Pastos y Forrajes
versión ISSN 0864-0394
Buffaloes were introduced in the country in the early 80's, in order to produce food for human consumption. The criteria followed for their introduction were their rusticity and utilization of feedstuffs with low nutritional quality, their possibilities for extensive rearing in places where cattle and other species could not produce, in addition to the nutritional and industrial qualities of their products. The breeds present in Cuba are Buffalypso and the swamp buffalo or Carabao, the latter used for meat production due to its low milk yields, for which a genetic program of crossing between them is being conducted in order to improve their dairy characteristics. It has been proven that they can dissipate heat under the shade of trees in the paddocks and maintain a high birth rate (more than 80%) which exceeds that of cattle; nevertheless, their milk production is especially extensive due to the low stocking rates (0,6-0,8 animals/ha) that must be used in grazing, due to their feeding habits and the productive capacities of the Buffalypso breed (700 and 1 000 kg of milk per lactation). For such reason, dairy improvement by crossings with higher-potential breeds and the transformation of the feeding basis where they are located, can make positive contributions in the intensification of their production and increase their competitiveness with cattle regarding milk production.
Palabras llave : Evolution; production; reproduction; water buffalo.