Breeding Practices and Farmers Trait Preferences on Indigenous Dairy Cattle Production in East Gojjam Zone, Ethiopia
Keywords:breeding practice, selection criteria, indigenous cattle
This study was carried out to evaluate the indigenous cattle breeding activities and farmersâ€™ trait preferences on indigenous dairy cows in Hulet Eju Enese, Enebsie Sar Midir and Aneded districts within East Gojjam Zone under smallholder farmers management system. For the study, a cross-sectional survey and structured questionnaire as well as focus group discussions were used to collect data from 225 households. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Version 20) to study the magnitude and direction of variation. Uncontrolled natural mating was a common mating system accounting 82%, 87.3%, 73.3% in Hulet Eju Enese, Enebsie Sar Midir and Aneded districts, respectively. The first breeding objective of the farmers in Enebsie Sar Midir district was obtaining better milk yield 45.4%, however attaining strong draft oxen 42.7% was more preferred in both Hulet Eju Enese and Aneded districts. Trait preference ranking indices showed that communities prefer cattle for its higher milk yield with the indices of 0.16, 0.37, 0.22, faster growth rate 0.11, 0.09, 0.11, adaptability to local environment (shortage of feed resources and prevalence of disease) 0.10, 0.07, 0.08, breeding ability 0.14, 0.13, 0.09 and providing traction power 0.22, 0.19, 0.35 in Hulet Eju Enese, Enebsie Sar Midir and Aneded districts, respectively. Farmers' cattle trait preferences slightly differ acrossÂ districts. Overall, milk yield and draught power were the most important production objectives. Among the selection criteria of farmers for indigenous dairy cows, udder and teat size, and pelvic width were commonly considered as primary important and in addition traction power, breeding ability and tolerant to seasonal feed shortage and disease for male selection. Productivity of cattle is limited by several constraints that include natural uncontrolled and unorganized breeding practice, high prevalence of diseases, poor reproductive performance, limited feed availability and poor marketing system and lack of recording system in the study area.
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