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Peru: Optimization of dairy farming on the basis of local feed resources

General information
Project location: Peru
Consortium: Internationalae Handelsmaatschappij Demeter BV (Demeter), Fundo Doña Pancha SAC, Pancara SAC, Four Oaks BV
Project Budget: € 1,443,000
External financing: PSI Programme
Project period: July 2012 to 31 December 2014

In spite of the fact that Peru is a milk importing country, dairy farmers have to content with low milk prices due to a near-monopolistic market. Commercial dairy farmers try to maximize milk yields by feeding their Holstein-Friesian cows a high-concentrate diet that is very expensive as concentrates have to be imported at high cost. Also, these high-yielding cows have a very short productive life (3 lactations on average). As a result, the margins on milk production are extremely low which discourages investment in commercial dairy farming.

On the other hand, Peru has ample organic residues from horticultural production but almost none is used as forage, even if these are an excellent feed resource. Farmers in Peru lack experience of converting fresh forage into silage that is far better digestible for cows. The project consortium proposes to introduce a new model of commercial dairy farming that is based on profit maximisation rather than yield maximisation, mainly on the strength of optimized forage-based diets fed as Total Mixed Ration to a herd of Jersey cows. Their joint venture will establish a dairy farm with animal friendly accommodation and management. Using tube wrapping technology and lactic acid bacteria, the joint venture will produce silage mainly from asparagus and artichoke, supplemented by corn, to produce forage-based feed (with low concentrate content). The forage-based feed diets will be optimized on the basis of comparative studies undertaken in cooperation with the Centre for Animal Nutrition in the Netherlands and a university of Peru which will publish and disseminate results through the Peruvian dairy producers association AGELEP. This should contribute to more profitable dairy farming, better animal welfare and longer productive life of cows (5 lactations) compared to current practices in commercial dairy farming in Peru. Furthermore, a worm farm will be established to convert cow manure into vermicast, which is an excellent organic fertilizer for horticulture, and through which much of nutrients, now lost through organic waste, are effectively recycled.

 

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