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Citation of this paper. The Brazilian dairy industry is based mainly on pasture-oriented, dual purpose systems in the tropical part of the Country, utilizing B. The Brazilian farmers have maintained for decades the dairy herd intermediate between B.

Results of surveys and census data reveal a wide variation in dairy farm size, which is associated with different genotype use; low-input, smaller farms use a higher proportion of the more resilient, low B.

Profit per day of herd life was higher for F 1 than for other crossbreeding strategies. Subsequent analyses of data from institutional or private herds supported those conclusions except for cows mechanically milked and artificial calf rearing, in which milk yield increased with higher Holstein gene fractions, although economic guzrrat have not been conducted in such systems.

These programmes have given great commercial impact to those breeds. Very little genetic progress has been made for milk yield in gzuerat breed despite the high genetic correlation between yield in Guzerqt and in semen guzetat countries and fertility and health problems have been reported.

A strategy of continuous replacement with F 1 B. This review is guzreat by the strong interest in tropical dairy development and use of appropriate genotypes in many developing countries. Brazil has extensive experience in tropical dairy systems with the unique perspective of having systems with very low through to high feed quality and supply, coupled with institutions and national guzeratt to undertake research and development of tropically adapted dairy cattle genotypes and production systems.

Brazil also has an advanced commercial breeding sector and expertise in traditional and advanced reproductive technologies, that is available to other tropical countries interested in developing their dairy industries. The current review presents a critical analysis of what has been learned in Brazil about tropically adapted dairy genotypes that should be relevant to other countries. The production lecnero context of dairy genetics in Brazil is explained and key results of production systems research that are relevant to application in tropical developing countries are also highlighted.

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An overview of the Brazilian dairy industry is presented here and further background is given in the Appendix. Dairy production is an important agricultural activity in Brazil, showing continuous growth and evolution in the recent decades. Between andthe annual growth rate of cow milk production was 4. Milk production tripled between andfrom Between and the population increased from Pinha et al Control of inflation and public policies on re-distribution of income contributed to the enhanced consumption.

The Brazilian dairy industry is basically geared to the domestic market, although it has great exporting potential. Previously a net importer, Brazil achieved close to zero import-export balance inwith fluctuations over time due to the currency exchange rate and other reasons, such as the policy to import from the Mercosul neighbours Argentina and Uruguay.

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Inthe milk equivalent of the net import-export balance was 0. Milk production in Brazil is predominantly based on pastures supplemented with concentrate feeds. In the Southeast and Center-West regions lechreo are fed guuzerat the dry season generally April to September.

Pasture irrigation and rotational grazing techniques are applied by a minority of farms. Some of the main cultivated pastures are Green fuzerat Panicum maximum Jacq. Tifton, elephant grass Pennisetum purpureum Schum. Marandu and Brachiaria decumbens c. The main concentrate supplements are maize, sorghum, soybean meal and cottonseed. During the dry season feeding sugar cane-urea and zero-grazed elephant grass are common and to a lesser extent maize and sorghum silage and dehydrated citrus pulp.


Vaccinations against foot and mouth disease and brucellosis are compulsory and vaccinations against clostridiosis and rabies are common. Ticks Ripicephalus microplus and gastrointestinal parasites are important but control is very variable and usually relies on chemicals rather than on strategic plans. In tropical Brazil males are generally reared as they are an important source of receipts.

This does not apply to the more specialized systems using B. Dual purpose systems based on restricted suckling of calves allow farmers more flexibility to adapt to the wide fluctuations of milk and beef prices. Farmers regulate the amount of milk produced by altering the amount of concentrates fed, by milking only once a day on part or the whole herd leaving more milk for the calves, or by switching to a total suckling system Madalena a.

Making use of the calf to stimulate milking is a common practice in tropical Latin-America, including Brazil. Although it is now well established that the restricted suckling system coupled with early weaning results in higher lwchero milk production i.

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Preston and VaccaroCombellas,it is often considered a backward practice on the grounds that milking with the calf present is cumbersome and it would cause poor milk hygiene. So the extra milk sold economically justified the first system. This result applies to the bucket machine-milking parlour and calf huts in that experiment and may not extrapolate to other facilities.

No significant differences were found between treatments in somatic cell count, calf mortality and morbidity, 2-month calf weight, cow weight and body condition score, calving to first oestrus and calving to conception intervals.

The mean weighted difference between the two milking systems in calving to first oestrus intervals in nine literature results was 8. On the other hand, under poor animal health standards r estricted suckling reduces mastitis incidence and calf mortality.

Benefits due to the calf removal of residual milk have been reported also for B. The whole field of milking systems, including mechanical facilities to milk in the presence of the calf, is an important aspect of tropical dairy production where further research and extension is still needed. The results of a survey based on interviewing farm managers in Minas Gerais in Table 1 illustrate the wide variation in farm size and management.

Seventy one percent of the capital invested corresponded to land. Milk cooling tank is present in most farms except the smaller ones, which generally use a collective tank for several neighbouring farms. Machine milking was commonest in the largest farms.

Practically all farms, except guserat the lower production class, fed concentrates. The direct climate effects by no means are the main restrictive factor to using purebred Holsteins or other specialized B.

Herdbooks are kept by breeders associations on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture. In addition, an all B. Josahkian, ABCZ, personal comunication. The genetic structure of the Brazilian Zebu breeds was described by Faria et al The word Girolando may generate confusion, because it is used to gzerat to any crossbred animals used for dairy production lfchero well as for guzeraat registered elite of this breed.

Holstein, Jersey and minority B. The Holstein Association registered 52, animals in A. Marques, Brazilian Holstein Breeders Association, personal communication. There are many other minority breeds, described by Mariante et al There are no cattle census data by breed, so information on this topic comes from specific sample surveys.

There is an association of the B. Although intermediate grades prevail at all input levels, low-input, smaller farms, use a higher proportion of the more resilient, low B.

Madalena et al a. The trend of somewhat higher B. Predominant breeds in dairy herds, mostly crossbred, in Minas Gerais percent farms in which breed predominates. Brazilian farmers in the tropics have maintained for decades their B. However, many small farms keep only one bull and do not practice artificial insemination AI Table 1 and so to keep the herd composition intermediate they resort to periodical switching of the bull lcehero, in a rather disorganized way. Rotational crossing llechero purebred sires is a better way to utilize heterosis see below but it requires either AI or controlled mating in farms with at least two bulls, and such farms are a minority Table 1.


Use of hybrid sires would be easier but less heterosis results. Experimental results on the relative merits of these alternative strategies are presented below. Information on the performance of B. Performance analyses at private or institutional herds are also considered. The early Brazilian literature review by Madalena pointed to the existence of important heterosis for milk yield and reproduction, suggesting advantages of intermediate crosses, but there was insufficient experimental evidence in Brazil or in the international literature to provide recommendations on crossbreeding strategies.

The strategies compared were 1 upgrading to Holstein, 2 developing a new breed from Holstein-Zebu foundations, 3 crisscrossing Holstein-Zebu H-Z4 modified crisscrossing, with two generations of Holstein sires followed by one of Zebu sires H-H-Z and 5 continuous herd replacement with F 1 Holstein-Zebu heifers. The six groups, referred to by their H grades i.

These groups were chosen to be close to those that would be generated by the crossbreeding strategies being examined. These sires were basically unselected for milk yield Madalena et al a. An essential feature of this trial was to have performance recorded under commercial management rather than at experimental stations, as the latter have bureaucratic problems which would make proper management difficult and they would not provide a realistic commercial environment. Also, the trial cost was halved and the likelihood of the trial being disrupted by administration changes were much lower as unfortunately was justified later on.

Co-operator private farms 65 in the main milk producing areas of the Southeast Region were chosen to cover a wide technological range, and were grouped for statistical analyses into two classes referred to as high and low management levels. Most data of the high management class came from this farm i. Climatic data and a map showing the location of the farms were presented Madalena With a few exceptions each farm received a cohort of six contemporary heifers, one of each crossbred group. The mean absolute age difference among the cohort was 36 d and the mean range was 83 d.

Heifers were distributed to farms, at mean age 22 mo and mean weight kg, where they were managed with no interference from the research staff. Performance was recorded up to the end of the last lactation after 12 y of age of the youngest cow in each cohort.

Heifers were born between and and the trial ceased in A decision was made to include only farms milking 2X with the stimulus of the calf, the prevailing practice. On recording days cows were fully milked with the stimulus of the calf as usual, except that no milk was intentionally left for the calves, nor were these calves allowed to suckle between milkings. The local recording was supervised by two research centre technicians and the Project research staff.

The individual intake and ingredient composition of concentrate feeds were recorded along with milk yield. Cows fed a uniform ration quantity the usual practice in the low management farms were assigned the average herd ingredient consumption on the recording day. Further details were given Madalenaa and Madalena et al a,b.

Thus, the crossbred groups varied in their response to improved management, measured by the differential performance in the high and low management classes.

These results indicate that the nature of short lactations, a serious problem in tropical dairy cattle, differs between B.