Assessment of Production and Reproductive Performances of Cattle and Husbandry Practices in Bench-Maji Zone, Southwest Ethiopia
The research was conducted to characterize the performances of cattle, to assess farmer preferences for cattle traits and to identify the husbandry practices and major constraints. Mean for age at puberty age at first services and age at first calving cows was 44.01±11.0 months, 41.47±5.6 months and 50.87±7.0 months, respectively. Average daily milk yield and lactation length was reported 2.06±0.5 liters and 278.03±77.9 days respectively. Source of cattle feeds is natural pasture, crop residues and aftermath. In all the season, wet and dry season cattle were allowed to graze entirely on natural pasture on communal and private grazing land. Rivers springs, borehole water and dam/pond and rain water were the main sources of water for their cattle. Shortage of water was not common and watering frequency cattle usually drink freely per day. Cattle’s house separated and not far from family house at night to protect them from cold, rain, predators. Calves were always housed separated from their dams in a barn constructed as an expansion of the main houses. Uncontrolled breeding is dominantly practiced. The major diseases reported were, trypanosomosis, black leg, anthrax and bovine pasteurellosis in order of their importance. They included shortage of grazing land 73.3%, shortage of feed 51.4% in the months of January, February and March, scarcity of labor 50.8%, and water scarcity 35% low productivity 32.7% and disease 28.8% were the main constraints. The overall livestock production system in the area was identified as crop-livestock (mixed) production management system.
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