Timely hay-making pays off
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CTA. 1990. Timely hay-making pays off. Spore 28. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45321
Hay-making at the end of the long rains in the drier, pastoral areas of Africa has definite advantages. It means less work for women in the dry season and higher calf survival. Recent research in southern Ethiopia by the International Livestock...
Hay-making at the end of the long rains in the drier, pastoral areas of Africa has definite advantages. It means less work for women in the dry season and higher calf survival. Recent research in southern Ethiopia by the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) has shown that Borana women, as in other traditional African societies, work up to 13 hours a day in the long dry season. Much of this time is taken up trekking into the bush to cut and collect standing grass for hand feeding to calves. Alternatively, if hay is made at the end of the wet season and stacked near the homestead, then the women can easily and quickly feed their calves in the dry season. It is easy to train people to make hay and the idea could spread quickly. Women can easily estimate the number of calves that will have to be fed in the dry season, and then set aside the appropriate area to be cut. Not only does hay make life easier for the women but it should mean the calves are fed better. ILCA has shown that the hay may have twice the crude protein of the cut grass- 7.2% compared to 3.4%. The nutrition can be enhanced further by collecting and feeding the pods of Acacia tortilis, the leaves of Acacia brevispica or cowpea hay. Any one of these is as good as lucerne, and very often readily available locally. For three months in the peak of the dry season a 40kg calf would need about 80kg of hay and 20kg of the local legume materials to provide a balanced ration throughout that period. Life for women in the dry season can be eased further if water tanks are built near the homestead, which receive run-off during the wet season. Calves would benefit from water nearby and it is estimated that a third of the women's work load can be cut by the provision of water tanks and hay stacks. ILCA PO Box 5689 Addis Ababa - ETHIOPIA