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Supporting small-scale dairy farmers in increasing milk production: evidence from Morocco

Sraïri M.T., El Jaouhari M.T., Saydi A., Kuper M., Le Gal P.Y.. 2011. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 43 (1) : p. 41-49.

DOI: 10.1007/s11250-010-9652-9

This study aimed to evaluate the effects of technical support provided to five small-scale cattle farms in the Tadla irrigation scheme (Morocco) on their milk yield. The first stage consisted of assessing the initial management of dairy herds, especially feeding strategies, and their effects on milk output. This diagnosis revealed major gaps between the existing and the potential milk yield, due to insufficient and imbalanced dietary rations. Based on this diagnosis, technical support was adapted to the reality of each farm by regularly adjusting the dietary rations to the production potential of lactating cows using available feed resources. The production potential of either pure Holstein or crossbred cows was based on the herd's physiological status and its genetic merit. Results showed that milk production could be rapidly improved by balanced dietary rations that enabled the average milk yield of lactating cows to be reached, while optimising feed costs and reducing the cost of milk production. Providing technical support to dairy farms should have a significant impact on overall milk production at different scales (irrigation scheme, plant supply area, national production) while alleviating the poverty of small-scale farmers. It would require the involvement of farmers' organisations such as milk collection co-operatives to replace services provided by the State, which is currently withdrawing from extension activities.

Mots-clés : production laitière; alimentation des animaux; petite exploitation agricole; régime alimentaire; productivité; lait; vache laitière; amélioration génétique; rendement laitier; composition des aliments; exploitation laitière; maroc

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