When we talk of productivity of livestocks, it all somehow depends on the fodder that they feed upon. There are various options available in the market to take care of your livestocks’ diet, but sometimes we just hope if the expenses could be minimized. Well, that is totally perfect as long as your cattle gets the perfect nutrition and have a healthy diet. In this section, AW would try to focus on such options.
Leguminous fodder crops are regarded as the best cattle feed as they are rich in protein, carotene and calcium contents. They are nutritious and palatable and can be used for formulating cheap rations by replacing concentrates. Amongst the various types of leguminous fodder available, Cowpea and cluster beans (guar) are the most common kharif leguminous crops. They contain 2.3% digestible crude protein (DCP) and 10%, total digestible nutrients (TDN). These crops yield about 100 q/acre.
Apart from it, there are Non-leguminous fodder. The nutritive value of these crops depends on the time and stage of their harvesting. Their flowering stage is supposed to be the richest in nutrient contents. Jowar, maize and sudan grass are most common kharif fodder crops. They contain 0.5-1 % DCP and 11.15% TDN (maize, however, has 1% DCP and 17% TDN). Their yield ranges from 100-200 q/acre.
Oat and barley are common rabi fodder crops. Oat is excellent for the milch cattle and has 2% DCP and 17% TDN. Napier grass and guinea grass are perennial fodder crops.
Tree leaves are usually used for feeding sheep and goats and sometimes are fed to cattle during fodder crisis. These are also suitable for use as maintenance ration for livestock. The young leaves have a fairly high content of crude protein and less crude fibre comparatively. The tree leaves and shrubs are generally rich in calcium but poor in phosphorus.
Silage is a fermented feed which is made by storing green forages having a high moisture content, in the pits under air-tight conditions. In the absence of air, the forages undergo certain physical and chemical changes. The entire process requires two to three weeks for getting converted into silage.
The most commonly used silage crops are maize, sorghum, sudan grass, bajra, and napier grass. But maize and sorghum are supposed to be the best crops for silage making. The, leguminous fodder crops like lucerne, berseem and cowpea are not suitable for silage making.
Root crops and kernels
Root crops have a high moisture content (70 to 90%) and low crude fibre content (5 to 12%). Roots are generally low in crude protein content. Carrot is rich in carotene content and increases the vitamin-A value of the milk. Therefore, it is fed to the milch animals during the winter season.
Tuber crops are little different from the root crops as they contain high amount of starch. They have higher dry matter and lower crude fibre contents than the root crops and are thus suitable for feeding to pigs and poultry. Examples of tubers are sweet potato, potato and roots of tapioca.
The seed kernels of fruits such as mango and jamurn are not utilized and are allowed to go waste. These kernels contain enough nutrients for keeping the animal healthy and hence can be used for feeding the animals especially during scarcity of fodder.
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