Enhancing the Productivity of Livestock Production Through Improved Feeding: Empirical Evidence from Highland of Ethiopia


Forage development as feed resources in Tiyo district (Elephant grass)

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The Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST) was used to characterize the farming and livestock system in Limu-Bibilo district in Ethiopia. Prior to data collection, a Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF) was conducted in August 2012. The quantitative data from individual interviews of 18 farmers were entered and analyzed using FEAST. Livestock production is an integral component of the farming system of the study area. Cattle are kept for food, cash, draught power and manure production. For the above average group grazing, crop residues, and cultivated fodder contributes 49%, 25% and 12% to the dry matter (DM) content of the total diet respectively. Similarly, grazing, crop residue, and purchased feeds contributes 33%, 23% and 20% of the DM respectively as to the below average groups. Grazing, crop residues and cultivated fodders are the major feed resources that are contributing 49%, 20%, and 14% of the metabolizable energy (ME) respectively as to the above average group and 32%, 17% and 14% respectively to the below average group. For above average group Grazing, cultivated fodder, purchased feeds, and crop residues contribute 42%, 17%, 16%, and 15% crude protein (CP) content respectively whereas purchased feeds, grazing, and cultivated fodders contribute 35%, 25%, and 15% of CP in the total diet in the case of below average groups. The problems that were raised by the farmers encompass, shortage of feed, scarcity of water, unavailability of cash or credit services, shortage of veterinary service, lack AI service, awareness and communication gap. In light of the problems the study recommends the development of herbaceous forage legumes and fodder trees species which can mitigate the constraints of feed scarcity. Training on cost effective livestock ration formulation techniques to reduce the feed shortages observed must be part of a strategy which requires attention to improve the production of the sector.

Why Study Feed Resource Availability?

The study area Lemu-Bilbilo district is located in Arsi zone in Oromia regional state of Ethiopia. It is characterized by a crop-livestock mixed farming system where dairy production contributes significantly to livelihoods of the smallholder farmers. Market-oriented dairy production based on crossbred dairy cows is also practiced in the district. However, economic benefits accruing from the livestock sector are not significant. Livestock production is constrained by ecological, technical and economic limitations which result in severe feed shortages. Thus, the objective of the current study was to assess feed resource availability and utilization using a feed assessment tool (FEAST) within the context of the overall farming and livestock production systems and to determine the potential of site-specific feed interventions in Lemu Bilbilo district.

What Will Be Learned In This Presentation?

The feed resources in the study area was primarily natural pasture, crop residue (cereals and legumes), purchased feed, cultivated fodder and naturally occurring and collected fodder. Crop residue was a major component in the diet of livestock. Animals rely on crop residues throughout the year especially when grazing pastures are scarce. Farmers who do not have adequate quantity of crop residue from cropping activities purchase additional straw from other farmers who produced cereals in surplus. The straw was usually fed to the animals without any form of processing or manipulation prior to feeding. However, some farmers were aware of mixing straws with linseed cake, wheat bran or salt as a means of improving quality and palatability. The contribution of grazing to dry matter (DM), metabolizable energy (ME) and crude protein content (CP) was relatively high for the above average group farmers who reserve more land for grazing pasture through land renting. Due to limitations of grazing and crop residue resources, farmers in the below average group were forced to purchase feeds. Purchased feeds thus contribute relatively higher to the DM, ME and CP of their livestock diets compared to that of the above average farmers. Feed shortage was identified by both groups of farmers as the most important problem of livestock production. Other constraints like water problem, inefficient veterinary and AI services were similar and equally important for farmers in both groups.

Silage pit in AMAE which was used as training ground for practical feed formulation techniques


Presenters: Mesay Yami1, Bedada Begna1, TeklemedihinTeklewold1, Jane Wamatu 2, Peter Thorne 3 and Alan Duncan

1Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Kulumsa Agricultural Research center, Socio-economics, extension Research Process, P. O. Box 489, Assela, Ethiopia: 2 International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Associate Scientist – Animal Nutritionist,: 3Crop Livestock Scientist, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), P.O .Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

*Corresponding author E-mail: mesay44@gmail.com

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