Feed technology – a cardinal tool to support milk production under food security act in india


Dairying in India has long tradition reaching up to Indus valley civilization; however its galloping stride placed the country top of the world during the end of last century under ‘Operation Flood’ program. The above program created an assured market to the milk producers who federated under dairy cooperatives. Eventually it also brought in technology advances that created several modern dairy plants. Moreover the program revolutionized the traditional feeding regimen that was comprised of oil seeds, cakes, and pulse and grain byproducts. However the fodder cultivation was not practiced generally. Therefore milk production in India was identified as crop residue based in toto.

Amul experiment

Zero land dairying was the system adopted for milk industry development in Amul. The unique model of keeping one or two dairy buffalos under tethered husbandry was practiced there. The introduction of a commercial feed plant of 150 TPD was an important mile stone to provide all requirements of milk production through the compounded feed termed as ‘balanced cattle feed’. The thumb rule was 1 kg cattle feed was required for 1 kg milk. When 300 MT feed was sent to villages 300,000 liter milk used to flow to dairy plant. It was explicit that no land was utilized to grow fodder to support the above colossal quantity of milk. Instead the milk producers were feeding cattle feed and crop residues only mostly bare stover and rice straw.

When the milk flow increased to 600,000 LPD the feed plant was expanded to 600 TPD. When the milk procurement reached 800,000 LPD the then Chairman Mr. Babe bah Patel approached Dr. Kurien, chairman NDDB for another 300 TPD plant for Amul. At that time we from NDDB suggested to go for bypass protein feed so that with the existing feed plants the requirement up to 10, 00,000 lpd could be managed. Accordingly 16th December 1988 amuldan formula was changed with bypass protein feed formula. Instead of 1 kg feed 600g was enough for 1 litre milk production.

FEED conversion to MILK

It is an uncontested fact that feed nutrients are bio converted into milk through the animal system. The conversion process depends on various factors. The genetic frame of the animal enables the conversion pragmatic; however the conversion efficiency of the feeds has a vital role in the process. Often it is alleged the fact that dairy cow is a poor converter of the feed nutrients to milk. The complex structure of digestive system in a cow causes significant nutrient loss while digesting, metabolising and converting into milk. The table below elucidates the nutrient conversion in a dairy cow (Dietary energy).

Energy MCals
Intake 99.14
Faecal 32.32
Digestible 66.81
Gaseous 5.27
Urinary 3.67
Metabolizable 57.87
Heat 32.01 Retained 25.86
Milk 24.52

Recent trends 6

Recent trends Table 2  Recent trends Table 4

It is evident that the dietary energy intake of 99.14 M Cal was utilised only 24.52 MCals for milk production of 33 kg. The conversion therefore is around 25%. The new feed technology methods are being innovated to increase the above conversion efficiency and the most popular one is ‘bypass nutrients’ where in bypass protein and bypass fat are in use today. Bypass sucrose is the recent advance in feed technology. Eventually, the professional management of feeding would certainly bring in sea changes, which would result in cost-effective milk production.

It is clear that better feeding will support milk production. In the case of 8 kg milk the cow is unable to produce owing to poor digestibility and shortage of nutrients. However 20 kg cow could produce because of better feeding. But there is a requirement of 40 kg cultivated forage feeding. While country is aiming to enhance food production the land diversion for forage production may not be feasible. In such case the improved feeding with technological feeds would be suggested.

It is also possible to produce 20 kg milk with new technology feeds as shown in the above table.For high yielding cows ( >40 kg.day) TMR or ‘complement feed’ could be made. The nutritional specifications for such feed are given in table 2:

As per the need anon/ cat ions shall be added. The above feed could be nixed with 50% drinking water. The above feed can support above 40 kg milk per day with a conversion of 1 kg feed to 2 kg milk.

The milk nutrients like lactose, butterfat, and milk protein are synthesised in udder. The major nutrient lactose (49 gm/kg) is formed from glucose. The other crucial nutrient butterfat is formed from short chain fatty acids mainly acetic acid by carbon chain elongation at Golgi bodies in alveoli. For synthesising 39g, milk fat 27 g glucose is needed. In short, to produce one litre milk with 3.8% fat there is a requirement of around 70g glucose. For 40-litre milk, around 3kg glucose should be available in the udder. The complexity of glucose supply in the cow is through propionic acid, which is a rumen fermentation product. The ratio of acetic: propionic in rumen is 2:1. This indicates the requirement of feeding colossal quantity of grain to a dairy cow. Any technology that increases the supply of glucose to udder would be recommended. Bottom line is design the feeding regimen to reduce the nutrient loss and increase the glucose supply to increase economic milk production.

Feed Technology

Feed Technology is a part of Feed Science that advocates nutritional biochemistry, animal biotechnology, process engineering and feed milling. The dependence on the above technology is more useful in countries where the feed resources are scarce and dear. In India the axiom of “feed less and produce more milk ” was introduced in eightees by NDDB. Ruminant animals are allegated for their poor conversion efficiency owing to the complex digestive system particularly rumen fermentation. The feed is being converted to microbial biomass and short chain fatty acids (VFA) along with indigestible fibre. Around 100-200 g protein and 9.5-10 MJ dietary energy has to be utilized to produce 36g protein and 760 Kcals energy in 1kg milk. Cow in normal case depends on the fermentation end products for its nutritional requirement. This above process is found very wasteful unless it is modified with human intervention of technologies. The feed technology could manipulate/modify digestibility, metabolisibility and productivity which would minimize the nutrient loss in side the animal body. It also improves the nutritive value of non edible feeds, increases the palatability, density and storability. Bottom line is the normal conversion of 8kg feed to 1kg product (FCR 8)would be brought down to 4kg. In future it could be further brought down with newer technologies. In dairy cow maximum nutrient loss is noticed in feed digestion; however the ATP/energy requirement for milk nutrient conversion is not known fully albeit the high energy need for high fat milk is accepted the area of carbon elongation and long chain fatty acids inclusion in milk fat are the areas for more studies. The technologies engaged are, bypass nutrients (bypass protein, fats, starch/sugar), fatty acid-sucrose complex, fodder compounding to produce green fodder substitutes (sweet haylage), introduce feeding regimen to reduce fats in buffalo milk to spare glucose for lacrosse synthesis to double the milk output and also develop milk goats with new feed tech feeds. The above technologies are tried to discuss under.

The recent developments in feed science are given below:

    • Sugar treated protein meals:

Several treatments are performed to protect protein meals from rumen degradation. Maximum work is done on soyabean meal. E.g Aminoplus, Soya pass etc. Formaldehyde treatment is also advocated recently in India. Formaldehyde treated Guar meal is being used in some feed plants. The residual effect of formaldehyde is still in dispute. The treatment with sugar syrup would not only protect the protein meals in rumen but also increase the energy value of the protein meal. Therefore, the energy deficiency could be offset. The feeding of large quantity protected protein predisposes the elevation of BUN and creatinine in blood indicating the possible damage to liver and kidney. The sugar syrup could be sprayed onto the protein meals which would allow to coat feed particles uniformally. The formation of rumen inert sugar before coating would avoid the possible rumen acidosis too. The equip system for sugar coating is shown in Figure 1.

    • Sweet haylage:

The development of silage is practiced everywhere when excess green fodder is available. Converting it to haylage of 55% moisture bale and pack air tight preserve the grass for long time. Coating sugar syrup with probiotics on the haylage and cure it airtight for one month would increase the dry matter digestibility of the fodder, increase the ME value and also helps the formation of bacterial protein with VFA. The treated haylage is very aromatic, palatable and become good fodder. The above technology is a combination of silage, haylage making and straw treatment in a commercial plant.

The possibilities are using forest grass, straws, stovers, alfalfa hay etc in different proportion and treating it with sugar syrup and probiotics would make an energy dense fibre to make it highly digestible and convertible. The treated fodder could be stored for long time and could be transported to long distances. The technology enables to convert waste vegetable fibre like banana stem and leaves, natural herbages, tree leaves etc into a good ruminant feed.

A flow diagram of sweet haylage plant is given in figure 2.

As shown in the figre the critical parts of the plant are 1/ cjopper. Reactor. Mixer and hydraulic press of 50 MT force or 3500 PSI. The pressed blocks are left foe digestion under air tight packing for 20[30 days. The treated feed may be stored for over 2 years under the packs.

    • Sugar/molasses block licks:

The advent of molasses urea block in eghtees was considered an invention. The hard blocks manufactured in special plants were popularized in India under Operation Flood program. The large proportion of UMMB is molasses (45 – 60). The high viscous molasses makes the mixing of brans, minerals and protein meals energy demanding because of low sp.heat… The poly saccharine/glue mixed with high ash content makes the hardening slower. The molasses with 59% organic matter has only 46-48% total sugar as invert. Therefore, the dietary energy availability from molasses is very low like brans. Again, the coupling of molasses with brans and high ash reduce the dry matter digestibility. The low efficiency of ‘solid to solid’ phenomenon of sucrose in molasses makes the block more hygroscopic. Eventually the molasses blocks remain as supplement feed to low yielding cattle, fattening sheep and goat and beef. The new process is spraying of sugar syrup at 70 deg C as a mist into the mixer chamber where in the other ingredients could be mixed using a tulip shaped paddle mixer. This would coat the sugar syrup evenly onto the feed particles. The process would evaporate moisture from sugar syrup. In case higher percentage of sugar syrup is added, the hot air could be passed through the mixer. The mixed material coming out of the mixer would be almost dry ( 12-14%) moisture. The mixture could be pressed into solid blocks in hydraulic press. The pressed blocks are packed in cardboard boxes of 5, 10 or 20kg sizes and shrink packed. Since molasses had several constraints like license, allotment and record keeping sugar syrup could be free from that.

    • Bypass energy Feed:

Dietary energy is the important nutrient for animal production. It is more complex in case of ruminant nutrition wherein glucogenic and lipogenic nutrient energy constitute the major dietary energy for ruminants. The glucogenic nutrients are mostly propionate from rumen fermentation end products, gulcogenic amino acids and rumen bypass starch. The lipogenic nutrient is largely acetate and butyrate from rumen output as well as rumen bypass fat. Supplemental fat continues to be a practical means of sustaining energy intake in high producing cows. Bypass starch has not developed itself as a feed supplement rather a feed process effect of starch gelatinization. In view of the above, the development of a new feed that bypasses the rumen significantly and supply energy in the form of glucose and fatty acids to support the animal production is envisaged to innovate through the project. The innovative approach to develop such a novel product is the objective of this project.

    • Fatty acid- Glucose Complex (Bypass Energy Feed):

In view of the above, the feeding advantages of fatty acids and glucose have been well documented. Considering the higher requirement of glucose for milk synthesis (lacto genesis and milk fat synthesis de novo NADPH) the role of sugar becomes vital. The possibilities of direct incorporation of long chain fatty acids into milk fat globules encourage the use of inert fat. Eventually a combination of both important nutrients would go a long way in supporting the energy need for animal production. The supply of glucose at the intestinal part would provide more metabolisable energy. The new product would revolutionize the feeding regimen for dairy cows and would support healthy milk production. The new feed would be chemically the metallic salts (Ca, K, Na) of long chain fatty acids (PUFA) and carboxilates / sacharites. Ca K _ / PUFA Na C12 H22O11


It is a common knowledge that dairy plants are run by dairy technologists, sugar plants by sugar technologists but a feed plant is managed by an engineer or a veterinarian. No feed technologists are available. None of the universities are having a feed technology syllabus or course. Therefore the feed plants are contained to traditional mixing, grinding and pelletting. Therefore one could appreciate any merit on nutritive value for a feed manufactured in a modern feed plant or a home mix. The development of feed technology would go a long way in processing feeds to increase the digestibility, metabolisability and productivity. In India where crop residues are the main stay of feeding regimen technological processes of them would reduce the possible fight between man and animal for land in future. It is very essential that ICAR/ universities would encourage feed tech-nology researches to support the feed industry. Furthermore at this moment when country launches a remarkable program of food security that envisages a three fold food production restricting land only for grain production necessitates the zero land dairying.

*Dr. P. George Kunju John

Feed Technologist & Consultant