An on-farm study was carried out in Tanzania to assess the performance of crossbred (Frisian/Ayrshire x Tanzania Shorthorn Zebu) dairy calves fed on a concentrate, previously developed and tested on-station. The developed concentrate contained 189 g crude protein (CP) and 13 ME MJ per kg DM and was formulated using locally available feed resources. Twenty-seven (27) male calves, with birth weight 32 ± 1.5 kg were randomly allocated to three treatments, whereby Treatment 1 (DC) calves were fed the developed concentrate, Treatment 2 (FC) calves were fed a common home made dairy cow concentrate (CP 130 g and ME 13 MJ per kg DM) used by farmers in the study area. Treatment 3 (FP) was a control, where farmers followed their normal calf rearing practice with no interference. Restricted suckling, ad libitum feeding of forages and up to 1 kg concentrate were used for the calves on DC and FC. Weaning was at 12 weeks. Feed intake and growth performance were recorded for 28 weeks. Total dry matter intake was not different (P>0.05) between DC and FC. Mean growth rates (g/d) of calves under DC were higher (P<0.05) both pre (440) and post (460) weaning than those on FC (350) and FP (320 and 270), respectively. It was concluded that feeding balanced calf concentrates formulated using locally available feed resources improves performance of calves under small holder dairy production systems.
Livestock Research for Rural Development (online Edition), 2010, Vol 22, Issue 57
calf concentrate; feed intake; on-farm study; weight gain