In my personal opinion the most accurate way to measure & judge a cow’s worth & adaptability to adverse and challenging  conditions is her longevity. Not only is a long-living cow the most profitable animal for her owner (every cow requires a  minimum productive time to amortize her purchase or rearing costs and highest yields are not reached prior to her third to  fifth lactation), but she is living proof that she can survive (stay healthy) and thrive (produce and most importantly  reproduce) under difficult climatic conditions (heat stress, drought) and severe disease challenges (the list of tropical  cattle diseases regularly challenging our herd is shear endless...).  Our cows have achieved below production figures under the most difficult conditions imaginable: Makitosha Farm is located  about 40 meters above sea level, just south of the equator, with day time temperatures peaking at 35°C and night time  temperatures rarely dropping below 25°C, all year round, with no artificial cooling utilized! Forage consisting of natural  pasture, hay, silage and maize stover covers a cow’s maintenance requirements and a maximum of 5 liters of milk per day.  With no maize silage (maize is human food here!) all concentrates have to be purchased. Feed rations are being adjusted &  concentrates reduced every year, which reduces yields accordingly (as milk prices can’t keep up with feed price increases).   “Sylvia” and “Worera” both passed 17 years of age. They were calving almost every year and were truly trouble-free & easy- care cows. The only special treatment they ever got is preventive calcium borogluconate injections after calving to prevent milk-fever. Both were under 400kg live-weight and had between 25-50% Bos Indicus (Boran & Sahiwal) genes. The most astonishing fact is that their production was only good average in their age-group and  both were kept for purely  sentimental reasons: “Worera” was the very first self-bred cow out of imported semen. She hated bulls and had only ever  conceived to AI, so we could never sell her (most people have no access to AI here). “Sylvia” was rescued after we had sold  her dam in-calf to a neighbour. After being born she was hardly fed any milk and close to starvation. We bought her back  aged 6 months. It then took us another 6 months to get her to the size of a  normally weaned calf of 4 months of age.                                       Click on Photos to enlarge
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