Feeding Trial: Goat
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In Afghanistan, goats are an essential element in the mixed crop-livestock farming under irrigated and rainfed production systems and the livelihoods of rural communities with a total number of 7.3 million goats that produced 44,200 Mt of meat and 118,000 Mt of fresh milk (FAO, 2012). In the past goats were regarded as “backyard” animals of little commercial significance partly due to cultural and social prejudices associated with goat husbandry (Devendra, 2006). This image has changed in recent years but often the potentials of goats are still underexploited. Availability of sufficient quality feed is limited due to prolonged conflict situation prevailing in the country and this is affecting the productivity of livestock in the country. The aim of future dairy development research in Afghanistan is to increase milk production at minimal costs and to develop small-scale processing technologies and marketing systems for milk and milk products in the rural areas. To achieve this objective, there is need for both on-station and on-farm research. Taking into consideration these challenge, an effort was made in 2013 in the project implemented by ICARDA “Dairy Goat Production” by conducting a feeding trial to suggest optimum feeding option to the communities of smallholder goat farmers. The results from this first feeding trial were inconclusive and it was not possible to suggest optimum feeding options to the goat farmers. Therefore in order to give a recommendation on suitable selected feed mix with certainty and confidence to achieve the desired impact, it was planned to conduct the same experiment for one more season with the same objective to recommend optimum feeding options to the smallholder goat farmers of Baghlan and Nangarhar provinces and then disseminate and promote the results among the communities. The experiment was repeated in the second quarter of 2015 and the detailed methodology and the results of the study were given below.