Full Length Research Paper
The aim of this study was to investigate the prerequisites for dairy production at smallholder farms in Southern Vietnam and to identify the strengths and weaknesses in management at farm level. Data on milk production, management routines and heat stress were collected during farmer interviews and field observations on 120 smallholder dairy farms. Individual milk samples were taken from 360 cows. The average herd contained 12 animals (ranging from 2 to 17), dominated by lactating cows. The main dairy breeds were Holstein Friesian crossbreeds, mostly at F2, F3 and F4. The mean Temperature-Humidity Index was 81 (range 75 to 97) in the morning and 85 (range 72 to 104) in the afternoon and the mean respiration rates for cows were 54 (range 30 to 102) and 70 (range 35 to 116) breaths per minute, with mean rectal temperatures of 38.8°C (range 38 to 39) and 39.3°C (range 38.3 - 40.9). The milk somatic cell count (SCC) was high in all farms, averaging 1, 300, 000 cells/mL. The strength of the dairy producers was their willingness for further education, as 80% of the farmers attended training courses, while poor udder health and heat stress were the most pronounced problems.
Key words: Milk quality, questionnaire, smallholder dairy farms, milk somatic cell count.
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