Muskaan1, Rajesh Kasrija2 and Parminder Singh3

Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension Education,
College of Veterinary Science,
 Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana
(1)   M.V.Sc. Scholar, Department of Vety. and A H Ext. Edu.,
(2)    Associate Professor, Department of Vety. and A H Ext. Edu.,  
(3)    Professor, Directorate of Extension Education, GADVASU

Dairy sector is most vital component of livestock sector providing employment to approximately 8 crores farmers directly and contributing about 5% to national economy. As per economic survey, the livestock sector grew at a Compound Annual Growth rate of 7.9 per cent during 2014-15 to 2020- 21 (at constant prices), and its contribution to total agriculture GVA (gross value added) has increased from 24.3 per cent in 2014-15 to 30.1 per cent in 2020-21.

According to BAHS 2022, India ranks first in milk production with total milk production of 221.06 million tonnes and there is increase by 5.29% from last year. The per capita availability of milk is 444 grams at national level. For exotic/ crossbred the average yield per animal per day is 8.52 Kg per day and for indigenous/ non-descript is 3.36 Kg per day. The contribution of different species in total production is 31.58% by Indigenous Buffaloes, 29.91% by crossbred cattle,10.35% by Indigenous cattle, 9.82% by non-descript cattle , 13.49% by non-descript buffaloes, 2.93% by  Goat and 1.92% Exotic cows. This means that milk production of the country is by mosaic of production by different animal. The largest milk producer state is Rajasthan contributing about 15.05% of the total milk production in the country whereas Punjab being the state with highest yield rate i.e. 13.88 kg/day for crossbreed and exotic, 9.17 kg/day for indigenous/non descript. Punjab is state with highest per capita availability of milk (1271 gram/day).

Due to urbanization and growing human population, the demand of milk and milk products is increasing day by day. Also, many farmers are opting dairy farming as their business and they have invested huge amount of money in this venture. There is an utmost requirement to increase milk production in dairy animals, which can be achieved  with the  help of transfer of scientific knowledge, adequate balanced nutrition, proper management. One of the major reasons for low productivity of high genetic potential dairy animal is lack of proper nutrition in terms of both quality and quantity. Expenditure on nutrition is about 60-70% expenditure in dairy business. Imbalanced feeding sometimes leads to excess of some nutrient and deficient of other. Underfeeding leads to deficiency of nutrients in the body , leading to diseases and decrease in production. Overfeeding also leads to many problems in animals and there is economic loss due to expenditure on extra ration.

In India currently there net deficiency of 35.6% green fodder, 10.95% dry fodder and 44% concentrate feed whereas in Punjab there is surplus of green and dry fodder, deficient of concentrate by 35.6% but the daily per animal availability of fodder  is 30.5 kg which is comparatively very low to optimum requirements of 40-50 kg per animal. So it is very essential to efficiently use the available fodder and improve productivity of livestock in long run. The ration of dairy animals should be formulated in such a way that it has low cost and there is increase in productivity of dairy animals, leading to  more profit to farmers.

What is Balanced feeding?

Balanced feeding can be defined as feeding of  ration which provides essential nutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamin and minerals for maintenance, production and reproduction needs of animals , which can be obtained from dry fodder, green fodder and concentrate feed. Inadequate ration formulation leads to reproductive inefficiency, animal become prone to various diseases and there is decrease in milk productivity etc.

 Importance of balanced feeding:

  1. Improvement in reproductive efficiency
  2. Less prone to diseases
  3. Increase in immunity
  4. Improvement in quality and quantity of milk
  5. Increase in net profit of farmers
  6. Maintains pH of rumen, thereby increasing digestive efficiency.

Impact of imbalance feeding:

  1. Poor growth
  2. Reproductive inefficiency  such as repeat breeding, anestrus etc
  3. Increase in Inter-calving interval
  4. Shortening of lactation length and decrease in peak yield
  5. Prone to various diseases like
  6. Energy deficient: negative energy balance, Diseases such as ketosis, fatty cow syndrome, downer cow syndrome.
  7. Protein excess: it causes alkaline indigestion, embryonic mortality.
  8. Mineral deficiency: Milk fever, Hypomagnesemic tetany, Post Parturient Haemoglobinuria
  9. Vitamin deficiency: Polioencephalomalacia, Pernicious anaemia

Points to ponder before formulation of ration:

  1. Type of fodder : Type of available fodder should be taken in to consideration. Leguminous fodder are rich source of proteins, while  non leguminous fodder are rich source of energy.
  2. Quality of fodder: It also play an important role in nutrient availability from fodder.
  3. Milk yield and fat content in milk in case of lactating animal : Ration feeding should be according to milk composition and milk yield of dairy animals.
  4. Body weight of animal: An animal may have different nutrient requirements during different phases of life.
  5. Age of animal :  Calf , heifer or adult animal has different nutritional requirement.
  6. Stage of gestation: Requirement of a dairy animal varies according to different stages of gestation.
  7. Breed of animal : Cattle and buffalo have different feeding requirement.

Tips for balanced feeding:

  1. One kg concentrate is equivalent to 10 kg green fodder
  2. One kg dry fodder/straw can be used as replacement of 5-7kg green fodder to compensate the dry matter requirement.
  3. Fodder should be fed 40-50 kg per day per animal which will decrease the cost of feed. Always remember that green fodder is a cheap and excellent source for milk production. Ensure availability of green fodder throughout year. Sudden change should not be brought in feed, it should be done in 7-10 days.
  4. If milk production of cow is more than 7kg and of buffalo is more than 5kg then concentrate can be fed 1kg/2.5 kg milk and 1kg/2.0 kg milk respectively.
  5. Silage should be fed after milking otherwise milk will contain odour of silage.
  6. Fodder with high moisture content should be dried in sunlight or should be mixed with straw.
  7. Concentrate should contain moisture content less than 10%
  8. Feed should be stored at dry, ventilated and clean place and at temperature 13-20 °C
  9. Feed should be free from fungal contamination i.e. aflatoxin.
  10. Try to explore local ingredients. Purchase feed ingredients from market where its is available in ample amount thus decreasing the cost of feed leading to more profitability.
  11. One should consult Animal nutrition expert before formulation of feed.
  12. Follow green fodder conservation techniques i.e. Hay and Silage, which will   provide adequate nutrition in case of scarcity of fodder or lack of fodder due to changing season.
  13. Different oil cakes should be used so that all the essential amino acids is provided in feed.
  14. Concentrate quantity depends on the quantity of quality and quantity of green fodder, as with good quality green fodder concentrate quantity can be decreased. Thus increasing the profitability of farmer by decreasing the cost.
  15. Feed should be made for 15-25 days only as more than this may lead to fungal contamination.
  16. Animal having high milk should be provided with 50% concentrate and 50% fodder during 1st trimester, then 40% concentrate and 60% fodder during 2nd trimester and lastly 30% concentrate and 70% fodder during last trimester
  17. Mineral mixture should be included in diet @ 2%.

From the foregoing, it is clear that balanced feeding plays an integral role in dairy farming. Utmost care should be taken in feed formulation and feeding of diets to animals. Only by balanced feeding, a farmer can attain maximum production and reproduction efficiency from the animals