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Lessons from small-scale irrigated forage production trials: Potential of annual oat-vetch mixtures

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Presented by M. Bezabih, A. Adie, D. Gemiyu, B. Zeleke, P. Schmitter and M. Blümmel at The second Amhara Agricultural Forum, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, 16 January 2018



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Lessons from small-scale irrigated forage production trials: Potential of annual oat-vetch mixtures

  1. 1. Lessons from small-scale irrigated forage production trials: Potential of annual oat-vetch mixtures M. Bezabih, A. Adie, D. Gemiyu, B. Zeleke, P. Schmitter, M. Blümmel The second Amhara Agricultural Forum Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, 16 January 2018 SARI
  2. 2. • Livestock feed - a major constraint in the highlands • High seasonality in the availability and quality of feed resources • Price of feed resources increasing • Improved forage cultivation has become a necessity Introduction
  3. 3. Objective • A pilot trial conducted to explore the potentials of irrigated forage cultivation to: • Improve on-farm meat and milk production for improved household nutrition and income • Serve as cash crop, livelihood and employment strategy • Support diversification, intensification and sustainability of crop-livestock systems
  4. 4. Approach • Trial site - Angacha and Lemo districts of Southern region • Assessment of feed resources, importance and demand for planted forage, and forage preference • Selection and training of farmers who showed interest • Testing production of annual oat- vetch mixture forage • A total of 87 farmers participated
  5. 5. Cont. • Each farmer allocated 100m2 plot of land, planted oat-vetch mixture • Irrigated the plots once weekly, weeded twice in the growth cycle • The plots subjected to different harvesting treatments • One times cutting after 85 days • Two times cutting after 40 and 85 days • Three times cutting after 40, 85 and 120 days • Biomass quantity and quality measured
  6. 6. Findings . 85 85 120 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 Once twice thrice Growingperiod(days) Biomassyield(ton/ha) Harvesting frequency Yield (ton/ha) Growing days
  7. 7. Cont.  Cutting oat-vetch three times rather than one times increased yield by a factor of 2.3  Time window for feeding changed from one cut after 85 days to harvests after 40, 85 and 120 days  Two cut oats-vetch management preferred, allowing time and land for new crop
  8. 8. Cont.  Context on the use of oat-vetch mix: on-farm use vs as cash crop  Assuming all oat-vetch is used for milk production (not for maintenance), a 100m2 oat- vetch mix can give 280kg milk  But the efficiency depends on the productivity of animals
  9. 9. Cont. . Productivity of cows (kg milk per day) 3 6 9 12 Days required to produce 280 kg milk 93 47 31 23  Days required in dependence of cow productivity
  10. 10. Cont.  Return in dependence of cow productivity: Productivity of cow (kg milk/day) 3 6 9 12 Milk yield from use of single cut oat- vetch produced from 100m2 (kg) 61 118 147 167 Return from sale of milk assuming 12 birr/kg 732 1416 1764 2002
  11. 11. Cont. • Forages as cash crop options: – Fresh grass (desho) prices for supplier: 1.5 – 2.0 birr/kg – Fresh forage market relatively young compared to dry feed (hay, straw) but emerging Open fodder markets
  12. 12. Cont. Return from direct sale of single cut 100m 2 oat-vetch forage assuming 1.75 birr/kg forage on fresh matter basis, estimated income approx. 1185 birr Return from direct sale – more attractive than feeding to low producing cows Fodder market links would create alternative opportunities for farmers
  13. 13. Cont. • Dry fodder market better developed with defined actors: – Grass hay: 90 birr/bale – Barley/wheat straw: 60 birr/bale
  14. 14. Cont. On-farm trial: Effect of supplementing approx. 2.0 kg oat-vetch hay daily on milk yield of lactating cows in Endamohomi  Return from milk: 675-1500 birr/100m2 oat-vetch  Estimated income from growing wheat on 100m2 , assuming 40qt/ha, and 900birr/qt, approx. 540birr/100m2
  15. 15. Cont. On farm trial: Weight gain of Doyogena sheep supplemented daily with 200 g DM of oat-vetch forage in Lemo and Angacha 29 31 33 35 37 39 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Weight(kg/head) Week of feeding Angacha Lemo
  16. 16. Conclusion  Allocating land and water exclusively for forage cultivation is a new development in Ethiopia  Irrigated forage is a viable option for small scale irrigation  There is good agreement between empirical observations and ex-ante assessments  Feeding to own livestock may be economically attractive where the genetic potential is high, particularly for dairy
  17. 17. Conclusion  Forage as cash-crop can be attractive and more than feeding to own livestock  Optimizing the use of land and water resources with the application of decision support tools  Work on feed/fodder value chain required
  18. 18. This presentation is licensed for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. better lives through livestock ilri.org ILRI thanks all donors and organizations who globally supported its work through their contributions to the CGIAR system SARI

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