I-A03: Optimized use of feed resources for high lifetime productivity of dairy cows and consequences on enteric methane release

Project summary

Urbanisation has intensified the market demand for milk and milk products in India, but at the same time it has put peri-urban dairy units under high pressure due to increasing land and fodder scarcity, labour shortage, and inappropriate disposal of animal excreta. The urban demand for dairy products can only be met in an ecologically and economically sustainable way if animals, feeds and nutrients, and financial and human capital are efficiently used. Management strategies to achieve this will inevitably vary between different types of dairy farms and between different localities across the rural urban interface. The key question of the German project A03 in the first three years research phase of this joint endeavour therefore asks for the factor combinations that allow dairy production to operate sustainably at different locations across the rural-urban interface. Three key research areas in this context are (i) the feed and nutrient management and (ii) the lifetime productivity of dairy cows, as well as (iii) the release of methane from enteric fermentation, as a consequence of different feeding strategies. Therefore, feeding strategies in different types of peri-urban dairy operations in Bangalore will be jointly evaluated by the Indian-German team for their nutritional and GHG emission effects, in order to determine problems in farmers’ actual feeding management and devise optimized rations that positively affect the lifetime productivity of dairy animals and reduce the quantity of methane emitted per kilogram of milk.