Tsvetana Harizanova-Metodieva1, Maya Ignatova1 and Tatiana Ivanova2
1 Agricultural Academy, Institute of Animal Science, 2232 Kostinbrod
2 Agricultural Academy, Agricultural Institute, 9700 Shumen
Harizanova-Metodieva, Ts., Ignatova, M. and Ivanova, T. (2019). Characteristics and problems of dairy cattle farms in Bulgaria. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 25(5), 903–908
The aim of the research was to classify dairy cattle farms, regarding their specific characteristics, as well as to study the main problems associated with their activity. The following indicators of 17 dairy cattle farms were studied: age, gender and famers’ education, number of cows in the main herd, average milk yield, milking equipment, buildings, number of lactations, cleanliness in the farms, cull rate, age of inclusion of cows in the main herd and calf fattening duration. A cluster analysis was applied, based on which the farms were classified into 2 clusters – the first included 6 farms and the second one – 11 farms.
As a result of the research, it was found that in both groups of farms the cows’ number in the main herd and milk yield were above the average value for the country. The central point of the first cluster was characterized as a farm with 144 cows in the main herd with an average milk yield of 5917 liters. Cows were included in the main herd at the age of 27 months and stayed there for an average of 5 lactations. The central point of the second cluster described a farm with 210 cows in a main herd and 7305 liters average milk yield. Cows were included in the main herd at 24 months of age, and were used for an average of 5 lactations.
It was found that the most prominent problems for the farmers were the insufficient access to credits, high raw material prices, low purchase prices, difficulties in selling the production, leaving staff, difficulties in finding suitable staff, difficulties in providing veterinary services. The farmers had obstacles in finding veterinary, financial-accounting, selection and market information, as well as information on feeding and animal keeping. As sources of information, the farmers indicated: veterinarian, accountant, Agricultural Advisory Service, consultants, professional organizations, sales representatives, and internet.