Sri Lanka is strongly investing in the growth of the dairy industry, with the eventual aim of become fully self-sufficient in dairy products. The National Livestock Development Board is playing a key role in this process of dairy production improvement, with its 25 dairy farms across the country. Size of these farms vary from 100 cows or buffaloes up to 2500 dairy cows. Major aim of these farms is to supply quality dairy animals to smallholders in the country. To achieve the self-sufficiency aim, dairy production will have to intensify strongly and staff of NLBD will have to be prepared to play their role in the new future of dairy production in the country.
Wageningen UR Livestock Research and DTC (Dairy Training Centre) have jointly organised a Nuffic funded two weeks course for key managers of the NLDB farms, from September 8th to 19th, 2014. This is the follow up of a training needs assessment of NLDB staff carried out by Wageningen UR Livestock Research in 2013.
Aim of the course is to provide the managers with latest insight in more intensive dairy production (more with less!) and to upgrade some of their practical skills. The programme emphasizes the importance of soil fertility as the essential base for good fodder production, discusses the latest in tropical fodder management including mechanisation, stresses the importance of good manure management and also tackles choice of breeds most suitable for the rather varied ecological circumstances in Sri Lanka.
Apart from theoretical and practical training session, the group visited several other stakeholders in the dairy industry in the Netherlands, e.g. the GD (Animal Health Service), BLGG (soil and fodder quality testing) and attended the Grass and Maize Demonstration at the Wageningen UR Research Station at Marwijksoord and the “Agrotechniek Holland” exhibition in Biddinghuizen.