Pakistan is at number 4th among the top milk producing countries of the world, with an annual milk production of over 33 billion liters. The milk produced within the Pakistan is due to increased number of animals, not due to high yield of milk on animal basis. Very low production on per animal basis is due to malnutrition in our dairy animals. Provision of balanced ration containing supplements / nutrients, vitamins and minerals is necessary for the growth and production of dairy animals. Decreased nutrition hampers livestock milk production. Providing balanced ration can only serve the purpose of maximum dairy production from dairy animals.
Average lactation based milk production of Pakistani Buffalo (1,800 - 2,500 Liters) and Sahiwal cattle (1,800 - 2,000 Liters) is very low compared to very high milk yield of animals in India (3,000 Liters), Europe (5,000 Liters) and United States (9,000 Liters). Camel is an un-exploited dairy animal in Pakistan that has lactation yield of 2920 Liters / 16-18 months of lactation period, with an average milk yield of 8 Kg/day under ordinary feed. Camel can produce 35 Kg / day through feeding quality fodder and concentrates.
Feed containing all the elements essential for maximum production of dairy animals is the balanced feed. Ration is the amount of feed or any specified portion of it provided to an animal over a period of 24 hours. Basically ration is composed the three main elements i.e. fat, protein and carbohydrates. Apart from it the dairy animals require an adequate amount of mineral, vitamins and amino acids, essential for the metabolic functions of dairy animals. Heavy lactation results nutritional stress on the animals. The provision of balanced ration to dairy animals is the basic requirement for maximum milk production. The nutritional requirement of the dairy animals is fulfilled through chopped fodder, wheat straw, wheat grain and concentrates. Dairy Nutritional requirement is directly related to the milk production performance of dairy animals. The nutritional requirement of animals must be based on the fat percentage in milk and total milk production at farmer's level.
Animals suffering from malnutrition exhibit symptoms of weakness, lethargic, pica (calcium and phosphorous deficiency, in this condition the animal grind its teeth involuntarily, licks hair, animals and sand), blindness, involuntarily movement of body, lameness (change in gait), body coat is often dry and rough. In chronic mal-nutritioned animal allied infestations of internal and external parasites such as lice, ticks, etc. can be observed and animals like sitting apart form standing and walking in the shed.
Dairy animals require adequate quantity of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in their feed. Maize (corn), wheat, barley etc are rich source of carbohydrates for milch animals. Cottonseed meal, soybean meal, rape seed meal, canola meal, sunflower meal and corn gluten meal can be the rich source of proteins. Proteins synthesize enzymes and metabolites in the body. Fats provide energy, and are source of essential fatty acids. Excess supplementation of fat and carbohydrate is stored in the body in the form of fat around liver, peritoneum and muscles. This excess is readily converted into energy when animal is underfed or deficient in feed intake.
Importance of Mineral Supplementation
Minerals are of much importance for maximum production of dairy animals. Minerals perform digestive and biosynthesis process, help in digestion and growth of animals. Mineral are of two types, i.e. major or macro-minerals and trace or micro-minerals. In growing calves Phosphorous and Calcium help in the increasing bone texture and tensile strength and animal decreasing age of maturity. Calcium supplementation increases the milk production plays role in making animal physiologically and metabolically active, transmission of nerve impulse, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, digestive secretion, and hormonal balance in the body. About 98% of calcium in the body is present in skeleton and remaining 2% in extra-cellular fluids. Severe Calcium deficiency results osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Phosphorus is involved in component of cell wall and cell contents as phospholipids, phospho-proteins and nucleic acids. Deficiency signs of phosphorous include rickets in young animals, osteomalacia in adults along with un-thriftiness, in-appetence and poor growth.
Sodium regulates the extra cellular fluid volume, acid base equilibrium and active transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. Deficiency of Sodium ion in feed results in in-appetence, licking and chewing (pica), loss of body weight, lusterless eyes and roughness of hair coat.
Chlorine is essential for the transport of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Deficiency of Chlorine results anorexia, weight loss, lethargy, polydypsia and polyuria, reduced feed and water intake, reduced milk yield, pica, and hypokalemia syndrome.
Other important minerals include Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, and Iodine. Iodine functions like thyroxin, regulates metabolic rate of body. Iodine deficiency results depressed immune response, so increases incidence of mastitis and respiratory diseases. Manganese deficiency causes skeletal abnormalities and reproductive inefficiency (delayed sexual maturity, reproductive failures, reduced fertility and abortions) in chronic emaciated and weak animals.
Copper plays role in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bone metabolism and heart functions. Copper deficiency results in anemia, retarded growth rate, reduced milk yield, diarrhea, de-pigmentation of hair and skin. Copper deficiency increases risk to parasitism and susceptibility to infectious diseases increases.
Cobalt deficiency results in loss of appetite, rough hair coat, stumbling gait, depressed growth in calves, degeneration of liver, anemia, anemia and reduced resistance to infection.
Selenium/vitamin E supplementation in feed enhance fertility rate, improves immunity against infectious diseases and help increasing in antibodies titer. The Selenium in feed increases the reproductive performance of animals. Selenium acts as an anti-oxidant and improves the influx and phagocyte activity of polymorphocuclear (PMN) neutrophils against infections. Selenium deficiency causes white muscle disease in young calves, cardiac and skeletal muscle degeneration and paralysis of hind legs. Reproductive disorders such as metritis, cystic ovaries and udder edema can also be cured with Selenium supplementation.
Trace minerals in diet reduce early embryonic deaths, reduce incidence of cystic ovaries and increase the intensity of estrous symptoms. Zinc and Selenium in diet also reduce the incidence of mastitis in dairy animals. Zinc helps in maintaining the integrity of the udder lining and protecting the mammary gland from infection. Zinc supplementation reduces stress on the animals and increases milk production.
Overfeeding of minerals results in hormonal imbalance and affects the production performance of dairy animals. Mineral supplementation should be done keeping in view the physiological conditions of the animals.
Importance of Vitamin Supplementation
Vitamins are complex organic compounds required by the animals in minute quantities, are essential for growth, production, reproduction, metabolism and health. Dairy animals show decreased milk production in the absence of vitamins. As vitamins are major source of amino acids, most of the amino acids are synthesized by ruminants in the rumen (bacteria and protozoa convert fibrous tissue diet into energy rich compounds like amino acids etc and synthesize B-complex vitamins). Amino acids are of two types, essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are not synthesized by the body and are to be taken with feed, while non-essential amino acids are synthesized in the body and are not essentially taken with the feed.
Vitamins are either soluble in fat or water. Fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body along with the fat (around the viscera, muscles and liver) while water soluble vitamins are not stored in the body thus required to be supplemented on daily basis and are wasted from the body if fed to animals in excess. Vitamins have different source of origin as Alfa Alfa meal, green pastures, liver oil, corn gluten and yellow corn are best sources of vitamin A. Daily exposure of animals to the sun minimizes the deficiency of vitamin D (synthesized in the body under the presence of sunlight also known as sunshine vitamin). Vitamin E is powerful antioxidant, also known as anti-sterility or fertility vitamin. Vitamin K deficiency results in prolongation of clotting time of the blood, also known as anti-hemorrhagic vitamin. Soybean meal and fish meal are good source of vitamin K.
Most of the vitamins are non-toxic but over feeding may cause symptoms of diarrhea, fatty liver, hyperosteosis and decalcification of skeleton and calcification of soft tissues in animals.
Through providing quality and balanced ration to the dairy animals and exploiting the genetic potentials of our indigenous dairy species (mainly Sahiwal cow and Nili-Ravi Buffalo) the present production limit can be nearly doubled in Pakistan and annual per capita availability of milk can be raised to 80 to160 Liters.