Characterization of Butana Cattle Production Systems in the River Nile State, Sudan


Raga A. Y. Yagoub1, L. A. Musa2and M-K. A. Ahmed3

1Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, Sudan
2The Arab Center for Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD),Damascus, Syria
3Faculty of Animal Production, U of K, Sudan


The objectives of this study were to characterize the dairy production systems, adopted management practices, identify Butana cattle breeding goals and constraints to dairy production in the River Nile State of the Sudan during November to December 2018. Butana cattle are kept by seminomadic tribes in a mixed crop-livestock production system and are the dominant livestock species. Information for this study was collected from 250 Butana cattle owners in 10 villages in the River Nile State using a semistructured questionnaire, group discussions, and personal observation. The majority of respondents in this study (83.2%) owned farms while 13.6% had leased farms and 3.4% were on communal land. Most of Butana cattle owners (93.6%) indicated livestock to be their main activity. Butana cattle have multi-functional roles in the production system and milk production is important for obtaining regular cash income and home-consumption needs. The ranking of breeding objectives on a scale of 0 to 1 was 0.37, 0.31and 0.2 for milk, meat and the social role of cattle. Water was obtained from traditional wells by 55.6% of owners while 5.6% obtained water from water points equipped with tank and pump and 38.8% got their water from both sources. The distance to watering point was about 1-5 km for 8% of owners while 57.4% of owners had to move their animals more than 5km to the water source and 34.6% of owners avail water on the farm. Most herds (62.0%) grazed for 12 hours daily while 29.2% grazed for 15 hours and 8.8% grazed for 18 hours. Reasons for low milk production in summer were said to be limited water availability (88.4%), limited feed (9.2%) and high temperatures (2.4%). Migration distance ranged between 100 and 300 km for all owners. It was concluded that the cause of the rather low milk yield of Butana cows in the field compared with their higher performance

reported under research station conditions was the unfavorable production conditions. The provision of extension services, veterinary care, water harvesting, and establishing farmers cooperatives are prerequisites for future improvement.

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