Some factors affecting reproductive success in crossbred dairy cows on smallholder farms in coastal north-east Tanzania
Msangi, B. S. J., Bryant, M. J. and Thorne, P. J. (2005) Some factors affecting reproductive success in crossbred dairy cows on smallholder farms in coastal north-east Tanzania. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 37 (5). pp. 413-426. ISSN 0049-4747
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s11250-005-6855-6
A 2-year longitudinal survey was carried out to investigate factors affecting reproduction in crossbred cows on smallholder farms in and around an urban centre. Sixty farms were visited at approximately 2-week intervals and details of reproductive traits and body condition score (BCS) were collected. Fifteen farms were within the town (U), 23 farms were approximately 5 km from town (SU), and 22 farms approximately 10 km from town (PU). Sources of variation in reproductive traits were investigated using a general linear model (GLM) by a stepwise forward selection and backward elimination approach to judge important independent variables. Factors considered for the first step of formulation of the model included location (PU, SU and U), type of insemination, calving season, BCS at calving, at 3 months postpartum and at 6 months postpartum, calving year, herd size category, source of labour (hired and family labour), calf rearing method (bucket and partial suckling) and parity number of the cow. The effects of the independent variables identified were then investigated using a non-parametric survival technique. The number of days to first oestrus was increased on the U site (p = 0.045) and when family labour was used (p = 0.02). The non-parametric test confirmed the effect of site (p = 0.059), but effect of labour was not significant. The number of days from calving to conception was reduced by hiring labour (p = 0.003) and using natural service (p = 0.028). The non-parametric test confirmed the effects of type of insemination (p = 0.0001) while also identifying extended calving intervals on U and SU sites (p = 0.014). Labour source was again non-significant. Calving interval was prolonged on U and SU sites (p = 0.021), by the use of AI (p = 0.031) and by the use of family labour (p = 0.001). The non-parametric test confirmed the effect of site (p = 0.008) and insemination type (p > 0.0001) but not of labour source. It was concluded that under favourable conditions (PU site, hired labour and natural service) calving intervals of around 440 days could be achieved.