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Fodder Beet is Best For Livestock; Is Nutritious & Ensures High Milk Yield

The availability of green fodder for the farm animals has always been a challenge for the farmers of arid regions due to the harsh & unpredictable environment.

Abha Toppo
fodder beet
High Yielding Fodder Beet Crop

The availability of green fodder for the farm animals has always been a challenge for the farmers of arid regions due to the harsh & unpredictable environment. Keeping this in mind, the ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur in Rajasthan developed a new fodder crop, Fodder Beet, a plant that produces tubers of an average weight of 5 - 6 kgs.

What is Fodder Beet

It is a high-yielding green fodder crop slowly gaining popularity in dry or arid regions. The crop with a potential to produce about 200 tonnes per ha green biomass in just four months can be grown profitably with low quality of soil and water.

Fodder from this crop is available between January & April when there is too little availability of other fodder crops. With the production cost less than 50 paisa/kg of biomass produced, the crop has a very high water use efficiency of 28 to 32 kg green biomass / m3 water. Feeding trials on Tharparkar cattle breed have shown 8 – 10 percent improvement in milk production.

The crop has been demonstrated to over 600 farmers of Barmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Ajmer, Jaipur, Churu, Nagaur, Pali, Sirohi, Bharatpur, Alwar, Kota, Sri Ganganagar & Bundi Districts of Rajasthan via Corporate Social Responsibility Programme with CAIRN energy, NGOs, KVKs, State Agri Universities, Veterinary Universities & State Government.

The crop is now being cultivated in other agro-climatic regions also. The farmers of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala have also tried and got positive results.

Cultivation & Sowing Process of Beet Fodder

For higher output, you must look for loamy soils but it can be grown successfully on salt affected soils also. Right time of sowing is from mid-October to November.

The crop needs a fine seedbed and must be planted on ridges. The field must be ploughed 3 - 4 weeks before sowing with a soil turning plough which has to be followed by cross harrowing & planking. The ridges of 20 cm height must be prepared with a bund former at a distance of 70 cm. Around 2.0 to 2.5 kg seed / hectare is needed for an optimum population of 1,00,000 plants / hectare. The seeds have to be placed halfway on one side of ridge at a depth of 2 - 4 cm & 20 cm distance between the plants.

Best Varieties to Grow

The important varieties include Jomon, Monroe, JK Kuber & Geronimo. As, many varieties are multi-germ, i.e., a single seed produces 3 - 4 seedlings therefore thinning is required after 25 - 30 days.


Water the field immediately after sowing. In flood irrigation, water in the furrows must not go beyond 2/3rd of the height of ridge/overflow. Nitrogen must be applied in 3 splits, - half at sowing and 1/4th each at 30 & 50 days after sowing. It requires 10 to 12 sprinkler irrigations with a total requirement of around 80 to 100 cm irrigation water. It can be grown profitably with saline as well as alkaline water too.

Usually the uprooting can be done when root is of 1.0 - 1.5 kg weight (mid-January). As a result, the farmers can uproot daily as per the requirement of feed for their cattle. Since, the roots remain 60 percent outside soil, they can be harvested manually by pulling up. Foliage must also be fed to the animals.

The roots of the crop can be cut into small pieces & mixed with dry fodder. The dosages are 12 - 20 kg per animal / day to cows & buffaloes and 4 to 6 kg per animal / day to small ruminants.

Source - ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Rajasthan

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