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Advantages of zero grazing dairy cattle production systems

  • Diversification of household income sources.
  • On-farm production of milk, which improves household nutrition.
  • The animals are kept inside which is more secure and protect them from attack by predators.
  • Increased opportunities for small-scale farmers to keep improved dairy animals.
  • The feeds are utilised well—- reduced pasture damage.
  • Many animals can be fed from a very small area.
  • Easy collection of manure for soil fertility improvement, crop and biogas production.
  • Increased use of crop residues, fodder grasses, legumes and multipurpose fodder trees and shrubs in producing high value products,
  • Disease and pest control made easier.
  • Easier animal health management.
  • Close observation of the animals is possible, making heat detection and attendance to animals easier and faster.
  • In addition to milk production, a farmer also gets calves, which in turn grow up into heifers, which will produce more milk, or a bull, which can be sold to generate more income.

Disadvantages of zero grazing dairy cattle production systems

  • Requires animals of higher genetic potential to make economic sense, which is more expensive.
  • More resources (capital and labour) are devoted to construction of a zero-grazing unit, chopping the fodder, feeding in the stalls, cleaning the stalls and transporting manure to the fields.
  • Large amounts of pasture and supplements required for high milk producers.
  • Increased expenses on disease control and treatment, because high milk producing cows are more susceptible to diseases such as milk fever.
  • Diseases can easily spread to animals in the same enclosure because stalls might be too close.
  • There is a possibility that animals are stressed because of too much confinement inside the zerograzing units.
  • It might not be easy to detect cows with silent heat if you are keeping one cow.


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