The cost of feeding makesup 60-80% of the variable cost of milk production and without good feeding programmes the benefit of good breeding and management programmes cannot be realized.
In Debre Markos: The use of concentrate feed is not practiced to a large extent. There is no single wheat flour producing plant which could be a source of wheat bran or wheat middling. Likewise, there is no oil producing mill which would have resulted oilseed cakes or meals such as noug , sesame or linseed cake etc.. Noug cake for example has a price of 300 Birr per quintal at the time of the studyIn Jimma town:There is no feed by products producing industry currently in Jimma town..There were small press oil mills and these have been even closed recently. The only flour mill that has been established about ten years ago by an investor has never gone into operation. The brewery at Bedele is to far to haul wet feed as brewer’s grain as is. Therefore the dairy farmers in general and the cooperative in particular are compelled to bring wheat bran as far as Hosana and Nazreth/Adama, Noog cake and dairy mixed ration from Addis Ababa. The cooperative distributes these feed to its members at small profit margin
Jimma town: The quality of the forage that they haul as far as four kilometers is of bad quality. The farmers use animal drawn cart to transport the feed which normally are made twice a day. In addition the farmers prepare hay by purchasing the field of growing grass at end of the main rainy season. This price of such forages as they stand is expensive. A fresh grass field of 0.5 ha size has been sold at a price of Birr 8,000 at the beginning of the Ethiopian Year 2000. Ato Getachew Zeru (Chairperson of the cooperative) , said that the price may increase to 10,000 birr in the year 2002. Another dairy producer who has been interviewed has also the same opinion that good stand grass could fetch a price tag as high as two birr per square meter.
At sululta most of the farmers interviewed are used to ensile crop residue with molasses and urea spray for twenty one days and they have expressed appreciation of the feed quality . The crop residues include beans hull, oat straw, lentils hull, Barley straw, wheat straw, but there is no significant amount of tef straw in use since tef is not readily grown in the vicinity. The farmers have indicated that the feeding of the ensiled crop residue with urea, molasses and salt mix has increased the milk production by ten to thirteen liters and improved the condition score of the animals.In Selale for example the crop residues that are widely used include barley straw, wheat straw, oat straw, lentil haulm and bean haulm. There are cases where farmers do not at all supplement or treat whatsoever these crop residues even though supplementing them with protein supplement such as noog cake and brewers grain/ Local brewers’ grain (Atela) could have been a workable option at hand. The farmers, however, accidentally use some form of treatment, ie chopping of straw, in that some of the crop residues are shredded to smaller sizes during the process of threshing.
The Franco Nardelli Farm has tried elephant grass but they offered it without chopping it which is a form that is hardly consumed by the dairy herd.