The various livestock feed companies in Pakistan are suggesting that livestock farmers must introduce calf starter to their calves at the age of three months, at a recommended dose of 10% of their body weight. The AIP-ILRI project has been working to improve livestock production and create awareness among livestock farmers that they must fatten their calves to get higher economic returns.
A farmer participatory trial was conducted on a total of 39 Cholistani calves (24 male and 15 female) in Ganga Singh village, Bahawalnagar District. The results reveal that the average calf growth rate was 198 g/day during one month of the trial period when only half a kilogram of calf starter was provided to calves after one month of age.
Based on these findings, livestock farmers during the trial easily achieved a weight gain of 11.98 kg in their calves before the recommended three months of age without using the recommended 10% body weight dose of feed.
In terms of profit, every livestock farmer can easily get US$ 21 during the first 2-3 months of a calf’s life. Therefore, introduction of early calf starter feeding can provide more value addition from livestock in GDP of Pakistan. According to statistics, if 30% of farmers adopt this strategy of early feeding of calf starter to their calves, this would yield an additional US$ 113,079 value addition of livestock to the economy of Pakistan.
Initially published in the AIP Newsletter – A Newsletter of the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan, Volume 3, Issue 2, April-June 2016. AIP-Livestock is led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in partnership with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). For feedback and queries, contact Ibrahim Mohammed (ILRI): firstname.lastname@example.org