Animal husbandry is an important part of the livelihood of the farmers. Livestock farming has given a self-operating business for farmers and providing an alternative source of livelihood holding under natural disasters. Based on livestock population, India ranks first in the world. Along with this India's milk production in the first place in the world. However, milk production per animal India is far behind in comparison with several countries. Primarily may be because of lack of adequate forage, its nutritious value and milch animals generally have to rely on crop residues. An estimated lack of green fodder, dried fodder and concentrates is 36%, 40% and 44% respectively. Under this situation improvement in production of various forage crop species, improved variety can be used to ensure availability of green fodder. Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute has developed improved crop varieties of various forage crops with rich in quality.

Annual fodder crops (cereals fodder)

Corn, millet, oats, and barley cereals fodder crops. These crops is harvested at 50% flowering stage. Cereals crops have higher tonnage of green fodder productivity than legumes. Annual cereals fodder crops can be grown under rain-fed farming system except oats and barley. The protein content of cereals fodder is less, so that it usually mixed with equal quantity of legume fodder andis fed to the animals. Approximately,55-60 days after sowing it is ready for cutting green fodder and multi-cut fodder crops like oats can be first cut harvested in 35-40 days after sowing.

Annual fodder crops (legumefodder)

Cowpea, bean, guar and berseem are rapid growing annual legumeforage crops. They usually fed to both sheep and cattle due to its excellent nutritive value. They are regarded as good fodder for milk producing cows. Legumes fix enough nitrogen in the soil and used as green manure crop for improvement of soil health.  Cowpea and sem are tolerant of both drought and heat stress. The protein content in legumes is higher than the cereals fodder crops. Approximately, 45-55 days after sowing it is ready for cutting as green fodder.

Annual forage crop varieties developed from Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute

 

Crops

Variety

Green fodder productivity t/ha

Sowing time

General traits (average content)

Kharif

Cowpea

Kohinoor

35-46

Feb. Mar. Jul.

Crude protein: 15-20%, crude fiber: 24-28%, total digestible matter: 55-60%, Calcium:1.4%, phosphorous: 0.35%

Bundel lobia-1

32-37

Bundel lobia-2

35-38

Bundel lobia-4

35-40

Sem

Bendel sem-1

30-35

Mar.& Jul.

Crude protein: 15-18%, crude fiber: 24-27%

Guar

Bundel guar-1

30-35

Mar. & Jul.

Ability to tolerate stress,crude protein: 10-15%, Not suitable for excessive soil moisture condition

Bundel guar-2

32-36

Bajra

AVKB-19

35-38

Mar. & Aug.

Suitable for arid and semi-arid areas,

crude protein: 2.3 %, crude fiber: 36%

Rabi 

Berseem

 

 

Wardan

70-75

Mid Sept. to Oct.

Highly palatable fodder crop, crude protein: 15-18%, crude fiber: 24-27%, total digestible matter: 60-65 %

 

Bundle berseem -1

90-100

Bundle berseem -3

70-80

Oat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bundle Jai-2010-1

35-40

Mid sept. to Dec.

Crude protein: 7-9%, if nitrogen is given in right proportion than the protein content may be enhanced up to11%

 

Bundle Jai- 2000-4

40-50

Bundle Jai-99-1

30-35

Bundle Jai-822

45-50

Bundle Jai-851

40-45

Bundle Jai-99-2

45-50

Bundle Jai-2001-3

45-50

Bundle Jai-2009-1

55-60

Kent

45-50

 

Perennial fodder crop

Green fodder production cane be taken up to 3-4 years from perennial forage crops. These crops are not used for production in the first year after planting, 1 year they need for proper establishment. From second year onwards, crop harvested and fed to the animals. After each cutting required amount of nitrogen should be appliedfor proper growth of development.Bajra x Napier hybrid, guinea grass, Cenchrus grass, Sehima grass, Chrysopogon grass, Heteropogon grass, are the popular grass and adapted grass to our Indian soil. Under perennial legume crop, alfalfa is high in protein. The above perennial fodder crop have more tolerance to abiotic stresses than annual forage crop. Perennial forage crops provideslong-term options for forage production.

Perennial forage crop varieties developed from Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute

Crops

Variety

Green fodder productivity t/ha

General traits (average content)

Bajra x Napier hybrid

 

 

 

IGFRI-3

190-270

Crude protein: 9-10%, crude fiber27-30%

 

 

 

IGFRI-6

210-250

IGFRI-10

200-250

Sampoorna (DHN-6)

225-275

Guinea grass

Bundel guinea-1

85-100

Shade tolerant crop, crude protein: 8-12%, crude fiber: 30-31%

Bundel guinea-2

90-110

Bundel guinea-4

95-110

DGG-1

95-125

Cenchrus grass

Bundle anjan-1

35-45

Crude protein:10-12%,the nutrient content in matured crop is also good.

Bundle anjan-3

30-37

Lucerne

Chetak

100-120

Highly palatable crops,crude protein: 18-22%, crude fiber: 25-35%

Sehima grass

Bundle saen grass-1

30-35

Crude protein: 12-14%, crude fiber: 23-25%

Chrysopogon grass

Bundle dhawalu grass-1

25-30

Crude protein: 5-6%, crude fiber: 26-27%

Heteropogongrass

Bundle lampa grass-1

25-30

Crude protein: 7-8%, crude fiber: 24-27%

 


Authors:

R. P. Sah, M. K. Srivastav, Manjunatha N., K. K. Dwivedi and S. Khare

Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

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