Cattle Feed Quality Woefully Deficient, Says Former Dairy Chairperson21 April 2014
INDIA - No less than 70 per cent of the cost of milk production in India goes towards fodder, and yet, cattle feed remains woefully deficient in quality, thereby affecting yield, the former chairperson of the National Dairy Development Board Amrita Patel has said.
According to The Hindu, Ms Patel said that adopting balanced feed-rations and breeding cattle with higher "feed-conversion efficiency" are critical in increasing the productive life of cattle, reducing the incidence of disease, and lowering the cost of production.
Ms Patel was delivering the keynote address at the Global Animal Nutrition Conference on the theme Climate resilient livestock feeding systems for global food security.
Livestock in the country were largely fed on agricultural residue and straw-based fodder, which were deficient in several nutrients, she said. While green fodder was more nutritious, only 10 per cent of the area under green fodder was sown with certified seeds. "This is because seeds are just not available," Ms Patel said.
As the demand for milk and milk product rises, India had no choice but to look at enhancing productivity. "But feed resources are not likely to rise very drastically, so we will have to learn to use existing resources efficiently."
The role of women in livestock farming is often neglected, said Purvi Mehta Bhatt, regional representative, South Asia, International Livestock Research Institute. Women comprised 70 per cent of the workforce in the livestock sector, she said.
S. Ayyappan, Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said the time had come to "produce more from less." As global warming becomes a real concern, we need "climate-smart farming," he said.
Governor of Goa Bharat Vir Wanchoo, Director of the National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology C.S. Prasad and Deputy Director-General (Animal Science), ICAR, K.M.L. Pathak spoke.
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