This cross-sectional study using a semi-structural questionnaire survey and observation was conducted from August to November 2017 with the objective of assessing the major constraints of dairy farms and its possible risk factors. During the assessment, a total of 54 dairy farm keepers were interviewed. The result of social-demographic characteristics of the current study showed that (35.2%) of respondents were female and (64.8%) of them were males having different educational backgrounds (9.3%), illiterate, (20.4%), primary school (37%) secondary school and (33.3%) university level. At the same time, the present finding indicated that respondents having experience of > 5 years were (77.8%). The present result also showed that the rate of small, medium and large-scale dairy farms are (50%, 31.5%) and (18.5%) respectively. The major health challenges identified in the current assessment are infectious, parasitic (ecto and endoparasites), metabolic, reproductive and other diseases disorders as shown by (64.7%, 35.3%), (85.7%, 40%, 82.9% and 83.3%) of the respondents respectively. According to the response rate of interviewee vaccination, treatment, traditional treatment, slaughtering, quarantine and do nothing of affected animals were used to contain the disease as responded by (92.5%, 85.2%, 1.8%, 1.9%, 1.9% and3.7%) of respondents respectively. Regarding the feed and feeding of the dairy sector, feed scarcity was reported as the main challenge by (77.8%, 22.2%) of respondents working in intensive and semi-intensive dairy farmers respectively especially during the dry season. From the current study, it was concluded that the daily feed supply to animals was not measured by most of the dairy farmers rather feed was provided roughly based on the availability of feed, experience farm workers and daily milk yield. Therefore, detailed on-farm monitoring research on the existing practice of ration formulation by the farmer to come up with possible interventions was very important.
Keywords: Assessment, Constraints, Dairy cattle, Questionnaire, Mekelle