Zootechnical practice is an important part of milk production and an essential determinant in improving milk yield. This study is aimed at assessing the zootechnical-constraints faced by dairy cattle breeders in the Western Highlands of Cameroon. Data collected on the zootechnical-practices from 120 farms were analyzed using SPSS statistical package. It was observed that Holstein cows were the predominant (87.5%) dairy breed. The cow-sheds were built with wood while feeders and drinkers were made of concrete blocks. Rearing system was intensive, feed supplemented in 98.3% cases and most farmers (81.7%) gave water ad-libitum to their cows. Reproduction was by natural breeding in most farms and 93.3% cows were assisted during calving by farmer (70%) or a Vet. Milk-production was estimated at 2022 liters/cow/year. The cow-sheds were cleaned once a day with broad-spectrum detergents or water but breeding and dairy production was still influenced by diseases such as mastitis (35.8%), ticks (10%), diarrhea (17.5%) and placental retention (5.8%). The dairy farmers were knowledgeable on dairy cow management but low milk yields could be due to inadequacy in nutrition, livestock management practices, animal healthcare, zootechnical data recording and absence of technical supervision. There is therefore a need for policy implementation by the Government to promote milk production.
Milk production in Cameroon is still relatively low. It is the responsibility of the Government to implement a policy to promote milk production in order to accelerate the development of the dairy sector and the processing of milk, which should involve the establishment of small processing units close to production areas and adapted to the production size as well as to the technical capacities of the producers. The knowledge of these aspects would stimulate an increase in milk production in the Western highlands of Cameroon, improve the income of farmers and ensure food security of the population.
Animal health, dairy cows, Livestock practices, milk production.