Characterization of small-scale dairy farms and its relation to water use efficiency in the Mexicali Valley, Mexico

  • Leonel Avendaño-Reyes
  • Peter H. Robinson
  • Juan A. Hernández-Rivera
  • Abelardo Correa-Calderón
  • Ángel López-López
  • Miguel Mellado
  • Ulises Macías-CruzEmail author
Regular Articles


A survey was completed to determine water use by small-scale dairy farms in Mexicali Valley of Mexico and to associate it with dairy production parameters. Mexicali Valley surrounds the capital city of the state Baja California, Mexicali. Sixty-one smallholders were interviewed in person in this rural area of northwestern Mexico. On average, small dairy holders had more than 20 years of experience and were ~ 55 years of age; people working on their farms are especially relatives. A low percentage was literate (20%), and they belong to a local dairy association. Milk yield/cow/year does not reach 4000 kg of milk and 75% of producers do not follow a defined management program for their cattle. Hand-milking is still practiced by 27% of the producers, and there is a general lack of infrastructure to maintain milk in a refrigerated state so that there is a very high risk of zoonotic diseases. Water use efficiency (WUE) was linearly correlated (P < 0.05) with total irrigated area, but not with animal production parameters. Regression equations constructed to explain WUE exhibited low adjustment, and WUE was not associated (P > 0.05) with milk yield. Small dairy producers in Mexicali Valley are in a generally poor situation with low water use practices; however, required more government support to increase their benefits from this livestock activity.


Smallholders Milk production Irrigated pastures Mexico Water use 


Compliance with ethical standards

All experimental procedures used in the present research project were approved and supervised by the Ethic and Research Committee of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. Since the project involved the answer of a survey by smallholders, consensus of them was required and obtained.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. AFDA, 2009. Natural Farm Survey, User Manual. Agricultural and Food Development Authority – TEAGASC. April 2009. Carlow, Ireland.Google Scholar
  2. Arriaga-Jordan, M., Albarrán-Portillo, B., Espinoza-Ortega, A., García-Martínez, A., and Castelán-Ortega, O.A., 2002, On-farm comparison of feeding strategies based on forages for small-scale dairy production systems in the highlands of central México. Experimental Agriculture, 38, 375–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beghin, J.C., 2006. Evolving dairy markets in Asia: recent findings and implications. Food Policy, 31, 195–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brun, L., Abdulsamad, A., Geurtsen, C., and Gereffi, G., 2010. Agricultural value chains in the Mexicali Valley of México, main producers and buyers. A report for the Walton Family Foundation. Center on Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness, Duke University, USA.Google Scholar
  5. CONAGUA, 2006. Informes de Distribución de Aguas 2000-2006. Comisión Nacional del Agua. Anexo II. Jefatura del Distrito de Riego 014, Río Colorado, Mexicali, Baja California, México.Google Scholar
  6. CONAGUA, 2009. Estadística de superficies y volúmenes de agua destinada para riego de cultivos en el Valle de Mexicali, B.C. Ciclos agrícolas 2004-2005 a 2008-2009. Comisión Nacional del Agua. Mexicali, Baja California, México.Google Scholar
  7. Cortez, L.A., 2011. Gestión y manejo del agua: el papel de los usuarios agrícolas del Valle de Mexicali. Revista Problemas del Desarrollo, 167(42), 71–95.Google Scholar
  8. Delgado, C.L., 2003. Rising consumption of meat and milk in developing countries as created a new revolution. Journal of Nutrition, 133, 3907S-3910S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. García, E., 1985. Modificaciones al sistema de clasificación climática de Köppen (para adaptarlo a las condiciones de la República Mexicana). Instituto de Geografía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2a edición. México, D.F.Google Scholar
  10. Gautam, H., Dalal, R.S., and Pathak, V., 2010. Indian dairy sector: Time to visit operation flood. Livestock Science, 127, 164–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jiménez-Jiménez, R.A., Espinoza-Ortiz, V., Cruz-Torres, J.A., García-Lugo, M., Alonso-Pesado, A., and Brunett-Pérez, L., 2010. Small-scale dairy production and its contribution to food sovereignty: a local case in México. In: Proc. World Buiatrics Congress. November 14-18 2010. Santiago, Chile.Google Scholar
  12. Kuypers, K., 2018. México, Dairy and Products Annual. Global Agricultural Information Network. GAIN Report Number MX8060. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.13 pages.Google Scholar
  13. Lira-Herrera, H., 2005. Actualización del modelo geológico conceptual del campo geotérmico de Cerro Prieto, B.C. Revista Mexicana de Geoenergía,18(1), 37–46.Google Scholar
  14. Martin, R.J., Thomas, S.M., Stevens, D.R., Zyskowski, R.F., Moot, D.J., and Fraser, T.J., 2006. Improving water use efficiency on irrigated dairy farms in Canterbury. Proceedings of the New Zealand Grassland Association, 68, 155–160. New Zealand.Google Scholar
  15. Martínez, B.E., 2009. La lechería en el Estado de México: Sistema productivo, cambio tecnológico y pequeños productores familiares en la región de Jilotepec. UNAM – Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales. Bonilla Artiga Editores. México, D.F.Google Scholar
  16. Mbillu, A.P., 2015. Smallholder dairy farmers´ technical efficiency in milk production: case of Epinav dairy project in Njombe district Tanzania. Master in Science Dissertation. University of Agriculture. Morogoro, Tanzania.Google Scholar
  17. Morett-Sánchez, J.C, and Cosío-Ruiz, C., 2017. Outlook of ejidos and agrarian communities in México. Agricultura, Sociedad y Desarrollo, 14(1), 125–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Myers, R.H., 1990. Classical and Modern Regression with Applications. Second edition. (Duxbury Classic Series, USA).Google Scholar
  19. Passel, J.S., and Cohn, D., 2018. US unauthorized immigrant total dips to lower level in a decade. Pew Research Center, November 2018. 77 pp. Washington, USA.Google Scholar
  20. Pérez-Bastidas, D., and Sánchez-Navarro, J.A., 1983. Ordenamiento ecológico del valle de Mexicali. Estudios Fronterizos, 1(1), 113–152.Google Scholar
  21. Rapsomanikis, G., 2015. The economic lives of smallholders farmers. An analysis base on household data from nine countries. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  22. San Juan, Z., and Williams II, D.R., 2010. Mexico and Dairy Products Annual. GAIN report No: MX0075. Global Agricultural Information Network. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Accessed on Sept. 16, 2018.
  23. SAS, 2004. Statistical Analysis System V. 9.0 for Windows. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  24. SENASICA, 2016. Situación actual del control de la brucelosis en México. SADER-SENASICA. Retrieved from Accesed on May 25, 2019.
  25. Sosa-Gordillo, J.F., and Sánchez-López, E., 2007. Estudio de los efectos socio-económicos en el Valle de Mexicali provocados por el revestimiento del Canal Todo Americano. Revista Mexicana de Agronegocios, 21, 359–374.Google Scholar
  26. Sraïri, M.T., Kiade, N., Lyoubi, R., Messad, S., and Faye, B., 2009. A comparison of dairy cattle systems in an irrigated perimeter and in a suburban region: case stud from Morocco. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 41, 835–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tundisi, J.G. 2008. Water resources in the Future: Problems and Solutions. Sao Paulo: Estudos Avancados, 22(63), 7–16.Google Scholar
  28. Walther, M.A., 1996. El Valle de Mexicali. Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. Mexicali, B.C., México.Google Scholar
  29. Wijnands, J.H.M., Armenta Gutiérrez, B.M., Poelarends, J.J., and van der Valk, O.M.C., 2010. Business opportunities in the Mexican dairy industry. Wageningen UR Livestock Research. Report 397. Nederland’s.Google Scholar
  30. World Resources Institute, 2019. Tracking progress of the 2020 climate turning point. Working Paper. 60 pp. Washington, D.C., USA.Google Scholar
  31. Zar, J.H., 1999. Biostatistical Analysis. 4. Prentice Hall. New Jersey, USA.Google Scholar
  32. Zavala, A.J., 2006. Estancamiento y desaliento del desarrollo productivo en la región agrícola del Valle de Mexicali, Baja California: un análisis tendencial. Estudios Fronterizos, 7(13), 63–94.Google Scholar
  33. Zeta, 2013. Crítica situación de lecheros en BC. Regional Newspaper, Tijuana, B.C. 24 de Mayo de 2013. Retrieved from: Accessed on May 23, 2019.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonel Avendaño-Reyes
    • 1
  • Peter H. Robinson
    • 2
  • Juan A. Hernández-Rivera
    • 3
  • Abelardo Correa-Calderón
    • 1
  • Ángel López-López
    • 1
  • Miguel Mellado
    • 4
  • Ulises Macías-Cruz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Instituto de Ciencias AgrícolasValle de MexicaliMexico
  2. 2.UCCE, Dept. of Animal ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  3. 3.Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y ZootecniaUniversidad de ColimaColimaMexico
  4. 4.Departamento de Nutrición AnimalUniversidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio NarroSaltilloMexico

Personalised recommendations