One of the objectives of DAIRYCHAIN is to contribute to enhanced qualification and problem-solving skills of students/ graduates to cope with changing requirements in their future jobs as actors in the dairy sector. To achieve this objective, DAIRYCHAIN is working towards promoting a competency based learning that is more student centered and task oriented to ensure graduates are all round and hands on.
This led to the design of a competency based curriculum for the dairy cattle production course to enable students to internalize concepts, be observant in real situation and be applicative. This was accomplished by involving stakeholders from the dairy sector in the process to identify the requirements of the labour market. Several competencies were identified in the process and used in the development of the curriculum such that at the end of the course the following competencies applicable to dairy cattle production would be inculcated among students:
• Posses analytical ability and translate the knowledge acquired into practice in the dairy cattle production.
• Communicate effectively on issues regarding DVC in an understandable and persuasive manner to the target audience
• Demonstrate ethics and professionalism in dairy value chain
• Demonstrate entrepreneurship skills in the DVC
The course has been designed to introduce students to principles of dairy cattle production with an overall objective of building competencies in the management in all aspects of the dairy value chain (actors, functions and support systems). The core areas covered include breeds & breeding, production systems, lactation physiology, health & diseases and the value chain in dairy. This will give students the ability to carry out the following:
• Identify the different breeds and production systems appropriate for the diverse ecological zones for dairy cattle production
• Demonstrate and explain the nutritional strategies for different physiological states including strategic feeding of the lactating cow
• Explain the physiology of milk synthesis, pre & post milk practices and milk hygiene
• Explain the reproductive processes, selection & culling and management of replacement stock.
• Identify some common dairy cattle diseases and prescribe preventive and control measures
• Appraise the milk value chain using SWOT analysis
• Explain the regulatory and legal framework governing the dairy industry
Briefly, these are some of the topics covered during the course which takes a period of 17 weeks:
• General introduction on dairy cattle production
• Practical feeding of dairy cattle
• Herd management : fertility and the care of replacement stock
• Lactation management
• Dairy herd health management Dairy value chain
• Regulatory framework for dairy industry
In addition, to enable graduates to be hands-on, the theoretical training is complemented with practical training covering the following areas:
• Identification of breeds of dairy cattle and morphological traits: Various breeds of dairy (live or chart) will be assembled for identification by students.
• Housing and structures used in dairy production, and design
• Dairy production systems: Visit to Zero grazing unit and paddocks to study extensive grazing.
• Dairy herd fertility including breeding calendar, heat detection, mating systems, AI and herd fertility records: Visit to central AI unit.
• Types of milking parlour, Milking (hand and machine), milk hygiene and handling.
• Records and performance evaluation in dairy cattle.
• Identification of symptoms of some common dairy diseases.
• A visit to a small and large scale dairy farm to observe management practices for overall farm analysis and to suggest ways of improvement.
Student learning is monitored and evaluated throughout and at the end of the course by combining both formative and summative assessment to provide feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and by students to improve their learning. The formative and summative assessments will be through:
1. Continuous assessment:-
• Field trips & Assignments
• Practical reports
2. End of semester exam
In addition students are provided with references from both books and journals with regards to dairy cattle production. The book references enable students to do further reading to help them expand their knowledge. References from premier internationally refereed journals, such as Journal of Animal Science and Journal of Dairy Science, are provided to enable students to keep up with current research work to update and build on the base knowledge they have acquired from their lectures.