Effective utilization of green fodder for greater benefits was the focus of demonstrations among farmers in south India. Farmers in Dharwad, Karnataka, learnt usage of balanced feed got during a demonstration on silage-making by scientists. Silage comprising green fodder, mainly in lean periods, is essential for high levels of livestock productivity and also helps farmers maximize benefits.
Interacting with about 50 farmers in Kadabagatti village in May, Dr Prakashkumar Rathod, Visiting Scientist, ICRISAT Development Center, said silage can be made with thick stem crops like sorghum, maize, pearl millet, napier and other legumes harvested at 50% flowering to milk or dough stage. Silage is compacted green fodder, stored in airtight conditions, for later use. These demonstrations were part of the Karnataka Bhoosamruddhi Project.
Green fodder is ensiled under anaerobic conditions for 45 days in pits, trenches, bunkers and tower silos of different types and sizes. Lately, silo bags of various sizes (100 kg, 200 kg, 500 kg and 1000 kg) are also available.
Farmers also learnt that livestock diets must comprise approximately 60-70% green fodder, 20-30% dry fodder and 5-10% supplementary feed to provide about 16-20% crude protein and 65% crude fiber. “Since green fodder is essential in all seasons, enabling farmers about its effective utilization becomes crucial,” Dr Rathod said.