The study was conducted to assess the performance of dairy cattle in relation with feed availability and quality in selected peri-urban of Debre Birhan, Jimma and Sebeta areas of Ethiopia. Structured questionnaire, secondary data sources, field observations and laboratory analysis were employed to generate data. A total of 60 farmers (Debre Birhan=20, Jimma=20 and Sebeta=20) were randomly selected for the study. The overall estimated mean lactation length of cows was 296.5±8.7 days and was not different (P>0.05) among sites. The overall estimated mean age of heifers at first service was 27.5±1.0 months and age at first calving was 36.8±1.0 months and differed (P<0.001) considerably among the study sites. The result of the study indicated that grass hay was the main basal diet in all study areas. Laboratory analysis of major feed resources indicated that hay had Crude Protein (CP) content of 6.1% and crop residues varied from 3.1 to 6.7%. In addition, crop residues had lower digestibility (48%), its energy value ranged from 6.5 to 7.9 MJ/kg dry matter (DM). Wheat bran, and molasses had Metabolizable Energy (ME) content of 13.2 and 12.5 MJ/kg DM, respectively. Brewery wet grains had lower CP (27%) than cottonseed cake (42%) and enough seedcake (35%). Annual feed balance estimation revealed that the total estimated available feed supply met 83% of the maintenance DM requirement of livestock per farm per year while, the total estimated CP and ME were in accordance with the livestock requirement merely for maintenance. Therefore, from the current study it was concluded that the quality of available basal roughage feeds is generally low and strategic supplementation of protein and energy rich feeds should be required. Furthermore, optional feeds like brewery wet grains and other non-conventional feed resources should be further considered.
Key words: Age at first service, calving interval, crude protein, daily milk yield, days open, feed supply, feed quality, lactation length, metabolizable energy.
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