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1  Department of Livestock Management, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan Sub-Campus Toba Tek Singh


Buffalo and cattle are our main dairy animals, comprising 30% of the total livestock. Out of total milk produced in the country, buffalo contributes about 68 %, followed by cattle (27%) and rest (5%) by sheep, goat and camel collectively. They are kept both in rural and periurban dairy production systems. These dairy animals mostly strive on low-quality feedstuffs including roughages and crop-residues with poor nutritive value, resulting in poor production and reproduction performance. Recent investigations and published data show that there is a justification of a concern about whether the production and physiological stages of dairy animals are always adequately considered, with overfeeding of non-productive and under-feeding of productive animals, leading to poor feed use efficiency. There is no separate feeding system for different classes of the dairy animals. Furthermore, in the prevailing dairy production scenario there is no efficient feeding system especially devised for growing heifers (kept as replacement for the herd) to reduce their age at puberty, with a significant reduction in the cost of feeding. Similarly, introduction of milk replacer and early weaning of calves would be effective in improving dairy farm economics, without any adverse effects on growth if good quality calf starter is used. Fodder scarcity during certain times of the year (November to January and May-June) in Pakistan is another big constraint toward sustainable dairying. It is concluded that more efficient feed utilization in these dairy production systems could be achieved by developing innovative approaches and solutions (such as improving hay and silage making) to fight these scarce periods. Developments in dairy nutrition should also be embraced, such as establishment of nutrient requirements for local dairy breeds, adopting group feeding practices of dairy animals according to stage of lactation and production status, a proper feeding systems for growing heifers and effective milk replacer feeding for calves. These practical and innovative steps could effectively lead toward sustained dairy production in Pakistan.

Keywords: Dairy Production; Feeding Management; Resource Use Efficiency; Feeding System; Nutrition