Dairy cattle: Which production system is most viable?

Dairy farming is an excellent option for investors. The first step before investing in the activity is defining the type of animal production system. First of all, this choice must be based on the needs of the producer. That is, the system must meet the demands of your property.

Today, in Brazil, there are several management methods, different breeds of dairy cattle with different characteristics and productivity. For this reason, some factors such as nutritional management and availability of food, local climate, animal genetics, and the financial availability of the rural producer are decisive for the definition of the most viable production system.

Brazil is the 4th largest milk producer globally, and the demand in the dairy market makes production a very competitive market. Therefore, professionals working in the area are looking for efficiency in the production process, given its demands. 

If you invest in dairy cattle, you need to understand some topics ranging from farm facilities, nutritional management, health, and milking animals. But, as we discussed earlier, the first step is to choose the production system.

To end this one of the main doubts of the professionals who work in the sector, we made this article with the production system types. He will surely guide you on your journey to success. 

Prepared? So, come on!

Types of production systems for dairy cattle

Extensive system

This type is characterized in the creation of animals on pasture. In such a way, the base of the feeding is the pastures. In this system, animals are also placed in rotated paddocks with irrigation to ensure that there is time for pastures to be reformed.

They are relatively simple about the facilities and are limited to a corral, in which the cows are milked. 

In conclusion, the great advantage of this method is a low investment. On the other hand, the disadvantage is the need for large spaces with the availability of pasture for animals’ occupation. Also, if the handling is not performed correctly, it can generate low productivity!

Semi-intensive system

In this case, the animals are raised on pasture and receive the reinforcement of voluminous supplementation in times of drought (with less growth of pasture) or some cases throughout the year. In the semi-intensive system, food is provided in the stable at the time of milking. Furthermore, it allows the application of technological processes in creation. So, it is widespread for farms with this system to adopt artificial feeding practices and artificial insemination.

In this system, dairy cattle are fed with forage with a high support capacity and voluminous supplementation (such as sugarcane, silage, hay, or other supplements) in the trough all year, especially during the dry season, when the forage supply is reduced.

As the installation of this system is relatively simple, it is possible to adopt some technological resources to increase milk quality and productivity. Examples of this are the practices of artificial feeding and artificial insemination. But, among the disadvantages is the greater availability of resources for milking and cooling the milk.

Intensive system

Here, dairy cows are kept confined in milking stables and fed into the trough with preserved fodder. For example, hay and silage. As it has a high cost for implantation and specialized labor, it is advisable only for cattle specialized in milk production or high genetic standards.

Some examples of intensive system installations are Free Stall, Loose Housing, Tie Stall, and Compost Barn. The great advantage of its use is the increase in the productivity of animals in small spaces. However, as mentioned above, it has a high investment and needs specialized professionals. 

What is the best production system?

CLIMATE: Beef cattle get a genetic makeover for a warming world -- Monday,  May 13, 2019 -- www.eenews.net

It is important to emphasize that the ideal system’s choice should not be a standard replicated by everyone. That is, the producer must choose the system that best adapts to the countless variables of his physical, plant, animal, and economic resources available.

Some basic requirements must be observed when choosing the system for efficiency (and productivity). Here are a few:

  • Use of specialized cows adapted to the region;
  • Ability to improve reproductive, nutritional, and health management;
  • Offering adequate comfort conditions for the animals to produce.
  • Investment and management capacity.

Another essential step for dairy cattle farming, which we cannot fail to address, is breed choice. Therefore, we will dedicate the next topic to the subject!

What is the best breed of dairy cattle?

Top 10 Reader-Favorite Cattle Breeds – Homestead on the Range

Knowing about the main dairy cattle breeds in Brazil and their details can make all the difference in your production system. Since the diversity of climates and soils marks our country, defining a single standard breed for the entire territory is impossible.

Also, choosing the best breed or cross will depend on several factors. The primary item to consider is directly linked to the type of production system of the property. 

To exemplify, in a more intensive system, where animals are confined, high production cows are demanded. However, in less intensive systems, in which the animal needs to walk to its food, it is advisable to choose medium cows that, although they have lower production than those that are confined, have a greater rusticity and withstand climatic diversity and errors management without significant losses.

The most common cows to invest in dairy cattle here in Brazil are:

# 1 Dutch

They have the most significant potential for milk production. This breed is recognized for its profitability, but it demands climate, comfort, and handling. Due to its sound characteristics, it became a matrix widely used in crossings.

# 2 Girolando

It was created to meet the climatic and topographic conditions of Brazil. It resulted from the crossing of the Zebu Gir breed with the Dutch European breed, which resulted in high milk production, rusticity, and sexual precocity. Currently, Brazil accounts for 80% of national milk production from this breed.

# 3 Swiss Brown

One of the oldest European breeds in the world. This breed can be used for both meat and milk production. But, it is generally more used for milk production. Its main characteristics are high fertility, longevity, and rusticity.

# 4 Jersey

It was elected as the second-best dairy breed is a more rustic European. In other words, cows adapt more efficiently and have high milk production performance. It is a docile breed, which adapts to any system in addition to having sexual precocity. 

# 5 Zebu Dairy 

They differ from the Dutch because they adapt faster and with excellent resistance to high humidity and excessive heat. The three most common Zebu breeds are: 

  • Guzerá: it has easy adaptation. It can also be used in the production of meat and milk. An essential characteristic of this breed is fertility.
  • Sindhi: of the Indian breeds, it is the most suitable for dry regions, and with few food resources, it can be used in both meat and milk production.
  • Gir: the Indian breed most used in crossbreeding, its main characteristics are reproductive and productive longevity and a docile temperament. 

Challenges of dairy farming

Brazil is responsible for producing 7% of all milk in the world. However, even if dairy cattle production has improved in recent years, the systems still need to evolve. By not having control of every detail, many producers end up losing their profit due to small errors.

If we analyze, the most significant bottlenecks are in the producers’ managerial difficulties, lack of technical assistance, and the low rate of lactating cows within the gate.

In fact, outside the gate, the obstacles to be faced are much more significant, like the “Brazil cost,” which involves other expenses such as taxes and logistics. They compromise the income, which is already shy from the producer. Also, this factor affects the competitiveness of Brazilian milk. Compared to other countries in Latin America, especially Argentina and Uruguay.

The dream of every producer is to produce a larger volume of milk while spending as little as possible on the production of each liter. However, for this to happen, it is necessary to improve the herd’s performance and the production chain as a whole. In short, the rancher must be trained! So, let’s dedicate the next topic on the topic; check it out:

Qualification: the key to making your farm a profitable company

Several aspects interfere in producing high-quality milk, affect the industrial yield, profitability of the dairy property, and food security. It is precisely for this reason that the training meets the profitability of the producer. It improves the quality of milk, efficiently and at low cost, to seek excellence in production.

The constant change of the current world impels the producer to keep on a continuous update. In this sense, only dairy property prepared for new changes in sustainable production and food security will be competitive. Thus, being trained became a prerequisite to improve knowledge and meets the demands of increasingly demanding consumers. 

Throughout the article, you have seen that the scenario for dairy farming is exceptionally favorable what’s more, with a tendency for growth over the next few years. But, you, the rural producer, must be attentive and willing to seek the professionalization of your property and keep up to date with market trends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like