1. News

Forage Harvesters to Improve Feed for the Cattle

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Despite being the largest producer of milk, India lags in terms of efficiency of production. Feeding animals with a better quality fodder may not just help improve productivity but the quality as well.

The company, which launched its first combine harvester over two decades ago to mechanize rice harvesting, is now exploring possibilities in wheat harvesting.

There is a very high level of mechanization (80-85 percent) in paddy harvesting in the country, particularly in the South. However, the level of mechanization is just 45-50 percent in the wheat-growing areas of the North.

Mrityunjaya Singh, Managing Director, CLAAS India, opined that  forage harvesters were not used widely in the country till recently, primarily due to poor awareness. However, the demand has been increasing thanks to the initiative taken by a few States like Andhra Pradesh, which is giving a 50 percent subsidy to dairy farmers to procure maize silage.

CLAAS Agricultural Machinery, a subsidiary of Germany-based, $4.6-billion CLAAS, expects its forage harvesters, designed to create a stock of silage (or animal feed), to help improve the quality and output of milk from cattle.

The company is also betting big on mechanization in wheat harvesting.

CLAAS Agricultural Machinery, a subsidiary of Germany-based, $4.6-billion CLAAS, expects its forage harvesters, designed to create a stock of silage (or animal feed), to help improve the quality and output of milk from cattle.

A forage harvester is a vehicle equipped with cutters that can chop maize, corn or other such crop into smaller pieces, for creating a stock of silage.

“The average daily milk production in India is around 6 litres per cow per day compared with 18-20 litres  globally. This is mainly because of shortage of fodder, the way it is stored and, more importantly, the lack of knowledge,”

“There is ample opportunity for growth (in mechanization) in wheat harvesting and we are keenly looking at it,” he said.

CLAAS sells close to 1,000 machines a year and approximately one-fourth (200-250) is exported to countries in South-East Asia, West Asia and Latin America.

The company’s production facility at Chandigarh has the capacity to manufacture 3,000 agricultural machines per year. It is currently running at around 60 percent capacity.

More milk, healthier livestock. The silage maize conditioning technology known by the SHREDLAGE® brand name processes the crop intensively and increases the surface area of the chopped material many times over. This enhances the physical effectiveness of the maize silage in the cow's rumen.

SHREDLAGE®. The process - Already widely used in the United States, SHREDLAGE® is a conditioning process for producing maize silage. It involves chopping the plants to greater lengths than usual, ranging from 26 to 30 millimetres, and then processing the chopped material with the special SHREDLAGE® corn cracker technology. The corn cracker rollers, which have counter directional helical grooves, chop up the cob fragments completely and crush the kernels to split them thoroughly. In addition, the stalk fragments are also shredded longitudinally extremely effectively into strings and their bark layer is peeled thanks to the special surface of the rollers. Only genuine SHREDLAGE® corn cracker rollers are able to provide this special form of processing. This technology, which is protected by patents and known around the world by the name SHREDLAGE®, has been acquired by CLAAS. Like the well-known sawtooth profile rollers, the SHREDLAGE® corn cracker rollers are manufactured by CLAAS Industrietechnik in Paderborn, Germany. This intensive processing multiplies the surface of the chopped material many times, resulting in significantly improved bacterial fermentation during ensiling and, above all, during digestion in the cow's rumen. Trials conducted by the University of Wisconsin in 2012 show that SHREDLAGE® drastically increases the physical effectiveness of maize silage in the rumen while also improving the availability of the starch contained in all parts of the plant. As a result, the daily milk yield in the herds studied increased by up to two litres per cow. Furthermore, the rumen-friendly structure of the silage improved herd health.

A higher milk yield and improved livestock health are not the only benefits SHREDLAGE® has to offer dairy producers. As the availability of starch is optimized, it is possible to reduce the quantity of feed concentrate used while obtaining a higher overall milk yield. It is also possible to limit or even eliminate the use of fibre supplements such as straw, thereby providing further scope for cost savings.

Like this article?

Hey! I am Chander Mohan. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters