the respective tehsils. The daily intake of total digestible nutrients (TDN) were above FS requirements by 36.70, 55.9 and 7.6% for lactating cows; 51.10, 48.49 and 11.65% for dry cows; 45.85, 60.0 and 18.54% for heifers; 2.70, 14.7 and 11.7% for calves in the respective tehsils. The milk urea nitrogen concentration of the lactating cows were 18.55±0.74, 21.29±1.31 and 16.87±1.41 mg/dl for the respective tehsils. It was concluded that most of the farmers rear non-descript indigenous cattle of low body weight potentially to a general trend of under feeding protein in calves and sometimes growing heifers, which limits milk production. The genetic potential of the dairy cattle, nutrient imbalance in the diet and farmer awareness of balanced diets are also a potential problem.


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