The study was conducted in four districts of Gurage zone, Sothern Nations Nationalities and People’s Region to determine the quantity and quality of available feed resources and to measure the livestock feed balance. A total of 360 households from dega (highland) and weinadega (midaltitude) peasant associations were selected using proportional sample size determination (Cochran, 1909; Thrustfield, 2013). The DM produced from leaf and leaf midribs of enset (Ensete ventricosum), crop reissues and natural grasses in tons, respectively, were 506.4 (52.73%), 312.33 (32.52%) and 141.62 (14.75%) in dega and 662.96 (49.36%), 472.83 (35.2%) and 207.33 (15.44%) in weinadega. The DCP produced from enset leaf and leaf midribs, crop residues and natural pasture, respectively, were 51819.91 kg, 8401.16 kg and 10335.43 kg in dega, 55217.94 kg, 13799.32 kg and 11490.23 kg in weinadega. The ME produced in dega was 4420872, 2296269.8 and 1188191.8 MJ whereas it was 6013047.2, 3430459.7 and 1689739.5 MJ in weinadega from enset parts, crop residues and natural pasture, respectively. The amount of DM, DCP and ME produced by individual household per year in weinadega agroecology were significantly higher (p<0.05) than the amount produced in dega agroecology. The annual feed supply in the study areas met only (76.81%) DM and (69.9%) DCP of the maintenance requirement of livestock in TLU but available ME was (1.67%) surplus. Conversely, the annual feed supply met only (64.98%) DM, (66.24%) DCP and (85.66%) ME of the maintenance requirement of livestock at dega agroecology, whereas in weinadega, agroecology about 88.31% DM and 73.46% DCP of the maintenance requirement were met but the estimate of ME was 17.22% above the requirement. This indicates that the livestock in the study areas of Gurage zone are in serious feed deficit which needs a special attention in supplementing the livestock with concentrates of protein sources for both agroecologies and energy for dega agroecology to overcome deficiency, especially during dry periods for reasonable livestock production.
Key words: Chemical composition, Dega, feed balance, feed resource, Gurage zone, Weinadega.
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