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The Abergelle and Irob cattle breeds of North Ethiopia: description and on-farm characterisation

  • M. Zerabruk (a1) and O. Vangen (a1)


A field survey was carried out between January and June 2002 in order to describe and evaluate two local cattle breeds, Abergelle and Irob, found in the Tigray region of North Ethiopia with little previous description available. Information from structured questionnaire of 175 farmers, twenty-one focused group discussions, field measurements of hearth girth and height at withers of 25 males and 25 females of each breed, and secondary information were utilised to carry out an on-farm characterisation and description of these breeds. The two breeds are found to be the smallest breeds in the region with an average body weight of 234 ± 13 and 153 ± 15 kg and average height at withers of 109 ± 3 and 97 ± 5 cm for males and females of the Abergelle breed. For the Irob breed the corresponding figures were 245 ± 36 and 200 ± 36 kg body weight and 106 ± 3 and 105 ± 5 cm height at withers. The Abergelle breed is recognized by farmers to have adaptive advantages to the hotter and drier low lands. Its tolerance to diseases and parasites and ability to cope with feed shortages during the long dry periods are favourably rated by the majority of farmers. The Irob cattle breed is adapted to a mountainous production environment and is highly rated by farmers for its capacity to thrive on the difficult terrain and its utilization of cactus (Opantia ficus indica) as a major source of nutrition.

Se llevó a cabo una encuesta sobre el terreno entre Enero y Junio del 2002 para describir y evaluar dos razas locales de bovinos, Abergelle y Irob, situadas en la región de Tigray en el norte de Etiopia, para las cuales se tenía escasos datos de descripción. La información recogida a través de los cuestionarios entregados por 175 ganaderos, 21 grupos de discusión, medidas tomadas sobre el terreno de la circunferencia torácica y altura a la cruz de 25 machos y 25 hembras de cada raza, así como más información secundaria fueron utilizadas para realizar una caracterización y descripción de estas razas. Se observó que las dos razas eran las más pequeñas de la región con una media de peso corporal de 234 ± 13 y 153 ± 15 kg, una media de altura a la cruz de109 ± 3 y 97 ± 5 cm para los machos y hembras de la raza Abergelle. Para la raza Irob las correspondientes figuras fueron de 245 ± 36 y 200 ± 36 kg de peso corporal, y 106 ± 3 y 105 ± 5 cm de altura a la cruz. La raza Abergelle es reconocida por los ganaderos por presentar mayor capacidad de adaptación en condiciones de temperaturas muy altas y regiones secas. Su tolerancia a las enfermedades y parasitos y su habilidad para sobrevivir en situaciones difíciles con periodos largos de sequía fueron recalcados por los ganadeors. La raza Irob se adapta más a la producción en ambiente montañoso y es apreciada por los ganaderos por su capacidad para desplazarse por terrenos difíciles y por aprovechar el cactus (Opantia ficus indica) como fuente principal de nutrición.



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