Thursday, March 14, 2013

SEVAI Cow project in Sirugamani promotes fodder development

Fodder bank of SEVAI Cow project

“The SEVAI Cow project in Sirugamani promotes fodder development “said K.Devendran and addedLivestock play an important role in most small scale farming systems. They provide traction to plow fields, manure which maintains crop productivity, and nutritious food products for human consumption. In most small scale farming systems livestock graze in pastures feeding on grass and other herbaceous plants. During the wet season these lands provide adequate forage to maintain productive animals. In the dry season however, the quantity and quality of forage greatly decreases and is generally low in nutritional value. The importance of proper feeding in economic dairy farming needs to be taken care systematically. The SEVAI Cow project in Sirugamani had taken up fodder development as one of the most important activities right from the very beginning. The fodder wing of SEVAI has four major responsibilities – namely Fodder production to meet the feeding requirements of animals, providing inputs for the fodder development programme to farmers and imparting training to technicians and farmers. Apart from the native species, these grasslands also have the introduced varieties of grasses and legumes. Green production from leys is influenced by factors like light, moisture, soil nutrients etc. The dung, urine and shed washings are recycled from the sheds for application to the leys in the form of slurry which reduces the expense on inorganic fertilizers. It is also an eco friendly way of disposing off the effluents. During the wet season, fodder, mainly in the form of green grass/legumes and hay is fed to the animals. The season lasts for about 245 days. The surplus green available during flush season is preserved for the dry season feeding, which is characterized by the absence of grazing. The fodder requirements of the dry season are met by feeding silage, hay and limited quantity cut fodder from the irrigated leys. The season lasts for about 4 months. The maximum possible nutrient requirements of animals are met from fodder limiting the use of concentrate feeds to the bare minimum. The entire roughage requirements are met from within the farm itself. Tropical grasses like Guinea, Napier, Para and Maize grow well here. Tropical legumes also do well. The fodder promotion is responsible for the demonstration of the improved fodder varieties and for the dissemination of the package of practices to the farming community. The propagation of fodder varieties by vegetative means is a laborious, expensive and time consuming process. Most fodder banks are managed through a cut-and-carry system in which the fodder is harvested and then 'carried' to the livestock. A cut-and-carry system decreases fodder waste from animal damage and the necessity to monitor animals. Many species make excellent fodder bank components. In general these species: establish readily, grow fast, out-compete weeds, produce high-quality fodder, remain productive under repeated harvest, remain productive during dry seasons, survive on poor sites. Govin

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