Agriculture World

Area-Specific Mineral Mixture Technology for Dairy Animals

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare visited the ICAR-National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology located in Bengaluru from 22 to 23 December, 2019.

During his two-day visit, the Minister visited the fodder production area. On seeing the Spineless Cactus Plot, Rupala accentuated on the need for popularizing it among the farmers because of its climate resilience and very less water requirements. He discussed about the issue of livestock’s feeding and the need for taking the research on the climate resilient livestock production system. He also planted a sapling as a part of Swachchata Pakhwada in the campus.

Dr. Raghavendra Bhatta, Director, ICAR-NIANP outlined the Institute’s activities, the Institute’s developed farmer-friendly technologies and their commercialization.

The Institute, having many useful infrastructure and research facilities of international standards, added few more to its strong base, such as Feed Unit, Poultry Unit, and Sheep Shed. More importantly, one of the most important projects - the Animal House is almost complete but for some of the internal works, which is likely to be formally dedicated in the coming few weeks.

The Institute has made remarkable progress not only in their regular research projects, but also in several International Collaborative projects with Germany, Hungary and Japan.

Low reproductive efficiency in cattle and buffaloes is one of the major problems in livestock production in India, resulting in poor economic returns to the livestock farmers. The deficiency and/or imbalance of micro and macro nutrients are one of the important factors responsible for the low reproductive efficiency. In Karnataka, 21% of total cattle populations are suffering from infertility. The practice of mineral supplementation to animals is not common in most parts of India. Wherever it is practiced the mineral mixture is added to the compound feed without taking into account the mineral status of the area, leading to imbalances of minerals. Supplementation of area-specific minerals most deficient in that area avoids antagonistic effects of excess levels of other minerals and could be a more practical and cost-effective approach.

A detailed study on the micronutrient status of soil, water, feeds and fodder and blood of crossbred dairy animals maintained under field conditions was carried out in ten agro-climatic zones of Karnataka by a team of scientists at ICAR-NIANP. The study on the mineral mapping of the state has revealed that the major deficiency is of calcium, phosphorus, copper and zinc in the different zones surveyed. Based on this information area-specific mineral mixture (ASMM) comprising of the deficient minerals was prepared for different agro-climatic zones.

The technology was field tested in adopted villages under Institute village linkage programme. Area-specific mineral mixture was prepared and distributed to farmers having animals with reproductive problems like repeat breeding and anoestrus condition. The animals were supplemented with 40 g of mineral mixture per day mixed in either concentrate feed or home-made concentrate mixture (bran, oilseed cake, gram husk). About 300 animals with reproductive problems were provided with ASMM over a period of two years.

About 80 to 90 percent of the animals started cycling within 70 days of ASMM supplementation and about 50 to 60 percent of animals became pregnant. All the animals’ supplemented showed improvement in general health and marginal improvement in milk yield (0.5-1.0lit/d) and milk fat (0.4-0.5 units).

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