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Type Journal Article - SpringerPlus
Title Assessment of feed resources, feeding practices and coping strategies to feed scarcity by smallholder urban dairy producers in Jimma town, Ethiopia
Volume 5
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 1-10
URL https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40064-016-2417-9
Smallholder dairy production is increasingly becoming popular in Jimma town. However, feed shortage is a major constraint to dairy production. The objectives of this study was to assess feed resources, feeding practices and farmers’ perceived causes of feed shortage and coping strategies to feed scarcity in smallholder dairy producers in Jimma town, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. A total of 54 randomly selected dairy farmers were interviewed using a pre-tested structured questionnaire and through direct observations. Twenty major feed types used by dairy farmers were identified and categorized into five classes: natural pasture grazing, green feeds, hay, concentrate (commercial mix and agro-industrial by-products) and non-conventional feed resources. Green feeds-fresh or succulent grasses and legumes (mean rank = 0.361), concentrate (0.256), hay (0.198), non-conventional feeds (0.115) and natural pasture grazing (0.070) were ranked as the main feed resources in that order of importance. Green feed (94.4 % of the respondents) was found to be the main basal diet of dairy cattle. Overall, wheat bran (85.2 % of the respondents), commercial concentrate (55.6 %), noug (Guizotia abyssinica) cake (20.4 %), cotton seed cake (7.4 %) and molasses (7.4 %) were the main concentrate supplements used (P > 0.05). Local brew waste (attela) (77.8 % of the respondents), bean and pea hulls (42.6 %) enset (Ensete ventricosum) leaf and pseudo-stem (37 %), sugarcane tops (33.3 %), banana leaf and stem/stover (16.7 %) and papaya stem (16.7 %) were the dominant non-conventional feed resources in the surveyed area (P > 0.05). About 79.6, 7.4, 1.9 and 11.1 % of the farmers used zero-, semi-zero-, and the combination of zero- and semi-zero- and free-grazing systems, respectively. Most farmers (90.7 %) offered concentrate supplements to milking cows. However, supplementation did not consider milk yield, physiological status and condition of cows. All the farmers (100 %) offered common salt to their cattle as mineral supplement. The majority (98.1 %) of the farmers experience feed shortage in the dry season. Land scarcity (55.6 % of the respondents) was reported as the most important cause of feed scarcity followed by a combination of land scarcity and poor feed availability (42.2 %). Increasing use of agro-industrial by-products and commercial concentrate mix (87 % of the respondents), increasing use of hay (74.1 %), increasing use of non-conventional feeds (50 %), purchasing green feeds (19.8 %) and reducing herd size (2.7 %) were the strategies adopted for coping with feed scarcity. From results of this study, it could be concluded that to ensure sustainable availability of dairy cattle feed in the surveyed area, technological, technical and institutional innovations would be vital.

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