Investigation on Feeding Level and Milk Production of Holstein Dairy Cows under Farm Conditions in Kosovo

1 Agricultural University of Tirana, Department of Animal Sciences, Tirana 1000, Albania
2 University of Prishtina, Department of Animal Sciences, 10000 Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo


Krasniqi, F., M.A. Kamberi, R. Kastrati, E. Emiri-Sallaku and M. Tafaj, 2018. Investigation on feeding level and milk production of Holstein dairy cows under farm conditions in Kosovo. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 24 (3): 450–459

Feeding is one of the most influential factors behind profitable milk production of dairy cattle. A one-year study was carried out to evaluate the feeding level (characteristics of rations, nutrient supply) of Black and Red Holstein dairy cows and its effect on milk production under dairy farm conditions in Kosovo. During the study period the offered amount of feed, total dry matter (DM, kg/day), energy (NEL, MJ/day) and crude protein (CP, g/day) as well as chemical and sensory properties of feed were evaluated monthly. The roughage to concentrate DM ratio in offered rations was also calculated. The study involved 12 dairy farms in region of Dukagjini (6 farms) and Kosova Plain (6 farms) with 148 Black and 136 Red Holstein dairy cows. The amount of milk produced, milk fat and milk protein content was measured monthly. Body weight changes were recorded before and after calving, as well as after 100 d, 200 d and at the end of lactation. The results show that all dairy cow farms used rations composed on corn silage and compound concentrate feed. Grass and alfalfa hay was used in 67% and 50% of farms, while one third of the farms used mainly haylage as roughage ration and wheat straw. The mean chemical composition of diets was: 27.14% Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF), 48.81% Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF), 11.07% crude protein (CP) and 6.66 MJ NEL/kg DM. Roughage/concentrate DM ratio averaged 74/26%. Farms offered in average 17.51 kg DM, 1804.6 g CP and 117.85 MJ NEL per day and cow. Average milk production was 14.35 kg/d/cow with a high feed energy and crude protein used per unit of milk produced respectively 8.39 MJ NEL and 128.7 grams of CP /kg of milk. This low utilisation of feed DM and nutrients is probably related to fluctuation on feeding level, lower roughage quality and digestibility compared with data taken from official feed tables on chemical composition and feeding values (energy, CP and other nutrients), as well as the application of rations and feeding level without consideration of lactation period in dairy cow farms included in this research. The regression analysis revealed that the variation in milk production cannot be fully ascribed to feeding factors.

Key words: Holstein; dairy cows; feeding level; milk production

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