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The Feed Study

Ethiopia & Burkina Faso, 2018 - 2023

The Feed Study is part of the project EQUIP – Strengthening smallholder livestock systems for the future, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Principal Investigator (PI) and Lead Institution

Dr. Adegbola Adesogan, University of Florida


Dr. Mulubrhan Balehegn Gebremikael, University of Florida

Collaborator Institutions and Co-PIs


Agronomy coverRead 11 articles in this special issue of Agronomy Journal. Briefly, they are:

  1. Amole, T. et al. 2021. Livestock feed resources in the West African Sahel
  2. Balehegn, M. et al. T. 2021. Forage conservation in sub-Saharan Africa: Review of experiences, challenges, and opportunities
  3. Balehegn, M. et al. 2021. The use of near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy for forage nutritive value analysis in sub-Saharan African countries: Challenges and opportunities
  4. Bedaso, N. H. et al. 2021. Effect of fertilizer inputs on productivity and herbage quality of native pasture in degraded tropical grasslands
  5. Boote, K. J. et al. 2021. Fodder development in sub-Saharan Africa: An Introduction
  6. Feyisa, T. 2021. Assessment of fodder resources in Ethiopia: Biomass production and nutritional value
  7. Harris-Coble, L. et al. 2021. Gender and livestock feed research in developing countries: A review
  8. Mekonnen, K. et al. 2021. Feed and forage development in mixed crop–livestock systems of the Ethiopian highlands: Africa RISING project research experience
  9. Ouédraogo, A. et al. 2022. Assessment of peri-urban livestock producers’ willingness to pay for improved forages as cash crops
  10. Zampaligre, N. et al. 2021. Herbage accumulation and nutritive value of cultivar Mulato II, Congo grass, and Guinea grass cultivar C1 in a subhumid zone of West Africa
  11. Zampaligre, N. et al. 2021. Fodder biomass, nutritive value, and grain yield of dual-purpose Pearl Millet, Sorghum and Maize cultivars across different agro-ecologies in Burkina Faso

Abdu, Y., Tolera, A., Nurfeta, A., and Bradford, B. 2023. Effect of locally available and commercial preservatives on nutrient content, organic matter digestibility and microbial changes of wet brewers' grain. Veterinary Integrative Sciences, 21(2), 273-289.

Ashagrie, A.K., Feyissa, F., Kebede, G., Faji, M., Mohammed, K., Mengistu, G., Kitaw, G., Dejene, M., Geleti, D., Minta, M., Rios, E.F., Balehegn, M., and Adesogan, A.T. 2023. Enhancing dairy productivity through best bet feeding interventions under smallholders in the central highlands of Ethiopia. Front. Anim. Sci. 4:1118437.

Balehegn, M., Duncan, A., Tolera, A., Ayantunde, A.A., Issa, S., Karimou, M., Zampaligré, N., André, K., Gnanda, I., Varijakshapanicker, P., Kebreab, E., Dubeux, J., Boote, K., Minta, M.,  Feyissa, F., and Adesogan, A.T. June 2020. Improving adoption of technologies and interventions for increasing supply of quality livestock feed in low- and middle-income countries. Global Food Security, Volume 26, 100372.



The quantity and quality of livestock feed remains one of the most critical challenges to smallholder livestock farmers. Feed typically accounts for 50 to 80 percent of the total livestock production cost. Limited quality and quantity of feed hinders smallholder livestock producers by reducing the productivity of their livestock, as well as decreasing the economic benefits of livestock production. Although genetic, management, and health interventions all have the potential to increase livestock productivity, the benefits of these interventions are reduced, and are ultimately unsustainable, without quality and affordable animal feed.

The Feed Study focuses on improving the quality and quantity of animal feed, specifically for dairy cows in Ethiopia and for sheep and goats in Burkina Faso. These species of livestock are particularly important for poor livestock producers, and improving the productivity and profitability of these species is a priority for governments of the respective countries in order to reduce poverty, improve nutrition and promote resilience. Moreover, this work will also be applicable to other livestock species and have significant spillover impacts to other countries.

In recognition of the diverse challenges to improving animal feed quality and quantity, the Feed Study will work in five focal areas (click link for a leaflet):

  1. Creating an Inventory of Feed Resources Through a Landscape Analysis
  2. Increasing Yield, Quality and Preservation of Fodder with Location-Specific Improved Forages for Different Agroecologies
  3. Determining and Meeting Nutrient Requirements of Indigenous Livestock with Balanced Rations
  4. Improving Capacity to Analyze the Nutritional Value of Livestock Feeds with Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy
  5. Examining Effects of Synergizing Feed, Management and Genetic Interventions on Milk Production and Health of Dairy Cows in Ethiopia

The Feed Study began in 2018 and plans to conclude its research in 2022.

More Information

 October 2020 research update FEED VGM (Virtual General Meeting)

This study is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the EQUIP project.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

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This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.  Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#1175487.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.