Increasing Milk Production Using Dormant Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) in the Peruvian High Plain (Puno)
Raúl Rivera1, Jorge Vargas2, Carlos A. Gomez2, Khaterine Salazar-Cubillas3
1North Carolina State University, Crop and Soil Sciences, United States of America
Cattle production in Puno is the main economic activity in the region. Puno is the fifth milk producer in Peru and dairy has been developing at a fast rate during the last decade. An interesting alternative implemented within the last years by regional and NGO's initiatives includes the introduction of dormant alfalfa, a cultivar adapted to high altitude (4000 m a.s.l.) and extreme cold weather conditions. Particularly alfalfa W350 with a dormancy type of 3.8 is able to survive under harsh climate conditions, remaining dormant (May - October) to then start growing again during the rainy season from November to April. This study was conducted with a semi-structured survey comprising 24 dairy producers from 7 districts in the provinces of Puno, Huancane, Lampa and Melgar. The aim of the study was to identify the milk cost of production and the main components of dairy farms in a system using alfalfa as the main forage. SPSS software was used and generated three groups by size. Milk production cost were 0.27, 0.24 and 0.23 € l-1 for the small, medium and large producer, respectively. The average milk production per cow was ~8.0, 9.9 and 10.2 l d-1 for the small, medium and large scale farms. There is a difference between the proportion of lactating cows for differently sized farms with 39, 33 and 47% for small, medium and large dairy producers. The main cost components in milk production are labour and feeding with 44 and 39%, respectively. The cost of milk production in Puno where dormant alfalfa is used as pasture forage was less in comparison with the intensive system developed on the Peruvian coast around Lima or Arequipa. Results show that the use of dormant alfalfa can help dairy producers in the High Plain to provide food security and increase family income.
Keywords: Dairy farmers, dormant alfalfa, milk production cost
Contact Address: Khaterine Salazar-Cubillas, University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), 70593 Stuttgart, Germany, e-mail: khaterine.salazar-cubillasuni-hohenheim.de