Livestock feeding is an important aspect of dairy business and it plays very important role in milk production and profitability of dairy farming. An estimated 70 percent of the total cost of milk production is contributed by feed. Imbalanced feeding adversely impacts not only the health and productivity of animals but also affects income from milk production.
Feeding of dairy animals in rural areas face common challenges like:
a) Feeding with locally available fodder which are of 2- 3 type.
b) Imbalance feeding of dairy animals, sometimes there is excess/deficiency of one ingredient or another.
c) Nutrition requirements estimation based on status of animals. The feed and fodder requirements of pregnant animal, milking animals are different and it also depends on milk production of cattle.
d) Availability of advice for balanced animal feeding.
These all factors leads to less milk production and high cost of production. This has major impact on profitability and sustainability of dairy farming by smallholders.
In order to overcome these issues, NDDB has started Ration Balancing Program . The objectives of this program is to produce optimum quantity of milk at the least cost from dairy animals by using locally available feed ingredients.
The Ration Balancing Program model:
NDDB has developed user friendly software for ration balancing. The local resource persons (LRP) hired by the implementing agency. The LRPs are local youth which are trained by NDDB to use the ration balancing software and consult dairy farmers at their door step.
The responsibilities of the LRP are:
Participate in Ration Balancing training.
Conduct village awareness programme.
Ear tag the identified animals.
Record animal wise information required to balance the ration and recommend the ration.
Re-record information of every animal after every 3-4 weeks interval and re-recommend the balanced ration.
Cross check the information provided by farmers.
Ensure feeding of least cost balanced ration by the farmers.
The advantages of the Ration Balancing Program are:
Use of locally available resources which provide balanced ration at least cost.
Increased milk production
Improved animal health and better growth rate
Net increase in income and profitability of dairy farmers
The NDDB has also launched a mobile applicationnamed ‘Pashu Poshan’, to recommend a balanced diet for cows and buffaloes to help boost dairy farmers’ income by raising milk yield and cutting feed cost.
Source: NDDB & Economics Times
by Dr. Ankaj Sharma, Creative Agri Solutions