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Performance and limitation of two dairy production systems in the North western Ethiopian highlands


In order to characterise the dairy production systems as well as the productive and reproductive performance of dairy cows in the study area, a total of 256 and 54 dairy farms were used for survey and monitoring data collection, respectively. Based on breed, land size, feed and market accessibility, two major dairy production systems were identified: a rather specialized, urban, and a peri-urban dairy production system. Urban farmers owned larger herds but farmed less land, and sold a greater proportion of liquid milk than peri-urban farmers, who processed more milk. Purchased feed played a more important role for the feed supply of urban than peri-urban farms. Significant breed effects were found for productive and reproductive performance traits. It is concluded that improved breeding and health management, genetic improvement of local breeds and supplementation of poor quality feed resources are the key factors for enhancing productivity of dairy cows and thereby increasing family income from milk production.

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The authors are very grateful to the Austrian Exchange Service and Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute (ARARI), Ethiopia for their financial support. The support of Dr. Getachew Alemayehu and Dr. Eshete Dejen (ARARI) were particularly important. We also express our gratitude to the livestock owners and to the staff of Andasssa Livestock Research Centre for their cooperation, technical and logistical assistance. Dr. Roswitha Baumung's (BOKU) help in all statistical aspects is highly acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Maria Wurzinger.

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Ayenew, Y.A., Wurzinger, M., Tegegne, A. et al. Performance and limitation of two dairy production systems in the North western Ethiopian highlands. Trop Anim Health Prod 41, 1143 (2009).

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  • Dairy cows
  • Ethiopia
  • Milk yield
  • Production system
  • Reproduction