Animal Feeding / Asia / Crop residues / India / South Asia

India’s new sorghum varieties feed animals as well as people

‘Throughout the tropics, a lack of feed keeps farm animals underweight and underproductive, thereby preventing some 600 million poor farmers and herders from meeting fast-rising global demand for milk and meat. But thanks to a partnership between India’s National Research Centre for Sorghum (NRCS), the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), new varieties of sorghum are being developed that can provide both nutritious food for humans and high-quality feed for livestock.

‘The single most important source of animal feed on many small farms in Asia and Africa is not grass but rather the stalks, leaves and other residues of crop plants after harvesting. In India, for example, 44 per cent of the feed that annually sustains all the country’s cattle, buffalo, goats, sheep and camels is made up of such crop wastes. The rest comes from planted forages and a shrinking area of pastures and other common lands. Expensive feed concentrates—the mainstay of livestock production in rich countries—are used only occasionally. . . .

‘The researchers incorporated fodder quality traits in India ́s sorghum crop breeding trials and, in so doing, led breeders to identify sorghum varieties that give high yields of both grain and stover, as well as improved stover quality. The result is dual-purpose, food-plus-feed sorghum varieties that are now helping India’s 208 million livestock farmers close the livestock feed gap and feed India’s growing human population.’

Read the whole news article at Meat Trade News Daily: Cereal for cattle and humans, 21 November 2010.

See also:

Improving smallholder fodder through better knowledge as well as technologies, 15 November 2010.

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