Tropical Grasslands (2001) Volume 35, 246–253

Effect of pasture production systems on milk production in the central plains of Thailand

S. TUDSRI1, S. PRASANPANICH2, S. SAWADIPANICH1, P. JARIPAKORN4 and S. ISWILANONS3

1Department of Agronomy, and
2Department of Animal Science, and
3Department of Agricultural Economics, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand
4The Dairy Farming Promotion Organisation of Thailand, Muaklek, Saraburi

Abstract

Three groups of dairy cattle were compared under different pasture production systems viz, strip-grazed on pure ruzi grass (Brachiaria ruziziensis), strip-grazed on a ruzi-leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) pasture or strip-grazed on lablab (Lablab purpureus) in the morning and on pure ruzi in the afternoon. In 1995, all cows received concentrate (14% CP; 70% TDN) at 1 kg per 3 kg of milk per day. Cows receiving leucaena or lablab in combination with grass produced higher daily milk yields (13.6 and 14.4 kg/cow, respectively) and fat percentage (4.2 and 4.5%) than those on pure grass alone (11.9 kg/cow at 4.0% fat). However, when all cows received concentrate at 4 kg/cow in the 1996 trial, pasture production systems had no effect on milk production. Milk composition (fat, solids-not-fat, total solids, protein and lactose) was unaffected by pasture system in 1996. Growing tree legumes with grass or sowing of pure herbaceous legume swards adjacent to grass swards will support satisfactory milk yields in dairy cattle in Thailand. The economics of the various systems are discussed.

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