Potential of Oat (Avena sativa), Vetch (Vicia villosa) and their Mixtures as Fodder in the Ethiopian Highland
The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of oat (Avena sativa; variety-CI-8237), vetch (Vicia villosa) and their mixtures under irrigation conditions in the Ethiopian highland. This mixed cropping is a mixture of legume and cereal, it was done to fulfills a variety of functions, including complementary use of growth factors, such as soil nutrients, light, and water; reduced pest and disease incidence, reduced soil erosion, more total biomass production, more yield stability, and more household food security. Treatments were included: sole oat (T1), sole vetch (T2), 85% oat + 15% vetch (T3), 70% oat + 30% vetch (T4), 55% oat + 45% vetch (T5) and 40% oat + 60% vetch (T6). Experimental plots were laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replications in Damot Gale District, Wolaita Zone, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region, Ethiopia. Data collected for emergence date, plant height, and number of leaves per tiller, total fresh yield, dry matter yield and chemical composition in two consecutive years (2018-19 and 2019-20). The greatest and shortest days to emergence with 19 and 13 days were recorded in 100% vetch and 100% oat, respectively. The highest Dry Matter (DM) yield was obtained from the mixture of 55% oat and 45% vetch (6.75t/ha). The highest Land Equivalent Ratio (LER) was obtained in 55% oat and 45% vetch mixture. Similarly, this treatment had lower Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) (45.77%), Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) (8.01%) and Acid Detergent Lignin (ADL) (1.31 g per kg) concentrations and highest In Vitro Dry Matter Digestibility (IVDMD) (73.14%). Overall, it is recommended that in the highlands of Ethiopia, smallholder farmers can use 55% oat and 45% vetch to increase the quantity and quality of fodder.