A cow looks for food in the compound of a former palace in Odisha, in eastern India; the native cattle of Orissa are notable for their thin, curved, sheep-like horns (photo via Flickr/ankyuk).
Odisha (formerly known as Orissa), an economically fast-growing state in eastern India, on the Bay of Bengal, is facing an emerging fodder crisis. The people of this state depend largely on agriculture for their livelihoods, and animal husbandry is widely practiced. In 1999–2000 47% of the people were living below the poverty line, which is nearly double the Indian average of 26%.
One pathway out of of poverty for many here is to increase the efficiency and levels of their small-scale livestock production to meet the growing demand in India for more milk and meat. But without feed to give their cattle, sheep, goats and other ruminant animals, the state’s many millions of livestock producers will be unable to improve or increase their productivity.
New results of a study by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) show that lack of adequate amounts and quality of fodder is one of the biggest constraints these farmers face. A solution, say ILRI scientists, is to make better use of the residues of rice and maize (paddy straw and maize stover) as supplementary livestock feed.
‘Odisha is facing an emergent fodder crisis necessitating urgent redirection of strategies to bridge the widening demand and supply gap as well as ensure quality feed to boost livestock productivity.
‘It is estimated that there is already a shortfall of 48 per cent in green fodder availability and 24 per cent dry fodder in the State which is set to aggravate in next four to five years. By 2020, there will be 57 per cent deficit in dry fodder availability taking into consideration the fact that one farmer will require at least four to five kgs every day for large ruminant.
‘Development of area specific best feeding practices by efficient utilisation and value addition of crop residues is the way forward to meet the growing demand for quality fodder for farmers in Odisha, experts stated at a workshop on ‘improving livestock feeding practice and enhancing feed and fodder availability’ here on Thursday.
The workshop organised by the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department (FARD) in association with International Livestock Research Institute was inaugurated by FARD Minister Pradip Maharathi. It presented results of trials conducted by the ILRI in Bhadrak, Puri and Mayurbhanj districts.
‘Field trials have shown higher milk yield by 300 to 600 gms per animal per day along with improved quality on feeding of chopped paddy straw with specific mineral mixture. Mixing chopped paddy straw and maize stover realised higher milk yield by one to two litres per animal per day in Mayurbhanj. . . .’
Read the whole article in the New Indian Express: Experts moot plans to tide over fodder crisis in state, 28 Aug 2015.
Read more about the value of crop residues as livestock feed.