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Table 2 Buffalo production systems in Sri Lanka and their characteristics

From: Traditional Sri Lankan fermented buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) milk gel (Meekiri): technology, microbiology and quality characteristics

Parameter Production system
Dry-zone traditional village system Dry-zone irrigated settlement system Intermediate zone/coconut triangle system Wet-zone system Peri-urban system
Location Districts in the north-central, northern, eastern, and parts of central, southern and north-western provinces Areas coming under the irrigated settlements such as Mahaweli, Kirindi Oya, etc Coconut triangle: intermediate and wet zone areas of north-western province and Gampaha district
Intermediate Zone
Districts in the western and Sabaragamuwa provinces Areas closer to the cities
Husbandry practices Free grazing, or nomadic type large herds or small/medium-sized herds, allowed to graze on communal grazing lands during the day time and brought back home in the evening and kept in a paddock near the farmers’ dwellings Small herds are kept with a mixture of tethered grazing and feeding with cut grasses and fodder especially during night and cultivation season Small herds, animals are allowed tethered-grazing under perennial plantations or along the roadsides Small-holder mixed crop-livestock production system, zero-grazing, maintain in stall-fed conditions with heavy labour and service inputs for feed, health control, and artificial breeding A specialized dairy production system not integrated with crops, animals are kept under confinement, all fodder and concentrates are purchased from outside
Popular breeds Majority of the farmers rear local buffalo with Murrah/Nili-Ravi cross-breeds, > 50% of the herds in the eastern area having improved types Cross-bred dairy-type animals Local, Murrah, Nili-Ravi, Surti, and cross-breeds Local and cross-bred Indian breeds, the proportion of improved buffaloes are slightly lower in lowlands Local cross-breeds, Nili-Ravi and Murrah
Major management system Extensive Semi-intensive Semi-intensive Intensive Intensive
Milk as a primary/secondary income source Secondary Primary Primary Primary or secondary depending on the locality Primary
Milking practices Limited milk extraction over a short lactation period, usually once a day milking NA Once/twice daily NA NA
Average milk yield (L per buffalo per day) < 1 L for indigenous types and 1.5–2.7 L for cross-bred 2–5 L 5–6 L for pure-bred, 4–5 L for cross-bred, and 1 L for Local, average 3.1 L  ~ 3–6 L NA
Cost of production Least cost NA Relatively high due to the high percentage of the cost for compound feed Relatively high due to the high percentage of the cost for compound feed NA
Herd size 1–250 NA 1–4 animals 2–3 NA
  1. Sources: [19, 24,25,26,27,28,29]
  2. NA not available