Kosovo Trip Report for CARE International. June 2003
During June 2003 I worked with CARE International in Kosovo with the goal of helping cooperating dairy producers (about 425 cooperating) increase milk production 20%. Most, but not all, are smallholders. We visited dairy producers and evaluated feed rations fed on numerous dairy farms in all parts of Kosovo, except in the far north. In addition, several major seminars were delivered throughout the same area with a specific seminar dedicated to training CARE International field agents that administer this program.
The dairy cows of Kosovo show signs of multiple nutrient deficiencies that are limiting milk production and profitability. Efficiencies of vitamins, minerals and protein are wide-spread. In some cases, energy is severely limiting. After our initial visit I formulated a ration designed to increase milk production. We returned with a purchased vitamin and mineral mix and a formula. The dairy producer was expected to buy soybean meal to supplement the ration. While there wasn't much time for cows to respond after we visited the farm and returned with the formula, vitamins and minerals, there were significant milk responses by the time I left. The CARE International staff will be in a better position to evaluate milk response during the two months since I left Kosovo. I understand that with protein supplementation, milk production went up, as expected.
To increase milk production in Kosovo, supplemental protein is required. There would be no problem to reach CARE International's goal of a 20% increase in milk production if each cow were fed adequate protein. This doesn't take a big study but will require convincing dairy producers that they must feed adequate protein. I have formulated nearly 250 rations (a few duplicates for comparison on the same sheet) showing the milk production expected from various forages (such as pasture, grass & alfalfa hay and corn silage with differing maturities) and assembled them in a spreadsheets (25 sheets with 10 rations each = 250 ration presentations) complete with feed formula, milk production supported etc. with feed ingredient and milk price linked to a common sheet so that the income over feed costs can be calculated instantaneously by entering feed ingredient and milk price in one place. Sheets are specific for common forages with a comparison of milk and income over feed costs expected. I'm calling this an Interactive Milk Money Maker budgeting, profit predictor and decision making tool. When used as designed, this really drives home the importance of feeding adequate protein and energy and the importance of producing and feeding high quality forage.
I also compiled a spreadsheet listing all 121 feedstuffs shown in the U.S. National Research Council's 2001 Dairy Nutrient Requirement book. The spreadsheet does some additional calculations based on data from the NRC book. Both of these spreadsheets are explained in attachments. This is a major work that took most of my summer to compile and complete. I hope that it will be helpful in selling the importance of good nutrition.
We met with Fauna, who was to be producing Chapin Dairy Premix by this time. When a good dairy premix is available plus proper feed formulas fed as directed (read that as adequate protein), milk production will increase significantly in Kosovo, particularly if more attention is paid to producing and feeding quality forage. Great opportunity! I hope that I can continue to work with the dairy producers of Kosovo and with Fauna.
Roy Chapin, Ph.D., Animal Nutritionist
11145 Chapin Lane, Amity, Oregon 97101