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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Managerial practices and factors influencing reproductive performance of dairy cows in urban/peri-urban areas of Kampala and Gulu, Uganda

Kanyima, Benon; Owiny, David; Båge, Renee; Nassuna-Musoke, Maria; Humblot, Patrice; Magnusson, Ulf


Background: Urban/peri-urban dairy production and sales has evolved as an adjustment to cope with food security and economic needs for urban dwellers in low-income countries and created an opportunity to transform from subsistence rural lifestyles of dairy farming to commercial engagement in towns. However, urban/peri-urban dairy farms differ in challenges from rural dairy farms and reproduction is important and critical for assuring sustainable economic output in both environments. Here we recorded for the first time differences between two geographically and economically different cities corresponding to different settings within the same country in managerial factors influencing reproductive performance in urban/peri-urban dairy cowherds.Results: The urban/peri-urban dairy farmers in the capital Kampala were more often male (P = 0.002) and commercialized (P = 0.0025), more experienced (P = 0.0001) and practiced zero-grazing more often (P = 0.05) than in the regional municipality Gulu. Also, the milk production per herd and cow (P = 0.0005) and calving rate were (P = 0.0001) higher in Kampala and artificial insemination was more commonly (P = 0.002) used than in Gulu. There was no difference in abortion nor neonatal mortality rate between the two locations. Overall, calving rates were higher (P = 0.0003) in smaller (= 3 dairy cows) and open grazing (P = 0.003) herds. Abortion rates were higher among dairy herds practicing late (= 5 months) (P = 0.003) calf weaning and in herds with commercial purposes (P = 0.0001). Neonatal calf mortality was lower (P = 0.01) in small herds.Conclusion: The study showed significant differences between Kampala and Gulu in reproductive performance and related husbandry factors for cows in the urban/peri-urban dairy farming systems. For several reproductive performance traits we found associations with husbandry and production traits, which should be taken into account when providing advice to the urban and peri-urban dairy farmers in the tropics.


Urban peri-urban farming; Dairy cow; Milk production; Uganda; Tropics; Reproductive performance; Bovine

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2015, Volume: 57, article number: 35