Factors affecting reproductive performance and health in dairy cows in Tajikistan

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Clinical Sciences

Abstract: In Central Asia one can locate the smallest landlocked country of the former Soviet Union; Tajikistan. The country is a presidential republic and has been since the independence from Russian Soviet 1991 and is now one of the 15 former Soviet countries with the lowest per capita GDP. The private sector held most of the livestock, 60% during the Soviet era, which rose to 90% 2006. During 2015, the private sector is producing up to 95% of the total production of raw milk in the country. The large scale farms are few, however uprising and striving for expansion. The average milk yield is 8 liters, ranging from 2.2 liters up to 17.7 liters in a typical commercial dairy farm in Tajikistan. An effective and financially successful dairy production is based on the efficient reproductive performance by the dairy cow. And the cow’s fertility performance is based on and affected by several factors which make reproductive management a challenge for the everyday farmer; no matter if the dairy production lays in Tajikistan or Sweden, the foundation of an effective production is the same. Because of the high portion of subsistence farming and no existing central data recording in Tajikistan, there is little insight in reproductive health management of the dairy cows in the country. The purpose of the current study was therefore to assess the reproductive performance and identify the occurrence of reproductive disorders in the dairy cows in Tajikistan, as well as to identify factors in the environment and management that may have an impact on reproductive performance. The study was conducted in five districts bordering the main capital Dushanbe. In total 114 cows from 10 farms were examined in the five districts. A personal interview was conducted at each farm and an adjusted clinical examination regarding reproductive health was performed on a number of random selected cows. The results show that an immense majority of the cows were not pregnant at an anticipated time point in the intensive dairy production systems. The reproductive performance of the dairy cows in the studied farms was assessed as low. This was mainly based on the high age at first calving, high percentage of non-pregnant cows, low daily milk yield and prolonged calving interval. The majority of the cows had an age of more than 3 years at first calving and the mean amount of milk produced in liters per day per cow was 11.9±7.6 liters. The main reproductive disorders that occurred in the study was anestrus and endometritis. The farmers often lacked knowledge regarding oestrus detection and the economic value of performing standardized pregnancy diagnosis. The handling of documentations of the reproductive dates was also clearly questionable regarding accuracy and availability of the records.

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