ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 85 Number 4
Impacts of land use pattern, herd and fodder management, and labour inputs on productivity of dual-purpose cattle farms in Central Nicaragua
In order to elaborate the potentials for intensification, the impacts of land use, pasture and fodder management, and labour inputs on productivity of dual-purpose cattle farms were examined. The results suggested the economic advantages of extensive production systems with relatively high gross margins (U.S. $205 LU-1 and U.S. $164 ha-1) despite the low milk yield (1056 L lactation-1) due to the low variable costs (7% of the annual sales). However, the proportion of area for cut- and- carry forage having significant positive effects on daily milk production, annual gross margin per hectare, and annual animal sales was accepted more by middle-sized farms (15-30 ha-1). The farms with higher proportions of steers had higher proportions of improved pasture (Bractaria. brithanta) (P < 0.001). This evidence suggests that intensification strategies can be targeted to middle sized farms with greater steer raising. Further studies are recommended on the feasibility of pasture improvement with special attention to labour and land availability.
Keywords: Land use; Forages; Dual-purpose cattle; Farms; Costs; Nicaragua