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Research National Programs National Dairy Production Research Program
National Dairy Production Research Program





Dairy production is the second livestock production in Uruguay, with a Gross Production Value (GPV) that represents 25% of the Gross Livestock Domestic Product and 11% of the Gross Agricultural Domestic Product. There are more than 6.000 dairy farms (more than 70% are owner operated) covering more than 900.000 hectares (6% of the area under agricultural production in the country). During the last years milk production has been larger than 1.600 millions liters, from which 1.400 millions have been sent to processing plants or directly sold. Between 1977 and 2001 total national milk production grew at a cumulative annual rate of 3.16%. The dairy herd is higher than 700.000 heads, from which 55% are milking cows with an average of 4.000 liters / cow / year. Approximately 70% of total production is exported, mainly as powdered milk and cheese.

The dairy international market is characterized by a high protection level. However, the world demand grows permanently and it is never satisfied by the supply. This gives an opportunity to the dairy sector to continue its growing process started almost three decades ago. Main consuming markets, and main destinations of Uruguayan dairy products, tend to increase requirements related to environmental concerns, animal welfare and safety issues, which attract the attention from the research carried out by the Dairy Production Research Program. This emphasis is developed under a general scheme where production is strongly based on the maximum use of pastures with strategic supplements, conserved pastures or grains. It is still necessary to increase the productivity of dairy systems specialized in milk production as well as those diversified with other products (arable crops, sheep and beef).




Generate, adapt and validate technologies for the national dairy sector allowing its integral development and considering the sector's and the society's economic, social and environmental sustainability.




1/ Identify, generate and adapt technologies to diminish costs, simplify the national production systems, reduce its environmental contamination potential and improve the working conditions and life quality while improving or maintaining productivity.

2/ Study the consequences of different technologies when integrated to production systems, quantifying its economic and environmental impact.

3/ Maximize the conversion efficiency of dry matter into milk solids, for Uruguayan conditions, defining simultaneous strategies of pasture use, concentrate and forage reserves, considering the hygienic sanitary quality.

4/ Study animal nutrition effect on variables that affect milk properties and may add value. Identify those components that improve human health.

5/ Generate feeding alternatives for raising stock.

6/ Develop strategies to reduce embryo mortality and increase pregnancy percentages at first mating, through the study of the mother-fetus interaction at early stages.

7/ Shorten the anestrous through the interaction between pre and post calving nutrition in pastoral systems and different concentrate use, and through a deeper study of transitional cow metabolism and hormones interactions.

8/ Set up and study reproductive management for Uruguayan conditions, considering several alternatives to manage estrus cycle and the possibility to inseminate at fixed periods of time or after a detected heat.

9/ Elaborate selection objectives (defining the type or types of animals with better performance under the production conditions aimed at) to obtain one or several economic or selection indexes that can be used by the farmer as criteria for selection decisions.




Contact: dairy@inia.org.uy