The aim was to review and summarize the fragmented characterization information of indigenous cattle breeds of Ethiopia in productive and reproductive performances, morphometric traits and their production challenges and opportunities. Cattle play vital role in ensuring food security of Ethiopia. They contributed milk which accounted above 80% of the total national annual milk production. Although Ethiopia has large indigenous cattle populations with massive diversity, breed level on-farm and on-station characterizations on lactation performance, reproductive performances, morphometric traits and identification of the major challenges and opportunities is very poor. Morphological markers particularly morphometric traits are very important for livestock characterization. Hence, on-farm and on-station characterization and improvement of indigenous cattle breeds should be practiced. Ethiopian Institute of Biodiversity Conservation, Domestic Animal Diversity Information system and Domestic Animal Genetic Resources Information System documented different types and numbers of indigenous cattle breeds of Ethiopia. Hence, the national, regional and global reporting systems should be standardized. This review also indicated that the critical challenge of the studied indigenous cattle breeds of Ethiopia is scarcity of feed which accounted 77.8% of the first ranked challenges; however, there are no reported production opportunities of each indigenous cattle. Therefore, every shareholder should solve the primary challenge and identify the opportunities. Indigenous cattle breeds of Ethiopia are adapted to harsh climatic conditions; limited and poor quality feed resources utilization and tolerance to a range of diseases. However, the current state of knowledge of indigenous scholars on each indigenous cattle breed is below 50%.
Key words: Indigenous cattle, calf crop, lactation performance, reproductive performance, morphometric traits.
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