Trends in on-farm performance testing of small ruminants in sub-Saharan Africa
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Peters, K.J. 1989. Trends in on-farm performance testing of small ruminants in sub-Saharan Africa. In: Wilson, R.T. and Melaku, A. (eds.). 1989. African Small Ruminant Research and Development. Proceedings of a conference held at Bamenda, Cameroon 18 - 25 January 1989. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: ILCA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/16488
About 75% of Africa's livestock are associated with smallholder and agropastoral farming systems. Livestock performance can be greatly increased through improved management. Production problems, possible interventions and animal performance need to be identified within the prevailing system. On-farm testing has expanded considerably although on-station testing has been more reported. Most on-farm tests are short term, do not allow full assessment of the whole production process, and rarely match health and management data to performance. On-farm work can be complemented by on-station tests for comparative breed evaluation, assessment of specific performance ability and technology development. On-station comparisons are valuable but their application is limited by high costs and genotype environment interactions. On-farm testing is impaired by constraints which increase the number of covariates, decrease accessibility to flocks and limit estimation of breeding values. On-farm recording therefore requires a large number of flocks, monitored continuously, within a system oriented scheme. Efficient on-farm testing needs standard methods, rapid data handling and results feedback, and can best be achieved through collaborative networks which could also organise complementary on-farm and on-station genetic improvement programmes.