Green fodder to boost farmers' confidence
Karnataka Milk Federation has set up a fodder demonstration unit at its training centre at Alanahalli in 6.5 acre of land to enlighten the farmers about the importance of green fodder in the rearing of cattle.
Fodder being an important requirement for the cattle, influences its growth, health conditions and milk yield particularly.
The fresh green grass cultivated by farmers in their fields or backyards greatly reduce the expenditure on commercial feeds.
The wide range of green fodder here could be useful for farmers to overcome the limitations of drought.
The unit comprises of more than 15 types of fodder crops some consisting of more than two breeds, which are perennial and annual in nature.
Almost all the grass breeds could be conveniently cultivated by farmers and milk producers. Deputy director of KMF Training Centre C K Devaraju told Deccan Herald that the green fodder does play major role in milk yield and health of the cattle.
The most popular fodder crop ‘Napier Grass’ under the monocotyledonous variety yields six to eight harvests per year.
Farmers prefer the type most commonly as it yields 60- 80 tonnes per acre per year. With good cultivation the yield might also increase to 150 tonne. The perennial crop with life of three years reaps nearly eight times a year.
Devaraju says, most of the farmers prefer the napier crop.
Rivers Dale breed of Gini grass, also a perennial grass known for its great nutritional value plays a major role in managing health of the cattle.
Callide Rhodes grass, a warm season perennial grass which yields 50 tonne per year per acre while Setaria grass yields 30 tonne per acre and are drought resistant.
Para grass produces a yield of 60 tonne per year per acre and could be easily cultivated by farmers as it grows in any damp area.
The Buffalo grass or sweet grass is mainly for the buffaloes and yields 25 tonne per acre, a year while the Cango Signal and Kennedy Signal grass yields 60 tonne.
The types under the dicotyledonous grass, African Tall maize yields about 80 tonne and has nutritional values essential for cattle. The most nutritious of the type are Alfalfa known as ‘kudure menthe’ or ‘kudure masala’ usually chewed by horses, which is as nutritious as fenugreek leaves for the cattle.
Velvet beans is a creeper crop which provides fodder and the beans could be crushed and used for medicinal purposes for the animals. The black eyed pea of the cows pea, stylosanthes breeds and calopogonium are other fodder which could be cultivated by farmers.
Mysore Chamarajanagar District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Societies Union Limited (Mymul) provides fodder and seeds for cultivation at subsidised rates.
Joint director of KMF Training Centre Dr V Vidhura Kumar says the fodder centre helps farmers to understand practically the uses of the grass and get an idea of cultivating it by themselves.
He claims that the unit in Mysore is a well developed one than in any other district, although very few district posses the units. “Mysore has the unit since 10 years.”
He elaborates that farmers could reduce cost of production as well as increase milk yield with use of green fodder. As the farmers do not have an idea regarding the types of fodder, the unit helps in educating them.