Improved troughs are reducing feed wastage in Ethiopia
Even though livestock play a significant role in improving the livelihoods of Ethiopia’s rural households, feed availability has been a major constraint for many livestock keepers in the country. Pressure on land due to a high population density has reduced available land for growing forages, which are often also of low quality. Postharvest feed loss and poor utilization practices also contribute greatly to feed scarcity and poor livestock nutrition in the smallholder farming system.
Simple and affordable technologies can, however, considerably minimize wastage of feeds during storage and optimize the use of available feed resources.
Under the Africa RISING project in Ethiopia, improved feed sheds and prototype improved feed troughs have been tested and validated to reduce wastage and bring other advantages when feeding cattle and small ruminants. Findings and observations from the research include the following:
- Feed wastage was considerably reduced (>30%) because of using improved feed troughs and storage sheds.
- Quality deterioration of straw, stover and hay was avoided during storage due to improved feed sheds.
- Fungal contamination on stored feeds was minimal, which enable the reduction of health risks for farmers who handle feeds and feeding.
- Labour demand for feeding reduced (up to 20%) due to feeding troughs.
- The technologies enabled farmers to mix different feed ingredients on feed troughs and feed a better-quality diet.
- Improved feed troughs contributed to an efficient cut-and-carry feeding system with cultivated forages and other collected feeds.
- Interest was created among development partners to scale up the technologies.
- By 2021, more than 2,200 feed troughs have been shared with livestock keepers with support from development partners.
For farmers like Alemayehu Endale in Angolalla District, the feed trough technology has played a significant role in reducing wastage. ‘Previously we fed our cattle on the ground and the cattle would walk on the feeds, which were also exposed to mud. But with the feeding trough, an affordable technology, we can feed them very well and reduce wastage,’ he says.
According to Kindu Mekonnen, the project’s chief scientist, these technologies are enhancing feed management and use by promoting safe, high-quality animal feeding. Farmers can use the feed trough to easily mix feeds and they make it convenient to feed mixed diets for cattle.’
He adds that the results from monitoring the use of the improved feed troughs technology in four sites in Ethiopia shows a positive outcome in saving the feed biomass supplied to the animals as compared to the traditional feed troughs.
This film highlights the works of Africa RISING in helping smallholder farmers with the improved technologies.