How To Select Dairy Cattle Breeds In Nigeria For Milk Production
Dairy cattle breeds are very important to you as a dairy farmer in Nigeria for your commercial milk production. Dairy cattle breeds are specifically bred for milk production and other milk dependent products like cheese and butter. If you are going to venture into dairy cattle rearing in Nigeria, you need to understand virtually everything about the different dairy cattle breeds.
For you to make very good profit from dairy cattle farming in Nigeria, you must have to choose or select the most suitable and productive dairy cattle among the different dairy cattle breeds.
There are three main cattle breeds around the world. There are dairy cattle breeds, dual purpose breeds, and beef cattle breeds. This article is written to bring to your knowledge the different dairy cattle breeds. For you to be successful in dairy cattle production in Nigeria, you have to know the different dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria.
There are different exotic breeds of cattle in Nigeria for commercial milk production. This article will give you the different breeds of cattle and their characteristics. Your ability to understand the different between the muturu breed of cattle, the white Fulani cattle, and the reed bororo breed of cattle will greatly improve your chances of succeeding in dairy cattle farming.
The main objective of this article is to discuss the different dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria and how you can maximize them for your commercial milk production business. There are lots of exotic dairy cattle breeds that produce quality, as well as high volume of milk that dairy cattle farmers can breed for commercial milk production. Nigerian dairy cattle farmers with small amount of money can start with these local dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria.
Local Dairy Cattle Breeds In Nigeria
There are two main local dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria, they include:
- White Fulani (Bunaji)
- Sokoto Gudali
The white Fulani (Bunaji)
This particular local dairy cattle breed is owned by the Fulani ethnic group in Nigeria. The white Fulani dairy cattle is characterized by black eyes, a white colored skin, well developed dewlaps and humps, with long and wide heads. They also have a concave or straight face.
The average height of matured white Fulani dairy cattle is 130cm. the adult bulls weigh between 325kg-665kg, while their female counterpart (cows) weighs between 250kg-350kg.
The Bundaji or white Fulani produces an average of 3kg of milk per day. The average age of first calving is between 40 to 49 months, while the average calving interval is 403 days.
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The Sokoto Gudali
This is also one of the local dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria. Found mostly in Nigeria, the Sokoto Gudali is well known for their black and white color combination of their skin. This particular local dairy cattle breed has a deeper body and short horns. Just like the white Fulani breed, they also have a long and wide head with a slightly convex face. They also have humps in their thoracic region.
The matured male Sokoto Gudali can attain a height between 130cm-138cm, while adult females reach a maximum height of between 116cm and 132cm. The weight of an adult male Sokoto Gudali weighs between 495kg and 660kg, while an adult female weighs between 240kg and 355kg.
The Sokoto Gudali breed can produce up to 5kg of milk per day. The age of first calving ranges from 39-50 months,while the calving interval is between 378-537 days.
Both the white Fulani (Budaji) and Sokoto Gudali dairy cattle breeds are very poor milk producers, hence they are not recommended for commercial milk production in Nigeria.
Exotic Dairy Cattle Breeds In Nigeria
When it comes to commercial milk production in Nigeria, these exotic dairy cattle breeds are best suited for the job. The list of the major exotic dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria includes;
- Holstein-Friesian breed
- Brown Swiss breed
- Jersey cattle breed
- Ayrshire breed
Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle breed
Known as the world’s largest and highest-production dairy cattle, it is a dairy cattle breed from the Dutch provinces of North Holland and Friesland, and Schleswig-Hosltein in Northern Germany and Jutland. As a commercial dairy cattle farmer in Nigeria, your best option is this Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle breed.
Characterized by its large size, black and white spots on the body, and sharply defined. The adult Holstein cow weighs about 1500 pounds and is about 58 inches tall. The milk produced by this Holstein- Friesian cattle breed contains relatively low butterfat.
Brown Swiss cattle breed
In terms of total annual milk yield, the Brown Swiss dairy cattle are only second to the Holstein cattle with its annual milk production placed at over 9,000 kg. It originated from Switzerland. The milk produced by this brown Swiss cattle breed contains 4% butterfat and 3.5% protein, making the milk very suitable for cheese production.
If you are hoping to start cheese production from your dairy farm, then the Brown Swiss cattle breed is your best choice.
Jersey dairy cattle breed
This is one of the smallest among the exotic dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria today. It is originally bred in the Channel Island of Jersey. The Jersey dairy cattle breed is mainly known for high butterfat content of its milk. The male weighs between 540kg-820kg, while the female Jersey dairy cattle weigh between 400kg-500kg.
Characterized by its short horn, ease of calving, lower maintenance cost, the bulls are muscular around their crests and shoulders and are less defined than the females.
Ayrshire dairy cattle breed
Originating from Ayrshire in Southwest Scotland, the Ayrshire dairy cattle breed are known for their hardiness and their ability to convert grass to milk very efficiently. Their strength lies in their easy calving and longevity.
An adult Ayrshire dairy cattle weigh between 450kg-600kg. They are characterized by red and white markings. The red markings range from dark brown to a shade of orange.
As a dairy farmer that is into commercial milk production in Nigeria, it is advisable that you start with one or a combination of these exotic dairy cattle breeds in Nigeria. If you don’t have the financial capacity to buy an exotic cattle breed, you can settle for one of the local dairy cattle breeds listed above.
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