New short communication on animal genetic resources

Posted on 2023-12-19

Management practice of the Sheko cattle breed in Ethiopia: A review

The great diversity of agroecological conditions and production systems present in Ethiopia contributes to the country’s large livestock population and makes it suitable for various forms of livestock production. The Ethiopian livestock sector provides significant economic and social benefits at household levels and to the national economy. Ethiopia has 32 recognized indigenous cattle breeds, of which the Sheko is a known trypano-tolerant breed found in the southwest of the country. However, in recent times, the Sheko population has been declining mainly due to interbreeding with local Zebu cattle and to a shift in the production system. This paper aims to review and illustrate the current status and management practices of the Sheko cattle breed towards conserving and improving the breed, and the production system. The feed resources in the Sheko home area are natural pasture and crop residues, with limited utilization of cultivated improved forage. Husbandry practices such as feeding, watering, housing and veterinary services are priority areas where improvements are needed. Enhancing the conservation and improvement of the breed would greatly benefit from the active improvement of various stakeholders, including governmental policymakers and non-governmental organizations. Therefore giving special attention to enhancing the management systems in the breed’s home area is crucial. This involves the direct engagement of research centres, extension workers; and higher learning institutions in proximity to the area all aimed at the conservation and improvement of the Sheko cattle breed.

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