Reproductive performance in Ethiopian Zebu (Bos indicus) cattle: Constraints and impact on production
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/51019
The milk and meat productivity of Ethiopia's 27 million cattle is still low for the human population of 53 million, which grows at 2.9 percent yr and is expected to surpass 65 million at the end of this century. The present cattle population includes 40 percent (10.8 million) cows of breeding age with an annual calving rate of around 45 percent. Thus, only 4.86 million calves are borne annually. Assuming the ideal calving rate of 65 percent to 70 percent, the expected output is 7.29 million calves. therefore, the potential for 2.43 million calves is lost prenatally each year through poor reproductive performance. With an average weaning weight for calves of 75 kg, the above figure equals 182 million kg live weight. To this must be added losses caused by morbidity and mortality among calves actually born. As the area of land per person is decreasing, productivity per unit animal and land area must be improved, which involves better calf survival rates, improved growth rates and greater cow reproduction rates. Meat and milk production in particular largely depend on good cow reproductive efficiency. This paper highlights results of studies undertaken on zebu cows in Ethiopia, identifying some of the constraints and their impact on production.