Farmers’ Participatory Evaluation And Performance Testing of Selected Forage Varieties in Selected Districts of Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia
Jane Wamatu. (1/11/2021). Farmers’ Participatory Evaluation And Performance Testing of Selected Forage Varieties in Selected Districts of Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Beirut, Lebanon: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
The objectives of this study were to understand current forage options, identifying the major constraints and opportunities, and to evaluate the performance of selected forage options using agronomic performance, yield, and chemical compositions in selected Districts (Menze Mama, Menze Gera, Ziquala, and Abergelle) of eastern Amhara regional state, Ethiopia. The survey part of the study was conducted in four selected districts while the field experiment was done at Menze Mama District. In the survey part, purposive sampling method was employed to select the study districts and kebeles. A total of 218 household respondents were participated in the assessment study. In the field experiment, randomized complete block design was used with one factor (inter-cropping) arrangements with three grass species (inter-cropped with vetch and sole) having three replications. The selected forage species were: desho (Kulumsa-DZF #592), vetch (Vicia dasycarpa), oats (Lampton), and Phalaris ((Phalaris aquatica (acc6583)). samples were harvested based on the recommended harvesting ages of forages, weighed, dried, and ground sub-samples were taken for chemical analyses of dry matter, ash, organic matter, crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, acid detergent lignin, in vitro organic matter digestibility, and metabolizable energy using Near-infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy. The collected data was subjected to statistical package for social sciences version 20 for the survey part and a general linear model analysis of variance procedure of statistical analysis system for experimental part. The result showed that oats, vetch, Phalaris, desho, elephant grass, Rhodes grass, and cowpea were the most distributed forage options in the study areas. The most common major constraints that reduce forage production in the study districts were lack of forage seed, shortage of land, drought, limited knowledge/awareness, and high cost of planting materials as the percentage of respondents ranked them in decreasing order of their influences. Inversely, there were also some major opportunities to facilitate forage production in the study districts such as presence of fallowing land, high amount of livestock population, accessibility of water and irrigation, and applicability of forage development strategies, supporting/intervention of research center and non-governmental organizations on farmers, suitability of the area for sheep production (Menze sheep), and high consumer preference of Menze sheep were critical opportunities for improved forage production. Among the forage production strategies practiced in the study areas were backyard, under-sowing, and inter-planting, stock exclusion area/forage bank, and contour forage strips in decreasing order in terms of rank, respectively. The participatory evaluation of farmers’ ranked that the forage species 1st (oats), 2nd (vetch), 3rd (Phalaris), and 4th (desho) based on physical/morphological observations. Based on plant height (cm), oat, vetch, Phalaris and desho from sole forage species while oat (oat + vetch), Vetch (oat + vetch), Vetch (desho + vetch) and desho (desho + vetch) from inter-cropped forage species in their decreasing order, respectively. The maximum leaf length was recorded from oats (sole and inter-cropped), Phalaris, and desho (sole and inter-cropped), respectively as declining order, respectively. The leaf length of both inter-cropped oats and desho was higher than the sole one. Based on DMYs, oats, vetch, desho, and Phalaris were ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th from soles and oats (oats + Vetch), vetch (oats+ Vetch), desho (desho+ Vetch), and vetch (desho + vetch) ranked as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th from inter-cropped forage species, respectively. As compared to each other based on their CP value, vetch, desho, Phalaris and oats ranked as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th from sole forage species while vetch (desho+ Vetch), Vetch (oats + vetch), desho (desho + vetch) and oats (oats + vetch) ranked as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th from inter-cropped forage species, respectively. The highest digestibility was obtained from vetch (oats + vetch) (65.94) followed by oats (oats + vetch) (65.83), sole oats (65.64), sole vetch (64.94), vetch (desho + vetch) (64.51), sole Phalaris (61.42), desho (desho + vetch) (59.54) while the minimum was obtained from sole desho (58.10). The highest metabolizable energy was obtained from sole oats (9.60) and inter-cropped oats (9.59), and vetch (oats + vetch) (9.15), sole vetch (9.10), and the lowest were recorded from the remaining sole and inter-cropped forage species with nearly comparable to each other. The overall finding showed that better morphological and nutritional characteristics were recorded from inter-cropped forage species rather than sole forages. According to farmer’s validation and field level performance test results, oats and vetch were selected and recommended to the the study area and similar agro-ecologies.