Traditional Dairy Production and Milk Handling Practices in Mareka District, Dawuro Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia

  • Asrat Guja Amejo Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural Sciences, Arba Minch University,


This study aimed to assess traditional dairy production, management, and milk handling practices in the Mareka district of the Dawuro zone in southwestern Ethiopia. Samples included 96 dairy cattle-producing households across three agroecological zones. Data collection methods were structured questionnaires, observations, and discussions with key informants. Statistical analysis was performed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. According to the study's findings, lactating cows constituted 28% of the overall herd population in the highlands and lowlands and 27% in the midlands. While 83% of households kept animals in the same house as their family, 15% housed them in the kitchen. Notably, cows in the highlands had a significantly shorter calving interval (17.3±0.78 months) compared to the midland (24.5±1.46 months) and lowlands (23.2±1.58 months). Average lactation lasted 229.3±6.69 days, with milking starting 51.6 days after calving. During peak periods, daily milk production per cow varied from 1.22±0.06 liters in the lowland and midland to 1.63±0.10 liters in the highlands. The average lactation yield per cow was 198.82 liters, with higher yields observed in highland cows, followed by midland and lowland cows. The study emphasizes the importance of empowering farmers and improving management practices to enhance the impact of traditional dairy practices on human nutrition and community livelihoods.

Keywords: traditional dairy production, calving interval, lactation length