Livestock feed resources utilization practices in Tanqua-Abergelle district of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

Trop Anim Health Prod. 2016 Aug;48(6):1183-90. doi: 10.1007/s11250-016-1073-y. Epub 2016 May 8.


A study was carried out with the objective to assess the utilization practices of local feed resources. It was implemented in Tanqua-Abergelle district of the Tigray region, Northern Ethiopia. Lemlem and Gera peasant associations (PAs) were selected purposively based on their potentiality in livestock resources and road access for household (HH) interview purpose. Likewise, Sheka-Tekli and Hadinet PAs were chosen for the purpose of focus group discussion (FGD). A total of 60 HHs (30 from each PA) were selected randomly for interview using semi-structured questionnaire. About 16 % of the respondents were female HHs. Two FGDs were held with key informants. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS (2013, version 21) statistical software procedures. The study area is characterized by mixed crop-livestock farming system with high interaction between crop and livestock. Livestock are the mainstay for the farm community with many benefits as sources of draught, meat, milk, income, and manures. Cattle are kept primarily for the purpose of draught power with meat and milk as secondary products, whereas shoats are kept mainly for cash income, manure, meat, and milk. The land holding size per HH was 1.44 ha while the herd size was 4.93 tropical livestock unit (TLU). Almost all the land holding (97 %) is allocated for crop cultivation with lesser for forage production (<1 %) indicating poor attention for fodder harvesting. The cattle herd is composed of local breeds (99 %) with less exotic/crossbred (1 %), indicating that the livestock rearing is practiced using local breed. Crop residues, natural pastures, stubble grazing, hay, and browsing are the main feed resources for animals. The availability and contribution of each feed vary with season and areas. Sorghum stover is the main feed source in the area and followed by maize stover, Eragrostis tef straw, and pulse straws. Crop residues are fed as basal diet with no or less supplementation using local concentrates like Attela and mill by-products. Industrial by-products are rarely used in the livestock feeding system for their high price and less availability. Likewise, improved forages are not widely utilized as feed sources.

Keywords: Crop residue; Local concentrate; Lowland and natural pasture.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animal Feed / statistics & numerical data*
  • Animal Husbandry*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Dairying*
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Ethiopia
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Lactation
  • Livestock
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Seasons
  • Young Adult