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


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.

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Correspondence to Ulises Macías-Cruz.

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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.

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Avendaño-Reyes, L., Robinson, P.H., Hernández-Rivera, J.A. et al. Characterization of small-scale dairy farms and its relation to water use efficiency in the Mexicali Valley, Mexico. Trop Anim Health Prod 52, 1141–1148 (2020).

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  • Smallholders
  • Milk production
  • Irrigated pastures
  • Mexico
  • Water use