Strategies for improving water use efficiency of livestock production in rain-fed systems

E.G. Kebebe, S.J. Oosting, A. Haileslassie, A.J. Duncan, I.J.M. De Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Livestock production is a major consumer of fresh water, and the influence of livestock production on global fresh water resources is increasing because of the growing demand for livestock products. Increasing water use efficiency of livestock production, therefore, can contribute to the overall water use efficiency of agriculture. Previous studies have reported significant variation in
livestock water productivity (LWP) within and among farming systems. Underlying causes of this variation in LWP require further investigation. The objective of this paper was to identify the factors that explain the variation in LWP within and among farming systems in Ethiopia. We quantified LWP for various farms in mixed-crop livestock systems and explored the effect of household demographic characteristics and farm assets on LWP using ANOVA and multilevel mixed-effect linear regression. We focused on
water used to cultivate feeds on privately owned agricultural lands. There was a difference in LWP among farming systems and wealth categories. Better-off households followed by medium households had the highest LWP, whereas poor households had the lowest LWP. The variation in LWP among wealth categories could be explained by the differences in the ownership of livestock and
availability of family labor. Regression results showed that the age of the household head, the size of the livestock holding and availability of family labor affected LWP positively. The results suggest that water use efficiency could be improved by alleviating resource constraints such as access to farm labor and livestock assets, oxen in particular.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)908-916
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Early online date15 Dec 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Dec 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • mixed-crop livestock systems
  • livestock feed
  • water use efficiency
  • livestock water productivity

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