Fodder is the key to milk production. This could also become part of the larger programme of ecological restoration. To make dairy farming a significant source of income, it was realized that a fodder security programme needs to be launched. This would provide nutrition to milch cattle, increase their milk yield and thereby the producers’ income and stabilize the migrating households.
BIRVA launched fodder security programme under the sponsorship of Directorate of Dairy Development (Dept. of AH & Fisheries) Govt. of Jharkhand under RKVY scheme.
Under this programme, five type of project is being implemented by BIRVA in all the 24 districts of Jharkhand.
A. Green Fodder Demonstration Programme
The objective of the project is:
- To encourage farmers for cultivation of green fodder
- Increase in milk production
- Proper growth & healthy life of animals
Under the project, Kharif & Rabi fodder seeds are distributed to the farmers free of cost through dairy cattle development centers. Technical knowledge/training is imparted to the farmers regarding cultivation of green fodder.
Seeds of Maize, Sudan, Guar, Bazra, Cow-pea, Rice-bean are distributed in Kharif season and Oat, Lucern, Bar seem seeds are distributed in Rabi season.
B. Azolla Production & Demonstration Programme
Azolla is very rich in proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin B12, Beta Carotene), growth promoter intermediaries and minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium, ferrous, copper, magnesium etc. Azolla, on a dry weight basis, is constituted of 25 – 35% protein content 10 – 15% mineral content and 7 – 10%, a combination of amino acids, bio-active substances and bio-polymers. Carbohydrate and oil content in Azolla is very low. Thus the bio-composition of Azolla makes it one of the most economic and efficient feed supplement for livestock. Moreover, Azolla can be easily digested by livestock, owing to its high protein and low lignin content. Azolla Production & Demonstration Programme project was started in the year 2011.
The objective to launch this project was to:
- To ensure protein rich green fodder for cattle throughout the year.
- Increase in milk production
- To reduce the infertility problem in cattle
- To increase the immunity power of cattle
C. Urea Treatment Programme
It’s usually seen that cattle does not intake dry fodder. The reason behind this is dry fodder are not easily digestible and is of no taste. One of the best ways to make the dry fodder digestible is done through urea treatment. This weakens the hard cell walls, allowing better penetration by rumen microorganism to produce more effective fermentation and liberation of nutrients. Demonstration of urea treatment is being done at farmers doorsteps wherein farmers are demonstrated how to increase the protein component of dry fodder using urea treatment of dry fodder. The objective of the project is:
- To increase the amount of protein in dry fodder
- Availability of easily digestible & delicious fodder for the cattle
- Reducing the cost of milk production
- Enhancing the quality of dry fodder
D. Grassland Development Project
Project started in the year 2010 with objective
- To ensure the availability of green fodder for cattle throughout the year.
- Availability of firewood for farmers.
- To utilize the barren/infertile land for grassland development
- Providing employment opportunities for farmers
Under the project, grassland has to be developed at 10 hectare of barren/infertile land. Activities carried out under the project are land development, trench cutting & live fencing, plantation of fodder crops & grasses, construction of farm shed, provision of irrigation facilities.
For proper & effective execution of project, a Grassland Management Committee is formed constituting of farmers of respective area & representative of BIRVA. The purpose of GMC formation is to develop a sense of ownership among farmers in order to make the project sustainable. Project is functional in 12 districts of Jharkhand and in rest district work is under progress.
E. Silage Demonstration Programme
Silage is cut green plant materials that are sealed in a concrete pit without air & water. Silage can be stored for approximately two years and still have up to 85% of the energy and protein value of the original fodder crop. Silage making is useful for the following:
- To build up feed reserves for utilization during period of feed deficiency
- As a routine feed supplement to increase productivity of animals
- To utilize excess growth of pasture for better management and extended utilization
- Silage quality is maintained for longer than is hay quality, because hay oxidizes during storage. Thus silage is better as a fodder bank than is hay.