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In East Africa, dairy production is growing at an average rate of 2.7% per year. The increasing demand for milk may offer considerable income opportunities for small- to medium-scale dairy farmers, and thereby alleviate vulnerability and poverty, especially among rural populations. However, producers face significant challenges, mainly related to the limited availability and low nutritional quality of feed resources for their livestock and thus the high dependency on the purchase of partly expensive feedstuffs to improve animal health and performance. This policy brief therefore highlights important challenges and possible options for an improved cattle nutrition in order to sustainably intensify dairy farming in the Tropics.

This Policy Brief is based on the studies: Dickhoefer, U., Glowacki, S., Gómez, C. A., Castro-Montoya, J. M. (2018). Forage and protein use efficiency in dairy cows grazing a mixed grass-legume pasture and supplemented with different levels of protein and starch. Livestock Science, 216, 109-118.

Wassie, S. E., Ali, A. I. M., Korir, D., Butterbach-Bahl, K., Goopy, J., Merbold, L., Dickhoefer, U. (2019). Effects of feed intake level on efficiency of microbial protein synthesis and nitrogen balance in Boran steers consuming tropical poor quality forage. Archives of animal nutrition, 73(2), 140-157.

Validation of prediction equations to estimate rumen-undegradable crude protein in tropical feedstuffs using protein fractionation technique. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores. Clermont-Ferrand, France: Cambridge University Press, p. 526.