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.
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