Holeta Agricultural Research center has livestock research as one of its focus area since its establishment. Among the three departments of National Livestock Research Process, two of them are based at this center. These include Ruminant Research Department and Animal Health, Feeds and Nutrition Research Department. These departments are mandated to conduct research activities and generate technologies that can alleviate problems hindering production and productivity of domestic animals including dairy cattle. Moreover, these departments have the mandate of coordinating national research programs in their respective areas.

Ruminant livestock research department is one of the two departments under livestock research process based at Holeta Agricultural Research center. This department is engaged in generating technologies and information that can minimize or solve production and productivity problems of livestock around the center’s mandate areas and across the nation. As a result, the department has produced several research reports (over 270) to benefit livestock farmers in general and dairy cattle producers in particular in Ethiopia. Moreover, several dairy technologies including heifers, cows and bulls are distributed to the users in the central highlands of Ethiopia and other parts of the country. In recent years alone (since 2000 EC), more than 340 participating farmers were benefitted from technology outputs such as dairy heifers, cows and bulls demonstrated in 10 districts of East and North Shewa zones. In addition, cows, heifers and bulls are distributed to women and youth associations in different regions of the country including Oromia, Amhara and Southern regions among others.


Through these technologies, several smallholder farmers, youth and women were pulled out of the poverty and some of them became millionaires and investors in different fields including dairy cattle farming. Others also became capable of generating hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian Birr per year and became job creators in their dairy cattle farms and other investments. Moreover, several others in different parts of the country are being benefited not only from the distributed animal technologies but also the pieces of scientific information generated and disseminated through training and various other forms that can help to improve production and productivity of dairy cattle.


Continuous generation of improved dairy cattle technologies such as 50% Boran X Friesian crossbred dairy cows and associated production packages, 75% Friesian X Boran dairy cattle technologies, and Improvement and supply of pure Jersey cattle technologies to the beneficiaries are some of the major achievements of the department. At present, there are about 1000 animals which include calves, heifers, cows, and bulls in two dairy research farms of Holeta and Adaberga which are continuously being tested and improved for their productivity. Moreover, additional technologies that can enhance the productivity of these animals are also being developed through continuous research efforts. In this regard, Multi Nutrient Block technology and Effective microbe technology are important contributions that can not only help to supply multiple nutrients to the animals but also enhance the feed quality for the dairy cattle. In addition, total mixed ration formulation technology, calf and heifer rearing and management practices, estrus synchronization and reproductive improvement as well as post-harvest dairy technology are some of the areas where technology and information generation efforts are continuing with visible achievements.


The department runs the National Dairy Cattle Improvement Research Program, which is a national coordination center for dairy research, implementing and coordinating several research activities almost all over the country. A total of 44 research activities are being implemented under four projects of the program in the center and nationally. Among these, 15 of the activities have national coverage and being implemented both in federal and regional research centers as well as Universities in different parts of the country. In addition to the National Dairy Cattle Improvement Research Program, there is a horse research activity initiated to improve racing capacity of local horses through crossbreeding with exotic breeds. Though it is at its initial stage, this activity is expected to contribute greatly in national equines research endeavor.


§  To improve production and productivity of dairy cattle through selection of indigenous cattle and crossbreeding with exotic high milk yielding breeds

§  To improve rearing and management practices including feeding and health management of dairy animals such as calves, heifers, bulls, and cows through research based and improved feeding practices so as to enhance their productivity under farmers management condition

§  To study milk production, post-harvest handling, processing, preservation and marketing practices by the smallholders and suggest improvement options on existing traditional knowledge and introduce and test improved practices that can be practiced in Ethiopian conditions

§  To promote improved technologies and practices through trainings, pre-extension demonstration and popularization activities as well as dissemination of working manuals and scientific publications


§  Conducting on-station scientific research activities on dairy cattle genetic improvement to produce dairy cattle technology having different Friesian-Boran (FB) level of cross in different parts of the country.

§  Coordinating the pure Jersey dairy cattle genetic improvement research activities in central highland of Ethiopia.

§  Distributing Dairy cattle technologies to the users in different parts of the country

§  Delivering trainings on improved dairy cattle management, breeding, health care, and feeding and nutrition to farmers selected from target woredas.


The Ruminant Livestock Research Process works in partnership and collaboration with various federal and regional research, higher learning and development institutions


Milion Tadesse (PhD),


National Dairy Cattle Research Program

Tel.: +251922402486

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Molla Shumye

Center Representative for,

Ruminant Livestock Research

Tel.: +251912208874

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