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Shorthorn cattle of West and Central Africa IV. Production characteristics


Ghana shorthorn
Baoulé
Somba, Kapsiki, Namchi and Bakosi
Lagune
Muturu
Keteku, Borgou, Méré and Ghana Sanga
Conclusion
Bibliography for the first four articles


J.E.O. Rege, G.S. Aboagye and C.L. Tawah

The authors can be contacted as follows: Dr J.E.O. Rege, International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), PO Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dr G. S. Aboagye, Department of Animal Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana; and Dr C.L Tawah, Centre for Animal and Veterinary Research, PO Box 65, Ngaoundéré, Adamawa, Cameroon

The West and Central African humpless Shorthorns have reasonable levels of production, despite the hostile nature of their production environments. Information on their genetic potential is lacking, however. Moreover, these animals are threatened with extinction. The objective of this paper is to review and compile available information on the production characteristics of these breeds. The primary focus is their growth performance, carcass quality, reproductive abilities and milk yield performance under various production systems.

Ghana shorthorn

Growth and live weights

Birth weights of the Ghana Shorthorns have ranged from 17 to 20 kg (Tables 1 and 2). Growth rates in the literature reviewed varied considerably, as did weaning and mature weights. In general, the performance of the Ghana Shorthorn (or Savanna type) has been better than that of the Dwarf (Forest) type. The wide range (64 to 154 kg) in weaning weights of Ghana Shorthorns may be the result of the variation (seven to nine months) in weaning age, in addition to differences in management. Supplementation studies have shown that proper feeding can improve the growth performance of these breeds. Mature weights on-station ranged from 163 to 380 kg and were, on average, higher than those on-farm, which varied from 170 to 200 kg. The lower estimates compared well with the estimate of 165 kg reported by Montsma (1959) for a sample of 40 Ghanaian Dwarf Muturu. The variation in mature weights may be associated with the lack of precise age at maturity for these breeds (Montsma, 1962; Ngere and Cameron, 1972; Osei and Effah-Baah, 1989; Ahunu et al., 1993; Humado, 1976).

Baoulé bull in the Central African Republic - Taureau Baoulé en République centrafricaine - Toro Baoulé en la República Centroafricana. Photo/Foto: ILCA

Baoulé bull and calf in Côte d'Ivoire - Taureau et veau Baoulé en Côte d'Ivoire - Toro y ternero Baoulé en Côte d'Ivoire. Photo/Foto: ILCA

Baoulé cow and calves in Côte d'Ivoire - Vache et veaux Baoulé en Côte d'Ivoire - Vaca y terneros Baoulé en Côte d'Ivoire. Photo/Foto: ILCA

1. Means (± standard deviations) of live weight by sex, management system and breed of Shorthorn cattle and stabilized crosses - Moyennes (± écart type) du poids vif, par sexe, par système d'élevage et par race, des bovine à courses cornes et des croisements stabilisés - Medias (± desviación estándar) del peso vivo por sexos, sistemas de explotación y razas de los vacunos Shorthorn y los cruzamientos estabilizados

Carcass characteristics

According to Cockcroft (1977), slaughter and carcass weights averaged 250 and 125 kg in the males and 192 and 102 kg in the females, respectively. Corresponding dressing-out percentages were 50 and 53 percent. An on-station study of a sample of 32 Dwarf Shorthorns (Appiah, 1988) in the humid forest zone produced slaughter and carcass weights of 142 and 67 kg, respectively, and yielded a dressing-out percentage of 47.3 percent.

Reproductive characteristics

The mean age at first calving was better on-station (Cockcroft, 1977) than on-farm (Straw and Hoste, 1987). This is clearly the effect of poor nutrition in village herds. Likewise, the mean interval between consecutive carvings ranged from 15.4 to 18.6 months for the Dwarf (Forest) Shorthorn and from 9.3 to 30.8 months for the Savanna-type Shorthorn. Ngere and Cameron (1972) reported a much shorter calving interval of 13.8 months for Ghana Shorthorns under an improved production system.

The annual calving rate (Table 3), defined as a proportion of the number of calves dropped to the number of cows mated per year, was slightly higher for the Ghana (Savanna) Shorthorn than for the Forest type. This is obviously the result of the different tsetse challenges in the two ecological zones. Under improved conditions, the calving rate ranged from 60 to 70 percent for Ghana Shorthorn cows (Capitaine, 1972).

2. Range of mean live weight by sex of some Shorthorn cattle breeds and stabilized crosses - Amplitude du poids vif moyen, par sexe, de certaines races de bovine à courses cornes et de certains croisements stabilisés - Intervalo de variación del peso vivo medio por sexos de algunas razas de vacunos Shorthorn y cruzamientos estabilizados

Trait

Sex

Ghana Shorthorn1

Baoulé2

Lagune3

Muturu4

Borgou5

Birth weight (kg)

Male

19-20

9-16

10

11 -16

16-17


Female

17-19

9-14

10-12

8-16

15-16

Weight at 3 months (kg)

Male

47-53

36-42

-

27-52



Female

46-47

37-38

-

28-52


Weight at 6 months (kg)

Male

75-84

51-61

47-49

49-94

86-91


Female

68-101

56-62

47-53

47-87

66-72

Weight at 9 months (kg)

Male

-

64-82

-

81-119



Female

-

60-85

-

61-117


Weight at 12 months (kg)

Male

109-135

78-94

34-83

90-122

79-130


Female

82-134

70-98

45-87

78-115

79-117

Weight at 18 months (kg)

Male

134

86-130

-

105-174

164


Female

147

78-124

-

90-127

152

Weight at 24 months (kg)

Male

164-178

112-162

-

114

200


Female

136-182

116-146

164

136

207

Weight at 36 months (kg)

Male

193-256

170-213

-

196

226


Female

173-193

151-166

153-221

177

157-226

Weight at 48 months (kg)

Male

-

-

-

-

265


Female

-

-

158-253

-

227

Mature weight (kg)

Male

190-380

191-298

-

141-255

193-330


Female

163-273

150-240

165-262

140-270

181-295

Adapted from:

1 Montsma, 1960; Rouse, 1970; Capitaine, 1972, Ngere & Cameron, 1972; Cockcroft, 1977, Danso 1980, Tackie, 1982, Maule 1990.

2 Capitaine, 1972; Tidori et al., 1975; Glattleider, 1976; Morkramer & Dekpol, 1984, Oumarou, 1986.

3 ILCA, 1979a, b Agbemelo, 1983, Adeniji, 1985, ILCA, 1992a.

4 Ferguson, 1967; Rouse, 1970; Roberts & Gray, 1973; Fricke, 1979; ILCA, 1979b, Adeniji 1985, Akinwumi & Ikpi, 1985.

5 Striffling, Canard & Paseri, 1975; Lazic, 1978; ILCA, 1979b; Auer, 1984; Adeniji, 1985; Dehoux & Hounsou-Ve, 1993.

Milk production characteristics

Total lactation milk yield (Table 4) was estimated using the weigh-suckle-weigh method (Montsma, 1960, 1962; Ngere et al., 1975). Montsma (1962; 1963) has shown that improving the level of concentrate feeding from late pregnancy through lactation increases the milk yield of the Ghana Shorthorns, up to as much as 1 002 kg in 252 days. The variation in lactation length in Ghana Shorthorns may also be associated with the system of milking, whether manual or mechanical. In the absence of the calf, Ghana Shorthorn cows, like zebu cows, tend to dry off within a few weeks of lactation (Ngere et al., 1975). Normally, Ghana Shorthorn cows lactate for a maximum of ten months, with a daily milk yield of at least 0.9 kg.

There are only limited data available on the composition of the milk of Ghana Shorthorns, which are summarized in Table 4. Compared with the Holstein Friesians (4 percent), zebus (4 to 5 percent) and some of the other Shorthorns (5 to 6 percent), the Ghana Shorthorns' milk is low in butterfat (1.3 percent) and proteins (3.2 percent).

Productivity indexes

The productivity indexes presented in Table 5, and defined as the total weight of a calf per 100 kg of cow per annum, are based on information from research stations in the coastal savannah (ILCA, 1992a) and the humid forest zones (Tackle, 1982. These indexes measure the breeding efficiency of the herd and are used for comparing breeds under different production systems (ILCA, 1979b). The figures were much higher in the coastal savannah areas than in the humid forest zones, possibly because of the depressing effect of the high tsetse challenge in the forest zones.

Baoulé

Growth and live weights

Birth weights ranged from 9 kg under village conditions to 16 kg under improved conditions (Tables 1 and 2). Similarly, growth rates, weaning and mature weights varied substantially. Supplementary feeding has yielded substantial improvements in the growth performance of the Baoulé (Capitaine, 1972; Tidori et al., 1975; Glattleider, 1976; Godet, 1976, 1977; Lhoste and Cloe, 1982; Kouakou, 1984; Tiemoko, Bouchel and Kouao Brou, 1990).

Carcass characteristics

The limited information available on the carcass traits of the Baoulé is summarized in Table 6. Carcass weights ranged from 90 to 200 kg (Capitaine, 1972; Pagot, 1974; Tidori et al., 1975; Glattleider, 1976; ILCA, 1979b). Despite live-weight differences, carcass weights of the Baoulé, the N'Dama and the Sahelian zebus were fairly comparable. Dressing-out percentages were moderate (50 percent) (Capitaine, 1972; ILCA, 1979b), with percentages ranging from 53.2 to 54.8 for Baoulé cattle under station conditions in Côte d'Ivoire (Tidori et al., 1975; Hoste et al., 1982) and only 42 percent under village conditions in Burkina Faso (Oumarou, 1986).

3. Mean (± standard deviations) estimates of reproductive parameters of some Shorthorn cattle breeds and stabilized crosses - Estimation moyenne (± écart type) des paramètres de reproduction de certaines races de bovine à courses cornes et de certains croisements stabilisés - Medias estimadas (± desviación estándar) de los parámetros de la reproducción de algunas razas de vacunos Shorthorn y cruzamientos estabilizados


Ghana Shorthorn2

Baoulé3

Lagune4

Muturu5

Keteku6

Bergou7

ARS (Legon)

UST (Kpong)

"Improved"

Village

Village

"Improved"

"Improved"


Village


Ranch

Village



Bouaké (Côte d'Ivoire)

CREAT (Togo)

Burkina Faso

Benin

Togo

Benin

Nigeria

Benin

Age at first calving (months)













Mean

42.4±6.5 (57)1

37.1±1.4 (11)

25.7±1.3 (63)

-

56.0 (271)

-

-

29.1 (17)

28.1±7.7 (15)

-

43.6±4.4 (567)

48.5±2.4 (378)

Range

34.8-47.9

35.9-38.5

24.0-25.7

37.0-43.0

34.0-56.0

36.0-48.0

42.0-60.0

24.0-42.0

18.1-43.5

48.0-60.0

38.0-47.0

42.7-50.0

Calving interval (months)













Mean

15.7±0.9 (181)

17.0±0.8 (130)

14.0 (234)

18.6±5.8 (81)

17.0 (448)

24.3

24.0

13.6 (60)

12.4±0.6 (93)

-

17.7±1.4 (1 087)

19.1±1.7 (685)

Range

14.8-16.7

15.4-18.6

-

11.0-36.5

-

-

-

12.0-13.6

10.2-14.8

18.0-24.0

16.4-19.1

15.3-20.0

Calving rate (%)













Mean

71.0

66.0±6.8

-

-

57.7

-

-

-

-

-

-

65.4±13.1

Range

-

60.2-73.8

74.0-85.0

32.0-61.0

57.0-71.0

34.0-45.0

42.0-49.0

58.0-70.0

-

-

-

64.4-66.9

1 Figures in brackets are number of observations.
Adapted from:

2 Sada, 1968; Millar, 1979; Danso, 1980; Tackie, 1982; Owusu 1985 Appiah, 1988: Osei & Effah-Baah 1989 ILCA, 1992a

3 Capitaine, 1972; Tidori et al, 1975; Glattleider, 1976; Gruvel & Gauch, 1977; Camus, 1980; Morkramer & Dekpol, 1984, Oumarou, 1986, Poivey & Seitz, 1977, Coulomb, Serres & Tacher, 1980; Landais & Poivey, 1981; Shaw & Hoste 1987.

4 Heineman, 1963; Leclercq, 1970; Domingo, 1976; Lazic, 1978; ILCA, 1979b; Agbemelo, 1983; Sintondji, 1984, Adeniji, 1985, Shaw & Hoste, 1987, ILCA, 1992a.

5 Ferguson, 1967; Roberts & Gray, 1973a; ILCA, 1979b; Adeniji, 1985; Shaw & Hostel 1987.

6 Olungton, 1976.

7 Auer, 1984; Dehoux & Hounsou-Ve, 1993.

4. Mean (± standard deviations) estimates of milk production by milking and management system for some Shorthorn cattle breeds - Estimation moyenne (± écart type) de la production de fait, par système de traite et d'élevage, de certaines races de bovine à courtes cornes - Medias estimadas (± desviación estándar) de la producción de leche por sistemas de ordeño y de explotación pare algunas razas de vacunos Shorthorn

Milking system

Trait


Ghana Shorthorn2



Baoulé3

Somba4

Lagune5




Station

Village

Village

Station

Village

Village



Mean

Range

Northern Côte d'Ivoire


Southern Côte d'Ivoire

Togo

Togo

Weigh-suckle-weigh

Lactation milk yield (kg)

656.9+183.6 (20)1

384-774

-

318±69

356.0±78.3

228.5+47.6

-


Lactation length (days)

261±53 (20)

-

182-295

180

210

143±13

-


Daily milk yield (kg)

2.5

0.9-9.0

-

-

1.7

1.8±0.7

-


Butterfat (%)

1.3+0.4 (9)

0.3-3.9

-

-

-

6.0±0.4

-


Total solids (%)

10.6+0.4 (9)

9.3-13.8

-

-

-

-

-


Solids-not-fat (%)

9.3+0.2 (9)

9.0-9 5

-

-

-

-

-


Proteins (%)

3.2±0.2 (9)

2.1-4.3

-

-

-

-

-


Ash (%)

0.75±0.02 (9)

0.64-1.10

-

-

-

-

-

Direct milking

Lactation milk yield (kg)

-

-

130-150

215.0+29,4

-

-

295.3 (23)


Lactation length (days)

-

-

210-122

285±33

-

-

225


Daily milk yield (kg)

-

-

0.36-0.70

0.8

-

-

1.4-1.7


Butterfat (%)

-

-

-

5.0

-

-

6.2

1 Figures in brackets are number of observations.
Adapted from:
2 Montsma, 1960; Ngere et al., 1975.
3 Glattleider, 1976; Godet, 1977; Godet et al., 1981; Hoste et al., 1983
4 Avegan, 1984.
5 Agbemelo, 1983.

5. Productivity indexes for Ghana Shorthorn, Baoulé and Somba cattle under various production environments - Indices de productivité des bovine à courses cornes Ghana, Baoulé et Somba dans diverges conditions de production - Indices de productividad de los vacunos Shorthorn de Ghana, Baoulé y Somba en diversas condiciones de producción

Parameter

Ghana Shorthorn

Baoulé

Somba


Station2

Station3

Village4

Village4

Station4

Station5

Village6

Station7

Adult cow viability (%)

91

71.9

97

97

98

99.1

98.8

97.1

Calving rate (%)

71

60.2

48

48

86.7

61

57.7

60

Calf viability to 1 year (%)

90

85.3

80

80

88

92.4

92.7

87

Calf weight at 1 year (kg)

135

96.6

70

75

94 5

77.8

70

142.3

Annual milked-out yield (kg)

-

-

48

70

-

-

50


Productivity index per cow per year (kg)

86.3

49.6

29.41

34.21

72.1

43.8

40.61

74.3

Cow weight (kg)

180

187.3

180

200

183

172

150

240

Productivity index per 100 kg cow maintained per year (kg)

47.9

26.5

16.31

17.11

39.4

25.5

27.11

31.0

1 Total weight of one-year-old calf per cow maintained per year (or per 100 kg cow maintained per year) plus live-weight equivalent of milk produced.
Adapted from:
2 ILCA (1992a) for coastal savannah zone in Ghana.
3 Tackie (1982) for humid forest zone in Ghana.
4 ILCA (1979b) for Côte d'Ivoire.
5 Morkramer & Dekpol (1984) for Togo.
6 ILCA (1992a) for Burkina Faso.
7 Grell et al., (1982a) for Togo.

Tidori et al. (1975) reported that Baoulé carcasses have a very poor finish, with a 0.5-percent fat index, defined as weight of kidney fat as a percentage of hot carcass weight, against the recommended-2 percent. Consequently, Baoulé meat can be classified as poorly marbled and tasteless.

Reproductive characteristics

Age at first calving ranged from 24 months on-station (Coulomb, Serres and Tacher, 1980) to 56 months on-farm (Oumarou, 1986), while calving intervals lasted from 11 to 37 months under station conditions (Morkramer and Dekpol, 1984). Chicoteau (1989) reported on results from experiments carried out in Burkina Faso using both hormonal and behaviourial criteria, which demonstrated that Baoulé females reach puberty at an average age and weight of 14 months and 125 kg, respectively. Despite differences in weight, Baoulé and European heifers are quite comparable in age at puberty. Moreover, Baoulé cattle reach puberty much earlier and are more fertile than zebus and other Shorthorns in the region (Tidori et al., 1975).

Calving rates (Table 3) ranged from 32 to 85 percent under station conditions, although a calving rate as high as 85 percent was also reported (Straw and Hoste, 1987) from a sample of 44 métayage herds in the Bossenbélé area of the Central African Republic. Given the difficulty of deriving a true calving rate in village herds, where immature heifers are usually grouped together with breeding females, it has been proposed that the term "fecundity rate", defined as number of calves dropped per 100 breeding-age females per year (Glattleider, 1976), be used as a fertility measure in village herds. The fecundity rate has ranged from as low as 28 percent in village herds in the Central African Republic (Capitaine, 1972) to 85 percent in some station herds in Côte d'Ivoire (Capitaine, 1972; Tidori et al., 1975; Glattleider, 1976; ILCA, 1979b; Camus, 1980). Godet et al. (1981) pointed out that the extraction of milk for human consumption, in addition to affecting calf growth (Hoste et al., 1983), has a depressing effect on the fertility of the Baoulé.

Information on post-partum behaviour, sexual function and cyclicity in cattle can be used to improve herd fertility. Although such studies are generally lacking for the breeds under review, a few have been made on the Baoulé (Djabakou and Grundler, 1988; Chicoteau, 1989). For example, it has been reported that the duration of uterine involution is between 30 and 34 days post-partum in lactating Baoulé cows (Chicoteau et al., 1988; Djabakou and Grundler, 1988). This has a significant influence on the post-partum resumption of ovarian activity, the ability of the cow to breed again, the length of the calving interval and the calving percentage. Moreover, post-partum resumption of cyclicity, an important determinant of the duration of the calving interval, takes about 57 days in lactating Baoulé cows (Chicoteau, 1989), although it can be longer than 160 days (Meyer and Yesso, 1988). Tidori et al. (1975) reported that sexual cyclicity in the Baoulé cow is significantly influenced by season, which is clearly the effect of seasons on the nutritional status of these animals, which are wholly dependent on grazing.

6. Means (± standard deviations) of live weight, carcass weight and dressing-out percentage of Baoulé, Muturu and Keteku cattle by sex and age - Moyennes (± écart type) du poids vif, du poids de carcasse et du rendement à l'abattage des bovine Baoulé, Muturu et Keteku, par sexe et par âge - Medias (± desviación estándar) del peso vivo, el peso en canal y del rendimiento en canal de vacunos Baoulé, Muturu y Keteku por sexos y edades

Breed

Sex

Age (months)

n1

Live weight (kg)

Carcass weight (kg)

Dressing-out percentage

Baoulé3

Bull

18

-

130.0

65.0

50.0



24

23

157.0

79.5

57.0



36

20

-

102.7

-



48

27

-

104.5

-



60

26

-

103.0±11.6

-


Cow

18

-

112.0

56.0

50.0



24

12

146.0

72.7

50.0



36

7

-

105.7

-



48

21

-

98.1

-



60

64

-

94.0±3.8

-

Muturu4

Cow

12-24

6

109.0 (92-121)2

-

-



24-36

11

145.0 (122-174)

-

-



36-48

14

167.0 (135-202)

-

-



>48

11

179.0 (153-221)

-

-

Borgou5

Bull

-

24

265.0

137.0

52.0


Cow

-

8

227.0

117.0

52.0

Keteku6

Steer

12-24

12

159.0±17.8

-

-



24-36

12

235.0±21.9

127.0

46-51

1 Number of observations.
2 Figures in brackets are ranges.

Adapted from:

3 Capitaine, 1972; Glattleider, 1976.
4 Roberts & Gray, 1973a.
5 Viaut, 1966.
6 Hill & Upton, 1964; ILCA, 1979b.

Data on male reproduction have been better documented for the Baoulé than for other Shorthorn breeds in the region. Chicoteau (1989) reported the average age and weight at puberty as being 18 months and 155 kg, respectively, taken from a sample of 15 young Baoulé bulls in Burkina Faso. Despite differences in their weights, Baoulé and White Fulani bulls reach puberty at comparable ages. Baoulé bulls were reported to have attained about 61 percent of their mature body weight at puberty. Chicoteau (1989) has shown that, although young Baoulé bulls ejaculate first at 17 months of age, they produce first motile spermatozoa only after 30 months of age. Semen quality of Baoulé bulls is only mediocre, which is indicated by their pubertal semen characteristics: 0.85 percent motility, 0.8 ml sperm volume, 6.0 x 107/mm3 sperm concentration, 40 percent live sperm and 85 percent abnormal sperm. Chicoteau (1989) reported scrotal circumferences of 23 and 27 cm in pubertal and adult Baoulé bulls, respectively, which are used for the early evaluation of their soundness and fertility.

Milk production characteristics

Estimates of milk production in Table 4 indicate that milk yields under station conditions were lower in the Baoulé than in the Ghana Shorthorn, however, they were higher than those of the Somba under village conditions. Milk yields ranged from 118 to 387 kg over a lactation period of 279 to 341 days under village conditions. The month or season of calving, and not parity, has a significant effect on milk yields of the Baoulé (Hoste et al., 1983), which is a further indication that nutrition is perhaps the most limiting factor. Information on the composition of Baoulé milk is completely lacking, with the exception of an estimate made in a village herd in Bouaké of a milk butterfat content of 4.2 to 5.1 percent (Glattleider, 1976).

Productivity indexes

The fact that the Baoulé performed similarly under improved village husbandry conditions in Burkina Faso and under station conditions in Togo is an indication that improved feeding and management can enhance the Baoulé's productivity, even under traditional village systems (Tables 5 and 6).

Somba, Kapsiki, Namchi and Bakosi

Growth and live weights

Birth weight of Somba cattle under village conditions ranged from 9 to 12 kg for the males and from 7 to 9 kg for the females (Avegan, 1984). These are surprisingly lower than the average of 21.4 kg reported under station conditions by Grell et al. (1982a). A few live-weight (LOOT) values under village conditions have been estimated by Avegan (1984) using the formula LWT = mc3, where m is condition score or a breed-dependent coefficient (m = 70 for Somba cattle) and c is the heart girth in metres. Some such estimates are presented in Table 7.

Mature weights of the Somba ranged from 145 to 175 kg for cows, 200 to 210 kg for bulls and from 185 to 200 kg for oxen under village conditions (ILCA, 1979b; Avegan, 1984). Under station conditions, mature weights for bulls varied from 250 to 260 kg (Grell et al., 1982b). Mature weights of 220 kg on-station (Tawah and Mbah, 1989) and 200 kg on-farm (ILCA, 1979b) have been reported for the Kapsiki, but the sex of the animals was not indicated. Mature weights of the Namchi have averaged from 180 to 210 kg for bulls and 150 kg for cows under village conditions (ILCA, 1979b). Although most of these estimates were based on a rather limited sample of animals, they are indicative of the mature weights of these breeds.

Carcass characteristics

Information on carcass traits is limited for the Somba and completely lacking for the Kapsiki, Namchi and Bakosi. Figures in Table 7 indicate that the dressing-out percentages of the Somba ranged from 48 to 52 percent under village conditions. These compare fairly well with those of other humpless Shorthorns in the region, as well as the zebus.

Reproductive characteristics

Age at first calving under village conditions averaged 36 to 48 months for the Somba (Avegan, 1984), 48 months for the Kapsiki (Dineur and Thys, 1986) and 36 months for the Namchi (ILCA, 1979b), while calving intervals averaged 12 to 14 months for the Somba (Avegan, 1984), 18 to 24 months for the Bakosi and 12 months for the Namchi (ILCA, 1979b) under village conditions. An on-station estimate of 15 months has been reported for the Kapsiki (Tawah and Mbah, 1989). The Namchi appear to mature earlier and to have shorter calving intervals than the Kapsiki and the Bakosi in Cameroon, however, the Kapsiki's environment is more stressful, both in terms of climate and nutrition, than that of the Namchi. Generally, calving intervals were much shorter for these breeds than they were for other Shorthorns and zebus in the region, even under village conditions. Calving rates averaged 60 percent for the Somba on-station (Grell et al., 1982a) and ranged from 70 percent on-farm (Dineur, Oumate and Thys, 1982) to 84 percent on-station (Tawah and Mbah, 1989) for the Kapsiki. According to Avegan (1984), no dystocia has been reported in Somba herds in Togo.

In general, most of these breeds have good fertility and, with adequate feeding, calving can occur every year. They have excellent longevity (ILCA, 1979b), with the productive lifetime of the Somba estimated to be five to seven lactations (Avegan, 1984). Young Somba bulls are sexually mature at two-and-a-half years of age and remain sexually active for about 12 to 14 years (Avegan, 1984). However, ILCA (1979b) pointed out that isolation and dwindling populations, with resultant inbreeding, tend to impair the fertility of most of these breeds, especially the Bakosi.

Milk production characteristics

Figures in Table 4 give an indication of milk production traits of Somba cattle. Avegan (1984) estimated the total lactation milk yield and lactation length for 23 lactating Somba cows under village conditions in Togo. The morning milk yield was combined with the weigh-suckle-weigh estimate of milk yield in order to arrive at an estimate of the total lactation milk offtake: 1 to 2 kg of milk per day for 150 to 180 days of lactation.

As with other breeds, parity influences the lactation milk yields of the Somba. Their lactation milk offtake increased from 176 kg, for a 121-day lactation in the first parity, to 280 kg, for a 152-day lactation in the fourth parity, and then declined to 214 kg, for a 147-day lactation in the fifth parity.

Butterfat content in Somba milk ranged from 5.5 to 6.5 percent (Avegan, 1984), higher than that of the Ghana Shorthorn and European dairy breeds and comparable to that of other Shorthorns and zebus in the region.

Lagune

Growth and live weights

The growth performance of the Lagune is summarized in Tables 1 and 2. Birth weights averaged 10 to 12 kg under village conditions, while growth rates and yearling and mature weights varied substantially. Live weights (LOOT) under village conditions in Togo have been estimated using the formula LWT = 80c3, where c represents heart girth in metres (Agbemelo, 1983).

Carcass characteristics

Table 7 summarizes the available information. Dressing-out percentages for the Lagune ranged from 48 to 54 percent. Despite differences in carcass weight between the Lagune and Somba cattle, their dressing-out percentages were quite similar under village conditions. Leclercq (1970) reported an exceptionally low carcass weight of 80 kg for mature animals under village conditions in Togo, obviously a result of poor feeding.

Reproductive characteristics

Age at first calving ranged from 24 months under improved village conditions to 60 months under traditional village conditions (Table 3). Similarly, mean intervals between consecutive carvings varied from as short as 12 months under station conditions to as long as 24 months under village conditions, while calving percentages ranged from 34 percent under traditional management to 70 percent under improved management. Most of the Lagune cows (74 percent) tend to calve at least every two years under village conditions in Togo, with as few as 13 percent calving every three years and the rest annually (Agbemelo, 1983). The calving rate is related to the tsetse challenge, although the Lagune perform better under a medium challenge than do the Borgou under a light tsetse challenge (ILCA, 1979a). Lagune females are known to calve without difficulty (Agbemelo, 1983).

7. Means (± standard deviations) of live weight, carcass weight and dressing-out percentage of Somba and Lagune cattle by sex and age - Moyennes (± écart type) du poids vif, du poids de carcasse et du rendement à l'abattage des bovine Somba et Lagune, par sexe et par âge - Medias (± desviación estándar) del peso vivo, el peso en canal y el porcentaje de rendimiento en canal de vacunos Somba y Lagune por sexos y edades

Breed

Sex

Age (months)

n1

Live weight2 (kg)

Carcass weight (kg)

Dressing-out percentage

Somba3

Bull

18

5

102.2±12.6

53.4±6.6

51.8±1.3



24

4

127.0±7.6

65.5±3.3

51.5±0.5



36

4

133.0±10.1

71.5±6.6

53.7±3.1



48

4

175.0±19.1

93.0±13.6

52.7±1.7



60

10

206.9±4.6

104.3±4.0

50.5±0.7


Steer

24

4

126.0±7.1

66.0±6.6

52.2±2.7



36

3

127.0±5.6

65.0±7.3

51.2±2.9



48

2

207.0±2.0

101.0±1.0

48.7±0.2



60

8

191.0±7.5

100.5±3.7

52.6±0.1


Cow

48

7

142.0±16.3

70.4±9.5

49.5±3.7



60

49

158.4±3.9

77.6±4.2

48.9±2.0

Lagune4

Bull

12-24

53

96.0

45.0

47.0



24-36

120

111.0

52.0

47.0



36-48

130

157.0

74.0

47.0



>48

191

209.0

98.0

47.0



-

-

120.0-150.0

-

15.0-24.0






-

48.0±54.0


Steer

36

29

-

113.0

-



48

12

-

126.0

-



60

5

-

131.0

-


Cow

60

3-5

-

126.0-131.0

-

1 Number of observations.

2 Estimated using the formula: live weight = mc3, where m is a breed-dependent coefficient (70 for Somba cattle and 80 for Lagune cattle) and c is heart girth in metres.

Adapted from:

3 Avegan, 1984.
4 Domingo, 1976; Mortelmans & Kageruka, 1976; Agbemelo, 1983; Adeniji, 1985.

Milk production characteristics

Because the Lagune is generally not milked, there is very little information available on its lactation performance (Table 4). The lactation yield reported for this breed by Agbemelo (1983) under village conditions was higher than available estimates for the Baoulé and the Somba under similar conditions. Daily milk yields ranging from 1.5 to 2.0 kg, over lactation lengths of 120 to 225 days, have been reported under village conditions in Togo (Domingo, 1976; Agbemelo, 1983). Milk butterfat in these animals has been estimated at 6.2 percent (Domingo, 1976; Agbemelo, 1983), which is similar to that of the zebu, Baoulé and Somba cattle, but higher than that of the Ghana Shorthorn and Holstein Friesian cattle.

Productivity indexes

Productivity indexes for the Lagune presented in Table 8 indicate poor growth performance. On the basis of weight of calf per 100 kg of cow maintained per year, ILCA (1979a) estimated that the productivity of the Lagune (24.6 kg) was 97 percent higher than that of the Borgou (12.5 kg), 36 percent more than that of the Baoulé (18.1 kg) and 9 percent more than that of the N'Dama (22.5 kg) under station conditions.

Muturu

Growth and live weights

Birth weights (Tables 1 and 2) ranged from 8.3 kg for calves born to heifers under 24 months old to 12.1 kg for calves of heifers at least 24 months old at the AdoEkiti farm, a reportedly light tsetse-challenge environment in the derived savannah (Ferguson, 1967). Birth weights, averaging 16 kg, were much higher at the Vom Institute, however, a high-altitude tsetse-free zone in the northern Guinea savannah (Roberts and Gray, 1973a), as well as at the Upper Ogun Ranch, a heavily tsetse-infested environment in the southern Guinea savannah (ILCA, 1979b). In addition, much higher weights at six and 12 months of age have been reported at the Upper Ogun Ranch - 87 and 119 kg, respectively - than at Ado-Ekiti (56 to 58 and 91 to 92 kg) and at Vom (37 to 39 and 61 to 71 kg) for Muturu cattle. This trend is obviously the result of more intensive animal management, including routine prophylactic treatment and proper feeding, at the Upper Ogun Ranch than at the Vom Institute, given the pattern of tsetse challenge in these areas. This is consistent with the belief that the effect of trypanosomiasis can be reduced through adequate feeding and regular prophylactic dosing.

8. Productivity indexes for Lagune, Muturu, Borgou and Keteku under various production environments - Indices de productivité des bovine Lagune, Muturu, Borgou et Keteku dans différentes conditions de production - Indices de productividad de los vacunos Lagune, Muturu, Borgou y Keteku en diversos ambientes de producción

Carcass characteristics

Carcass weights ranged from 90 to 100 kg, with dressing-out percentages of 46 to 53 percent (Ferguson, 1967; Domingo, 1976; Maule, 1990). Despite differences in live weight, dressing-out percentages of Muturu and zebu cattle in the region are comparable. Dressing-out percentages of Muturu oxen were similar to those of entire males and ranged from 46 to 53 percent (Ferguson, 1967). The meat quality of the Muturu was judged to be excellent.

Reproductive characteristics

Muturu cattle are-evidently very fertile (Table 3), with the capacity to produce one viable calf annually (Oyenuga, 1967; Domingo, 1976; ILCA, 1979b; Adeniji, 1985; Maule, 1990). Furthermore, they are- earlier-maturing than the zebus in the region. The Muturu compares favourably with the Baoulé and the Lagune and is better than-the Ghana

Shorthorn in age at sexual maturity under improved management. Also, the intervals between consecutive carvings were shorter under improved management (10-15 months) than under traditional village (18 to 24 months) systems. As with other Shorthorn and zebu cattle in the region, heifers tend to first-calve at an older age under village conditions than under improved conditions.

The age of Muturu bulls at first service under village conditions has been estimated at four to five years (ILCA, 1979b). Even though these bulls are capable of breeding year-round, recent studies have indicated seasonal changes in the characteristics of their ejaculates (Igboeli et al., 1987), including volume (1.8 and 2.3 ml in the dry and wet seasons, respectively), motility (36.2 and 37.7 percent) and morphologically normal sperm (70.0 and 79.1 percent). In general, semen characteristics of the Muturu are inferior to those of the Gudali and the White Fulani under similar conditions. In addition to producing low quality semen, Muturu bulls generally appear shy and nervous (Nwakalor, Igboeli and Orji, 1979). Moreover, the low motility and sperm concentration, coupled with low amounts of fructose in the ejaculates (Igboeli et al., 1987), are major impediments to the processing of Muturu semen for artificial insemination purposes.

Milk production characteristics

Since Muturu cows are normally not milked, data on their milk production are not well documented. Nonetheless, lactation milk yields, for lactation lengths of 120 to 216 days, have been reported to range from 127 to 421 kg (Olaloku, 1976; Fricke, 1979).

Productivity indexes

Productivity indexes of the Muturu under different production environments, characterized by light and zero tsetse challenge, indicate that animals in a tsetse-free environment perform better than those in a tsetse-infested environment, even under improved management (Table 8).

Keteku, Borgou, Méré and Ghana Sanga

Growth and live weights

Birth weights of Borgou calves were slightly lower than those of the Keteku under ranch conditions (Tables 1 and 2). Birth weights of Méré calves on-station in Burkina Faso averaged 18.0 and 16.5 kg from a sample of 30 males and 28 females, respectively (Borget, 1969). Corresponding weights at weaning (about eight months of age) averaged 128 and 112 kg from a sample of eight males and nine females. Keteku cattle raised on a ranch in Nigeria with heavy tsetse challenge had a higher growth performance than Borgou cattle raised on a ranch in Benin with light tsetse challenge. This is an indication of the greater tolerance to trypanosomiasis of Keteku than Borgou cattle.

Mature weights have also varied considerably across breed types. Typical mature weights ranged from 190 to 280 kg for Borgou cattle in Benin (UNDP/FAO, 1977; Auer, 1984; Demba-Diallou, 1987; Bani-Guezere, 1988; Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve, 1993), from 295 to 330 kg for Keteku cattle in Nigeria (Oyenuga, 1967) and from 260 kg for Méré cattle in Côte d'Ivoire (Camus, 1977) to 320 kg for Ghana Sanga cattle (ILCA, 1979a). The considerable variation in mature weights reflects the lack of knowledge of precise age at maturity for these "breeds". In general, these stabilized crosses are heavier at maturity than their humpless parental stock, but lighter than their humped parental stock.

Reproductive characteristics

Age at first calving in Borgou cattle in Benin (Table 3) ranged from 43 months in sedentary village herds to 46 months in transhumant herds, averaging 43.5 months (Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve, 1993). It varied from 38 to 47 months for Keteku cattle under ranch conditions in Nigeria (Olutogun, 1976) and from 48 to 60 months for Méré cattle under village conditions in Burkina Faso (Mordant and Lebrun, 1969). Mean intervals between consecutive carvings for Borgou cattle in Benin ranged from 15.3 months under sedentary husbandry to 17.6 months under transhumant husbandry, and averaged 16.1 months (Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve, 1993). Corresponding figures for the fecundity rate were 64.4 and 66.9 percent, with an average of 65.4 percent. Surprisingly, reproductive performances under these different systems of production were quite similar, contradicting the claim made by Wilson (1988) that transhumant herds are relatively better nourished and, therefore, are expected to perform better than sedentary herds.

Mean intervals between consecutive carvings of Borgou cattle, varying from 15 to 20 months (Auer, 1984; Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve, 1993), were comparable to those of Méré cattle, which ranged from 18 to 24 months (Mordant and Lebrun, 1969) under village conditions. However, for Keteku cattle they ranged from 16 to 19 months under ranch conditions (Olutogun, 1976). The calving rate in Borgou cattle in Benin ranged from 33 to 75 percent under ranching management at M'Betecoucou, a location characterized by light tsetse challenge (Lazic, 1978; ILCA, 1979a; 1979b; Lopez, 1985), and from 40 to 67 percent under village conditions (Lazic, 1978; Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve, 1993). These differences may be partly the result of variations in levels of trypanosomiasis challenge.

The bimodal calving frequency in village herds in Benin (Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve, 1993) is an indication that Borgou herds are seasonal in character, which is a direct effect of nutrition on fertility in traditional village herds. In addition, Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve (1993) reported that about 45 percent of the Borgou herds in Benin have only one young breeding bull. Since young bulls can only breed 30 cows per year at most (FAO, 1985), herd fertility is bound to suffer. Other factors contributing to the poor fertility of Borgou cows in village herds in Benin are prolonged suckling, infectious diseases, trypanosomiasis and brucellosis.

Productivity indexes

Estimates of reproduction and production parameters were used to calculate productivity indexes (Table 8). Estimates of productivity indexes made by Dehoux and Hounsou-Ve (1993), which included the weight equivalent of milk produced by Borgou cows in Benin, ranged from 28.3 kg under sedentary husbandry to 26.6 kg under transhumant husbandry and averaged 27.4 kg.

Conclusion

Owing to their small size, the beef performance of Shorthorn cattle is generally low, although the dressing percentages are similar to those of other breeds within and outside the region, and the meat quality is good. Milk production is low to very low, sometimes even insufficient to feed the calf. In this case, the method of estimation obviously must be questioned. Evidently, these breeds cannot compete with more productive breeds, such as the zebu and, to a certain extent, the N'Dama, therefore, a real effort must be made to improve their dairy performance.

The Shorthorns' reproductive performance is characterized by late puberty, late maturity and long calving intervals, resulting in low fecundity rates. However, satisfactory results obtained in some locations within the region indicate that improvement is possible.

Finally, it must be pointed out that Shorthorn cattle are the only cattle able to survive in the harsh environment of West and Central Africa and, therefore, to produce under various levels of tsetse challenge.

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