In order to improve the basal diet of livestock, which mainly comprises of crop residues, a training programme was held for the field veterinarians from the state of Karnataka. The training programme was part of the Bhoosamruddhi project – a collaborative project between the Government of Karnataka and CGIAR centers, led by International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
Crop residues are major feed resources for smallholder livestock production. ICRISAT in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works at improving fodder value of key crops at source through inclusion of crop residue fodder traits (quantity and quality) in new cultivar breeding, selection and dissemination work. The ICRISAT-ILRI collaboration concentrates on ICRISAT mandate crops – sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut, chickpea and pigeonpea, while ILRI’s collaboration with other institutes focuses on crops such as maize, wheat, rice, sweet potato, mung bean, vegetable soybean, minor millets among some others.
The training focused on improving the quality of the basal diet from the crop residues, and laid emphasis on exploring ways for improving livestock rations by fortification and densification. The objective was to make best use of feed resources in a context-specific manner, including supplementation and combination of different diet constituents, and physical feed forms such as feed blocks, feed pellets and feed mash.
Field veterinarians from four districts, Bidar, Chikballapur, Dharward and Udupi in Karnataka were exposed to feed-based intensification through cultivar selection of dual-purpose crops, chopping and supplementation; ways to address fodder deficit by linking fodder surplus-deficit areas through feed-processing entrepreneurial ventures and fodder preservation in the form of silage and hay. They were also trained in smallholder silage making through a live demonstration on the process.
ILRI scientists explained to the participants the use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) tool for phenotyping of various crop cultivars for fodder quality analysis and invitro digestibility studies. More than 30 field veterinarians and district heads of the Department of Veterinary & Animal Husbandry, Government of Karnataka, attended the training held on 4 July at ICRISAT headquarters in Hyderabad.
In 2017-18, ILRI will work in 10 villages covering 100 farmers and demonstrate the impact of feed-based intensification, commercial fodder production and smallholder silage making. It is expected that the Karnataka government will use the experience in these 10 villages to scale up the programme throughout the state. Besides the above work, ILRI will also support the government to pilot small- and medium-scale enterprises to produce and supply complete feed, hay /silage, based on context, in a business mode. Towards all of the above, the participants prepared a work plan at the end of the training.
ICRISAT’s work on improving fodder value of its mandate crops
|In 2002, ICRISAT introduced an early maturing, high yielding and drought-tolerant groundnut variety (ICGV91114), which produced 15 percent higher pod yields, 17 percent more haulm and better quality fodder than the locally grown variety. Farmers who fed their cows and buffalo the improved fodder saw their milk production immediately increase by 11 percent.|
In the case of sorghum, it was found that sorghum stover from 1 hectare (3.6 tonne Dry Matter) with 3 percent units increase in digestibility can produce 345 liters of additional milk.