Good Practices

Establishment of Fodder Nursery for Dairy Development

The establishment of fodder nursery and distribution of fodder seeds/root slips among the farming community through integrated and participatory extension approaches is essential for dairy development. Dr Prakashkumar Rathod, Dr Vivek Patil, Dr Channappagouda Biradar, Dr Anant Rao Desai and Mr Dattu Reddy share    their    experiences     of fodder nursery establishment and             promotion       of             fodder production       under   Sujala-III project implementation in Karnataka (India). 
CONTEXT
Among the various issues to be addressed in the Indian dairy sector, fodder production and feeding has been a critical element for improved production and productivity. Over the years, although various attempts have been made to promote fodder production at field conditions, there has been a poor response from the farmers for fodder cultivation and feeding which might be due to major constraints like lack of awareness and inputs, pressure on land for cultivation of food/commercial crops, poor socio-economic status of the farmers, shrinking of common property resources etc. Further, the attitude and knowledge level of the dairy farmers also plays a pivotal role in adoption of recommended animal husbandry practices including green fodder cultivation and feeding. 

It should be noted that livestock producers meet their fodder requirements through a combination of crop residues, grazing (on common lands, private lands, forests, fallow agricultural lands and harvested agricultural lands) and cultivated forage crops (mostly by large landholders), while some of them purchase fodder. However, there is an acute shortage of green and dry fodder and lack of scientific information in the farming community about fodder production. In this context, various initiatives have been undertaken by multifarious agencies (public, private, NGOs etc.) for promoting green fodder production and distribution of fodder seeds/root slips at institutional and farmers’ levels. These agencies are also involved in establishing fodder seed production farms and fodder nurseries to support the production and availability of improved fodder seeds. These farms also serve as demonstration and training units for fodder production and promotion. The seeds/root slips of native species, which have a higher chance of surviving, are distributed at a nominal rate among the farmers to encourage fodder production. On similar lines, various research and extension projects have focused on establishment of fodder nursery and distribution of fodder seeds/root slips among the farming community through integrated and participatory extension approaches for dairy development.

We therefore emphasized on establishment of fodder nursery as demonstration plots and carried out distribution of fodder seeds and root slips for the benefit of other farmers in the project villages. Further, this project has also addressed the constraints faced by the project staff and the farmers in this project activity.  

THE INITIATIVE

The good practices discussed in this note are from the project villages of the World Bank-funded, Karnataka Watershed Development Department (KWDP)-sponsored Sujala-III project. This project has been implemented by the Veterinary College, Bidar which is under the aegis of the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (KVAFSU), Bidar (Karnataka) during last two years viz. 2015-16 and 2016-17. The development objectives of Sujala-III project is to demonstrate more effective watershed management through greater integration of programmes related to rainfed agriculture, innovative and science-based approaches and strengthen institutions and their capacities with the involvement of  individual farmers and member farmers of producer organisations (for example: Karnataka Milk federation, private milk societies etc.). We undertook a study on this initiative mainly to understand the process and impact of this initiative

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  • This paper on good practices once again provided evidence that green fodder production is not that simple as it appears. We had experience of working on a similar project with the involvement of several stakeholders in dairy development at Pondicherry and we could not succeed in achieving our objective. Our research showed that milk prices hold the key to increasing the production, which becomes a prerequisite for demand of technologies. The problem of green fodder cultivation lies not in fodder technology availability or access per se but has several ramifications which are not in the purview of the individual stakeholders. It also provided evidence that the adoption of an innovation (fodder transaction) is constrained by social, economic and policy issues rather than technological issues and include transportation of fodder, relations between the fodder growers, buyers, market facilitators or intermediaries, government policy on milk pricing, urbanization, industrialization etc. [Reference: Rao SVN, Natchimuthu K, Ramkumar S, Rasheed Sulaiman V and Ranjitha Puskur 2014 Technology is essential but not sufficient for its adoption evidence from fodder Innovation Project, Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 84 (11): 1228–1235] These are some of the reasons why the area under green fodder is almost static. There are fodder entrepreneurs who are doing extremely well in several places including Pondicherry but their number is less and their farming situation is quite conducive for them to get good returns through fodder cultivation. Congratulations to all the authors for bringing out good practices in fodder nursery/ production based on their field experience. Kindly see our November 2014/Article S V N RAO, K NATCHIMUTHU, S RAMKUMAR, V RASHEED SULAIMAN, and RANJITHA PUSKUR TECHNOLOGY IS ESSENTIAL BUT NOT SUFFICIENT FOR ITS ADOPTION EVIDENCE FROM FODDER INNOVATION PROJECT Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Veterinary Education and Research, Puducherry 605 009 India ABSTRACT: The aim of the paper is to better understand how various social and policy issues constrain the adoption of innovations among dairy farmers and presents the observations of the relationship between the adoption of green fodder feeding to dairy cattle and marketing of milk in Puducherry. Though there are some isolated successes of promoting fodder entrepreneurs by the development departments in Puducherry, these approaches could not be sustained due to lack of complementary or supportive institutional arrangements. Adoption of an innovation (fodder transaction) is more constrained by social, economic and policy issues, which include transportation of fodder, relations between the fodder growers, buyers, secretary, Milk Cooperative Society, leaders of Women Self Help Groups, government policy on milk pricing, urbanization and, industrialization, rather than technological issues. The insights offered in this paper could be useful in the design of policies to address complex economic and social issues associated with fodder usage by the dairy farmers in general and landless dairy farmers in particular.

  • India is one among the fodder deficit countries and livestock sustain mostly on crop residues or low quality grasses. The area under fodder cultivation has remained more or less static for many years. There is possibility to improve livestock productivity via improved animal feeding practices, wherein green fodder plays a key role. Considering these facts, the authors have chosen to address the important issue of fodder nursery, for which they deserve appreciation. I appreciate their team work in bring out this good practices note which is very well written. I believe this kind of practices need nationwide replication to improve livestock productivity in India. Hope this note will motivate and inspire many others to come forward to write many more Good practices on many different issues having bearing on agricultural productivity. I congratulate the Authors and AESA for this impactful good practices note.

  • Thank you sir for highlighting the importance of fodder production. I have added the status of fodder production in India for all the members..