In the Pakistan economy livestock plays very important role. In total GDP livestock share 11.4%. In Pakistan mainly there are three types of livestock production systems, rural household where animals are closely kept and fodder is grown or purchased from market. Large herds of animals are kept on commercial farms and on rangelands. Pakistan has a large number of livestock populations so there is competition with human and the land for food and feed. On the other hand there is increase in the residential colonies, industries installation, water logging and salinity results in decrease availability of land for fodder cultivation. The production yield per animals is enhanced by production of good quality fodder. The scarcity in animals feed is major factor in the development of livestock production. At present the fodder is in insufficient quantity and quality so the animals are thin and underfed thus produce less meat and milk. The fodder is the cheapest source of animal feed and so it necessary to enhance fodder proportion in animal's diet. Fodder shortage is the major constraint in the production and development of livestock in Pakistan. There is increase in population of human being and producing cash crops results in the decrease of land for fodder production. Meat, milk and dairy products are very important in Pakistani diet and the demand for milk is rising sharply due to increasing in population. Year round availability of fodder in adequate amount and nutritious quality is very necessary for the development of livestock. In terms of total digestible nutrients our animals are deficient about 29 million tons and in total digestible protein about 2 million tons. The main fodder crops sown in rabi season (winter) includes barseem, oats and Lucerne while in kharif season (summer) includes sorghum, maize, millet and cowpea. In many areas of Pakistan there is shortage in the availability of green fodder from May to June and September to October. This problem is solved by sowing multicut fodder verities like Lucerne, S.S. hybrid and matt grass.
Year-Round Green Fodder Availability
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Mostly the dairy animals are kept in intensive production system. The major sources of forage production in Pakistan are irrigated areas of Punjab, Pakhton khowah and Sindh. The quality of forage production at sowing and harvesting time is very important than absolute production of dry matter. The quantity of forage varies according to animal status such in maintenance, pregnancy and lactation. So farmer produce or purchase daily use forage regularly. Some multicut crops like lucerne, berseem, and S.S. hybrid ensure regular and quick supply of nutritious forage. The major forages are discus one by one in detail;
KHARIF FODDER (SUMMER CROPS)
Sorghum is locally known as jowar or chari. This is very important and useful summer fodder crop. It provides palatable green fodder over a longer period than maize and millet do. Its green fodder contains 12% protein, 70% carbohydrates, minerals, nitrogen free extract, and crude fat. Basically sorghum is a tropical plant, but it has adapted to climatic conditions in temperate zone. It can with stand heat and drought. This crop requires 2 ploughings with a cultivator along with planking. To increase fodder yield 2 bags of DAP with 1 bag of urea per hectare should be added at the time of planting. The optimum seed rate per hectare is 75-80 Kg for fodder production. Fodder crop is usually sown by broadcast method. Sorghum is sown for fodder from March to September is recommended. The best time for harvesting fodder is at the 50% heading stage. It can yield around 50-70 tons/hectare green fodder.
It is locally known as makai. It is very important fodder crop. Staggered planting from Feb-Sep helps cope with the fodder scarcity problems faced in May-June and Oct-Nov. The green fodder contains 1.56%protien, 0.30% fat and 5.27% fiber. It is extensively sown in irrigated and rain fed areas. The seedbed is prepared by ploughings and planking three times to eliminate clods and weeds. Drill 2 bags each of DAP and urea per hectare at sowing. For a fodder crop, 75-100 Kg/hectare of good quality seed is sufficient. The optimum time for sowing is ranges from 3rd week of March to mid September. Fodder is harvested after 50-60 days after sowing. Fodder yield varies from 50-70 tons/hectare.
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It is locally known as bajra. Its green fodder contains 1.50% protein, 0.33% fat and 6.89% crude fiber. Mixed cropping of millet with maize and sorghum is very popular. Millet is warm weather crop and it does best on light sandy loam soils. To prepare land a good seed bed, the land is given 2-3 ploughings and then planking. Two bags each of urea and DAP, or 5 bags of Nitrophos per hectare at planting are sufficient. For fodder crop 10-15 kg per hectare is used. The broadcast method of sowing is common for fodder crop. Fodder crop is sown in March-September. Fodder crop should be harvested at 25% heading stage. Fodder yield varies from 45-65 tons/hectare.
It is an important leguminous summer fodder. Cowpea makes an extremely important, nutritious and balanced fodder when mixed with maize, sorghum and millet. It improves the soil fertility by fixing nitrogen from air. The green fodder contains 15.56% protein, 2.32% fat and 30.64% crude fiber. The cowpea is a tropical plant and thrives under warm and humid conditions. Two-three ploughings each followed by planking are required to prepare a good seed bed. To improve yield 2 bags of DAP per hectare may be applied at sowing. For fodder crop 30 kg/ha seed is sufficient. Sowing is carried out in lines. The proper time of sowing ranges between mid March to July. Fodder is ready within 50-60 days after sowing. The best time cutting is the time of pod formation, when the fodder is full of nutrients. An unmixed crop of cowpea normally yields about 30-40 tons/hectare.
RABI FODDER (WINTER CROPS)
Barseem is major winter fodder crop and is successfully grown under irrigated conditions and to some extent in the entire country. Barseem is a Multicut harvest fodder crop rich in phosphorus and calcium. Being palatable and readily digestible, it is relished by all animals its dry matter contents includes 18.3% protein, 2.8% phosphorus, 2.6% calcium and a rich source of vitamin A. It supplies abundant nutritious fodder in repeated cuttings from November to May. It is commonly cultivated in canal irrigated areas of the country. The land should be given 2 - 3 ploughings to make it soft and well pulverized. One bag of DAP is per acre is an economical way to meet its fertilizer requirement. Seed rate is 15-20 Kg of healthy quality per hectare should be broadcast in standing water. Sowing time is from the last week of September to the first week of October is the best time for sowing but for late variety can be sown up to mid November. The first cut is ready in 50 - 60 days after sowing. Subsequent cuttings are available at 30 - 40 day intervals throughout the season. New varieties yield around 80 - 100 tons green fodder per hectare.
Lucerne is a multicut, perennial legume forage crop. Lucerne contains protein 18%, carbohydrates 11%, fat 8%, and fiber 30%. It provides green fodder throughout the year, especially during the two periods of fodder scarcity in the country, May-June and October-November. It does best under conditions of low rainfall and high sunshine. A good seedbed is prepared with turning plough followed by 3-4 cultivations and planking. 2-3 bags of DAP per hectare are sufficient. Seed rate is 15-20 Kg/ha in lines 45 cm apart in good wattar condition. A crop sown between October to November gives a good fodder return. The first cutting should be taken three months after sowing. Later cuts may be taken after an interval of 5-6 weeks. On average in six cuttings per year 65-90 tons per hectare fodder can be obtained.
Oat is an important winter fodder crop sown as sole crop or together with barseem. Oat is single cut crop and supplies fodder over a shorter period of time. The oat plant contains protein 9.23%, fat 3.56%, fiber 30.44%. The leaves and grains are high in carotene and carbohydrates. Oats provide nutritious fodder to all animals particularly horses and mules. When mixed with barseem oats provide balances feed to milch animals. The plant grows in cold and moist conditions. Clay loam soil produces the best crop. It requires 3-4 ploughings with a local plough along with planking to prepare a fine and pulverized seedbed. To get good yield it requires 2 bags of DAP and 2 bags of urea should be applied at the time of sowing. Recommended seed rate for fodder is 75 Kg/hac. Sowing should be done in rows 20 cm apart. Early planting starts by the end of September and continues until mid December. Harvesting is done when 25-30% of the heads have formed usually gives the best yield. It can yield around 60-8- tones/hectare green fodder.
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To make a whole year fodder plan we have to know about the requirement of the animals according to season, the fodder crop which is available in a season, the approximate yield of the fodder per acre or hectare. To make the planning better we have to choose leguminous fodder and multi cut verities of fodder. The approximate yield of important fodder is given in the table;
The animal requirement is very necessary to calculate because fodders are main feed of the animals. The fodder requirement varies with the age and production status of the animal. The maintenance requirement can be only fulfilled from fodders. For stall fed animals the key role is to feed ad-libitum. A buffalo or cattle one animals unit requires 0.5-0.6 acre land for fodder cultivation in a season.
One Buff/Cow/Bull is 1 AU
FYS/MYS is ½ AU
A Cow require 40 kg /AU/day
A Buff require 60 kg/AU/day
Now we have to calculate the total animal units which are kept at farm. For example;
45 buff farm with 10 FYS
AU are 45+5 = 50 AU
Availability of the fodder according to their harvesting time.
Rabi season (Dec - April)
Barseem + Oats
Lean period (May - Jun)
Kharif season (Jul - Sep)
Lean period (Oct - Nov)
The fodder required for 50 AU round the year is calculated as;
Animal require Barseem / oats for 5 months (Dec - Apr)
50 AU x 60 Kg/day x 150 days â‚Œ 450 T
Animal require Maize for 2 months (May - June)
50 AU x 60 Kg/day x 60 days â‚Œ 180 T
Animal require Sorghum for 3 months (Jul - Sep)
50 AU x 60 Kg/day x 90 days â‚Œ 270 T
Animal require Millet for 2 months (Oct - Nov)
50 AU x 60 Kg/day x 60 days â‚Œ 180 T
Total fodder requires for 50 AU in a year is 1080 tons. Now we have to calculate the land which is required to cultivate 1080 tons fodder. The land required for fodder round the year is calculated as;
Area for Barseem/Oats = Requirement/yield
450 T / 80 (T/Ha) = 5.63 ha x 2.47 =13.89 acres
Area for Maize = Requirement/yield
180 T / 50 (T/Ha) = 3.6 ha x 2.47 =8.89 acres
Area for Sorghum = Requirement/yield
270 T / 50 (T/Ha) = 5.4 ha x 2.47 =13.34 acres
Area for Millet = Requirement/yield
180 T / 45 (T/Ha) = 4 ha x 2.47 =9.88 acres
Almost 23 acres are required to cultivate fodder for 50 AU in a season (rabi or kharif).
If the animals are kept on range land then we have to calculate the carrying capacity of the rangeland. The production of forage species averages about 700 kg/ha of dry matter per year. The ranch is 500 hectare in size and you are planning to kept cows on it. Then how 400 kg cows can be kept?
Calculation of total usable forage:
Forage production (kg/ha) X % allowable use X area (ha) = Total forage (kg) available for grazing
700 X 0.50 X 500 = 17500 kg
Calculation of forage demand:
Weight of cows (kg) X daily DMI (2% of body wt)
X number of days pasture will be grazed (365) = forage demand / cow / year
400 X 0.02 X 365 = 2920 kg of forage / cow / year
Calculation of stocking rate:
Total usable forage (kg) ÷ forage / cow / year = number of cows pasture will carry
175000 ÷ 2920 = 59.93 = 60
Total 60 cows can be kept on 500 hectare ranch for a year.
Fodders are very important source of livestock feeding. Due to change in the weather the availability of fodder is drastically reduced, so the production of animals also reduced. In Pakistan there are two periods of fodder shortage i.e., May - June and October - November. However very large amount of fodder is produced before these two periods such as February to April and July to September. In these days surplus fodder can be preserved as a hay and silage making, so it shows the year round fodder supply.
The main principle of silage production is to store the fodder crop and exclude oxygen or store the fodder aerobically. In anaerobic conditions the microorganisms ferment the carbohydrates and produces organic acids, mainly acetic acid and lactic acid with very less amount of butyric acid. The fermentation continues pH of 3.6 - 5.0. In Pakistan for silage making maize, sorghum and oats are suitable crops for silage making. Silo is an airtight structure which is designed for storage and preservation of silage crops. There are three types of silo.
A pit is dug in the ground, which is plastered with mud or concrete material.
TRENCH / BUNKER SILO:
This type of silo is made on flat soil surface. The side walls and floor is made with concrete. After filling, the silo is sealed with mud, or polythene sheath.
SILAGE / WEENIE BAGS:
It is new innovation and becoming popular because it does not need construction and maintenance. These bags are temporary and good for one use. It keeps air tight and preserves the contents of silage.
METHOD OF SILAGE MAKING
The type of silo according to local conditions is selected for the making of silage.
The wall of silo is lined with the sheet of polythene.
At the proper stage of maturity the fodder should be harvested.
The fodder is chopped in 2-3 cm length.
The silo is filled in layers uniformly.
The compaction of fodder in silo should be properly done. The compaction is done with tractor in case of big silo.
The polythene or mud plaster should be used to seal a silo.
For the increasing of protein contents of silage 2 % urea solution or molasses can be used.
As the fodder is harvested, chopped, compacted, and sealed the process of ensiling started. It has four steps or phases;
The aerobic phase is started as the silage is sealed and the oxygen which is trapped in forage pieces is release by respiration of the aerobic bacteria and yeasts. The enzymes of the plant become active.
The fermentation phase started as the oxygen is released and the conditions become aerobic. In this phase the lactic acid producing bacteria is increasing and pH is reduced 4. To encourage the lactic acid fermentation 2-3% molasses is mixed during storage.
This is the stable phase. In this phase pH is decreased, the water and air is not entered in this phase the lactic acid bacteria start decreasing. In this phase maintain the air tight seal to protect the silage from spoilage.
Once the silo is opened by rodents or for feed out the spoilage begins. This result in the increase of pH.
The main principle to use silage additives is produce feedstuff with a greater nutritive value, reduction of losses associated with ensiling.
Acids may be used for direct acidification. Formic and propionic acid can be used.
Grains, molasses whey, urea, ammonia have been added in silage at ensiling.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD SILAGE
The general appearance of the silage is good indication to expect its nutritive value.
Color: the bright or light green or green brown color according to fodder ensile shows good quality silage.
Smell: the lactic acid odor is good but with no butyric acid odor.
Texture: the firm texture with softer material not easily rubbed from the fiber.
pH: the pH around 4 is good.
ADVANTAGES OF SILAGE MAKING
There are fewer reduction losses
Most of the nutrients in fodder can be preserved
Silage nutritional value remains unchanged during the entire feeding period.
Silage is the most economical source of feed because it prevents wastage of the less favored parts of fresh herbage (such as stem).
Silage requires less storage space than hay, and cannot be destroyed by fire.
Silage improves the digestibility of protein in herbage and it preserves most of the vitamins.
DISADVANTAGES OF SILAGE MAKING
Extra labor is required.
Not well suited for intermittent use.
If improperly stored the losses will be high.
Considerable costly equipments are required for harvesting and storing of silage.
The fodder which is harvested during growing period and preserved by drying and used during the days of feed shortage. The fodder is harvested during optimum stage of maturity. The principle involved in hay making is to reduce the water contents of fodder from 65 - 85% to 20% or less. In Pakistan Lucrne and Barseem are suitable leguminous fodder crops for hay making. In hilly area natural grass pasture also can be harvested for hay making.
METHOD OF HAY MAKING
The fodder crop which is used as hay making should be mowed as early as possible after reaching early bloom stage of maturity and as circumstances allow.
Efforts should be made to select the rain free weather for harvesting. Minimum of 2 - 3 days are required for good drying weather are necessary for hay curing. So weather forecasts are very necessary in hay making.
Conditioning of harvested fodder crop can reduce the drying period. In this procedure fodder is passed to set of rollers to crack open the stems thus facilitate drying.
To avoid excessive shattering losses and over exposure to sun harvested fodder should be raked before complete drying.
To facilitate drying turning of windrow is done.
When the fodder is sufficiently dry baling should be done. Round and square bales can be made.
Store the bales in the damp proof store house.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD HAY
Leafiness: the hay which has high leave to stem ratio is considered good.
Color: the desirable color of hay is bright green, brown color is undesirable.
Aroma: the aroma from hay should be pleasant.
Moldiness: hay should not be moldy,
ADVANTAGES OF HAY MAKING
In hay most of the moisture is has been removed so there is low transport cost.
Good quality hay leads to desirable DMI by animals.
The fodder which is surplus in the season can be conserved and used in the days of feed shortage.
DISADVANTAGES OF HAY MAKING
Hay making requires optimum weather conditions.
The digestive and crude protein value of hay is not sufficient for maintenance plus production.
If the is not sufficiently dry and is stored, it can be damaged by fire.
If hay is containing excessive moisture the mold can grow on it.
If fodder is improperly harvested then the loss of leaves can occur. So most nutritious part of fodder is loss.
If the harvested fodder or hay is given excessive exposure to sunlight then it causes loss of nutrients as carotene.
If harvested fodder or hay is rained during the drying period then water soluble nutrients are loss.
Year round fodder availability is very necessary for the production persistency and profit of the dairy business. So to make the dairy business profitable and avoid from the undesirable fodder shortage, you have to plan the fodder availability round the year. By adoption of the fodder production technology and preservation of surplus fodder in the season, it will help you in the successful year round fodder plan. As a researcher you should develop new and high yielding verities of fodder and introduce efficient ways to increase fodder production.