Livestock production by efficient soil management for human health

Biradar S.C#, Amina Fatima1, Ambika2, Prashanth M3, Santosh Reddy4, Ilais Mohammed5 and Shantkumar6

The statistics for the animal husbandry activities and livestock population of India and its milk, egg, wool and meat production is collected recently by Indian Agriculture Statistics Research Institute, ICAR, New Delhi (livestock census ICAR 2023)the results of which are based on 15% sample survey from 96,000 villages. As per this report the countries cattle population is 193.46 million, buffalo at 109.85 million, 74.26 million sheep, 148.88 million goats, 9.06 million pigs and overall livestock population is to be 536.76 million. The country total milk production is at 230.58 million tonnes with per capita availability (PCA) at 459 g/d. The average milk yield from exotic or cross breed is 8.5 L/d, whereas from indigenous breed is 3.4 L/d and the growth rate in milk production is found to be at 3.83%. The top five milk producing state have a share of 53.08%, with Uttar Pradesh 15.72%, Rajasthan 14.44%, Madhya Pradesh 8.73%, Gujarat 7.49% and Andhra Pradesh at 6.70%. Species wise, buffalo contribute 44.81% of the total milk out of which 31.94 comes from indigenous buffaloes and 12.87% from non descriptive buffalo breeds. 51.91% of countries milk will come from cattle, exotic breed contribute 1.86 percent of milk, cross breed contribute 29.81%, indigenous breeds contributing 10.73% whereas non-descript cattle breed contributes 9.51% of cattle milk. Goat contributes 3.3% of countries milk. The highest per capita availability (PCA) of milk is found to be in Punjab at 1283 g/d, Rajasthan at 1138 g/d, Haryana at 1098 g/d, Andhra Pradesh at 799 g/d, Gujarat at 670 g/d and Madhya Pradesh at 644 g/d.

India has 851.81 million poultry which produces 138.38 billion egg with annual growth rate of 6.77% and per capita availability of 101 eggs per annum. 20 billion eggs (14.60%) come from backyard poultry production system and rest 118 billion egg (85%) comes from commercial poultry production system. The top five state have a total share of 64.93% of eggs with Andhra Pradesh contributing 20.13%, Tamil Nadu contributing 15.58% of countries eggs, Telangana 12.77%, West Bengal at 9.93% and Karnataka contribute 6.51% of egg. India has 74.26 million sheep and 148.88 million goats, which contribute around 33.61 million kg of wool. India total meat production is at 9.77 million tonnes and per capita availability (PCA) of meat is 7.10 kg per annum and has a growth rate of 4.52%. Poultry dominate with 51.14% of countries total meat at 4.9 million tonnes and 17.61% of countries meat come from buffaloes, 14.47% from goats, 10.51%  from Sheep, 3.85% of meat from pigs, 2.43% meet is contributed from cattle.

The gross value added (GVA) to countries GDP is reported to be 81.03% from all other sectors of economy, where as 10.40% GVA comes from agriculture crops 5.73% from livestock, 1.35% come from fisheries, 1.49% from forestry. Among agricultural sector  crop GVA contribution  is 54.85% with an annual growth rate of 1.65%, livestock GVA contribution is 30.19% with an annual  growth rate of 6.00%, fisheries GVA contribution is 7.09% with an annual growth rate of 9.2% and forestry GVA contribution is 7.87%.

If we calculate the protein availability from all sources, every Indian gets approximately, 25-30 g/d high quality protein as against the requirement of 50-80 g/d. Now this is one third available to the requirement, and it is well known world over that the deficiency of protein causes stunting, weakness, loss of productivity and increased burden on the medical infrastructure of the country leading to vicious cycle of ill health, poverty and ignorance. The average milk produced by the cows is 3 litres per day, which has a genetic potential to produce 10 litres per day. Any intervention made in the dairy sector alone can increase the protein availability to the required level thereby reducing the disease burden on the country and increase the efficiency of the citizens.

The biggest hindrance in developing the livestock sector is availability of feed and fodder, price for milk, meat and egg, and certain religious beliefs and ignorance. The perishable nature of the goods makes it to fall to the vagaries of the marketing forces, thereby preventing its growth and development. Hence, what is needed is the intervention of government and non government to educate the citizens for right choice of nutrients while consuming and accordingly encouraging and producing those nutrients which make the country healthy and efficient. The introduction of eggs and milk in mid day meal in all the schools of the country is a good move in the long run.

Animals have since time immemorial been companions of human being, contributing to human welfare by using the crop residue not used by any other species to convert them into valuable milk, meat and eggs. It also provides the valuable manure for soil enrichment, carbon sequestration, and draft power. So in a way agriculture production is complimented by keeping animal husbandry, provides regular employment and income by selling excess milk, meat and egg by the farmer to the whole world, and keeping him busy due to animal presence and these animal products have bio available nutrients to the family nutrition and hence is considered as the backbone of Indian agriculture. Without animal husbandry, agriculture is incomplete. All the waste production of agriculture such as pulse chunni, cereal bran, oil seed cakes, brewers waste, kitchen and hotel waste which is almost 50 % of the total agriculture production finds its use in animal rearing and in turn producing food to the human beings, and all the maize and soya production is used by the poultry sector for producing meat and eggs for the Indian population.

The traditional sheep and goat rearing is by extensive grazing

Indian cattle owners use bullocks for draught and cows for milk

Although we are the largest producer of milk in the world, but our per capita productivity is very low. Reasons of low productivity are inadequate availability of quality feed and fodder. The total area under cultivated fodder is only 8.4 mill hac (5.23%) out of the total holdings of 165 mill hac, which is static since last two decades. Total green fodder and dry fodder availability in India is 732.2 MT and 326.4 MT against requirement of 827.19 MT and 426.1 MT respectively. Poor genetic constitution, pest and disease vulnerability in both the plant and animal side leads to poor productivity. The present fodder production in the country is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the growing livestock population and also the feed and fodder offered to animal are mostly of poor quality. This gap in demand and supply is rising due to consistent growth of livestock population at the rate of 1.23% in the coming years. The genetic potential of high yielding animals can be realized only if they are fed well with quality fodder. For full exploitation of milk production of dairy animals, it is imperative that nutritious lush green fodder is made available to the animals at the rate of about 40-50 kg per adult animal per day throughout the year. So to feed this livestock population, we have to design some innovative strategies so that the produce from agriculture could effectively be utilized for livestock feeding. Under such situation, various fodder crops can be effectively used as feed, green fodder, dry fodder.

There are different types of fodder Classification available. However, the following two classifications are more easy to understand and adopt. Classification on the basis of season of cultivation :

  1. Kharif Fodder (June – September)- cowpea, field bean, bajra, shorghum, maize, etc.
  2. Rabi fodder (October – Dec/Jan) – berseem, lucerne, oats, barley, etc.
  3. Summer fodder (April – June)- cowpea, maize, field bean, shorghum, bajra, etc.

  Classification on the basis of plant family and duration of Crop

  1. Legumes (Annual and perennial)

    Annual- Berseem, cowpea, stylo, guar, etc.

    Perennial- Lucerne, Stylo, Subabaul, Dashrath etc.

  • Non-legumes (Annual and perennial)

 Annual- maize, jowar, bajra, oat, etc.

 Perennial- Hybrid napier, Gunea grass, Para grass, Rhodes grass, Anjan Grass etc.

Production Technology for Green Fodder Availability Throughout the year

An adult dairy animal yielding 25 L/d, requires minimum 10% of green fodder of its body weight. Eg.-Animal weighing 400 kg requires 40 kg green fodder. Balancing of green fodder is very important, and as a thumb rule, 2/3 rd should be coming from non-legume fodder & 1/3 rd coming from legume fodder. Sole feeding of only non-legume fodder or legume fodder causes imbalance. So, feeding of fodder through above thumb rule is very necessary. Non-legume fodder is rich in energy than protein and it is used for supplying energy and feeling of fullness of stomach, whereas, legume fodder is rich in protein than energy and it is used for supplying body building proteins and increases milk production. Hence, both kind of fodder crops (legume and non-legume) either annual or perennial are very essential. Feeding these leguminous fodders by drying them and making hey will increase the dry matter intake. The entire land area should be divided into 8 plots each and a blend of this rotation adopted. The sowing regime is rotated with different crop sequences in clock or anti- clock wise pattern so as not only to maintain soil productivity but also to check incidence of pest and disease. In order to maintain continuous flow of green fodder supply for the animals from within the allocated area, each of the crops may be split sown twice or thrice with fortnightly intervals depending upon the needs. In case of Surplus production, during lush period fodder may be conserved as silage or hay to cater to the feeding requirements during lean periods. We will discuss in detail about Berseem here, it is very important Rabi season legume fodder and popularly known as the “King” of fodder crops. The crop is well adapted to cool and moderately cool climate. It is sown from second fortnight of October to first fortnight of November under irrigated conditions. Fodder obtained from berseem is highly palatable and contains 17-22% crude protein, 42-49% neutral detergent fibre, 35-38% acid detergent fibre, 24-25% cellulose and 7-10% hemicellulose with 70% dry matter digestibility. Besides, it improves the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil.

Land Preparation is crucial and clay loam soils rich which are in calcium and phosphorus having a 7 to 8 pH are ideally suitable for its cultivation. Do first ploughing by disc plough followed by 2-3ploughing by harrow plough to convert the soil into fine tilth. The land should be perfectly leveled to obtain even distribution of irrigation water and to avoid water stagnation. There are many varieties such as Mescavi, BL-1, JB-1, Wardan, BL-10, BL-22, BL-2, UPB-10, Bundel Berseem-2, Bundel Berseem-3, JB-5, HFB-600, BL-180.      

Sowing time is from second fortnight of October to first fortnight of November. Sowing Method is by dry and wet seed sowing methods are used in berseem. In Dry Method, Berseem seeds are drilled by seed drill followed by covering the seeds with plank. After drilling and covering of seeds the field is allowed to irrigate. In Wet Method, Wherever irrigation facility is available at 4.0 m width and as per convenient 40 -50 m length size bed is prepared. The bed is flooded with 5-6 cm deep water. The overnight soaked and imbibed seeds are broadcasted on standing water; which gives vigorous and rapid germination to young seedling for establishment. Seed treatment can be done with bio-agents, Trichoderma harzianum or Pseudomonas fluorescens @ 10g/kg of seeds. Seed Rate is 20 kg/ha. Spacing at the rate of 40cm (row to row) × 4-5 cm (plant to plant) if adopted gives appropriate yield. Manure and Fertilizers should be done at the time of land preparation  @ 12 to 15 tonnes/ha of well decomposed farm yard manure in the field. Whereas, 20 kg N, 60 kg P2O5 and 40 kg K2O/ha should be applied at the time of sowing.

Irrigation every 10- 15 days based on soil moisture and water holding capability, especially during tillering, flowering, head formation and seed filling are the important critical stages for irrigation. At initial stage at every 5-6 days interval two light irrigation (4-6 cm depth) should be given. For weed management, you may foe hand weeding or may apply Imazethapyr 10% SL @ 0.1 kg a.i./ha at 20 days after sowing with 500 litres of water. The first cut of berseem for fodder should be taken 45 days after herbicide application. Insect Management if exist especially pod borer is a serious polyphagous pest in berseem during flowering. Apply insecticide Cypermethrin 25EC @ 200ml/ha or Spinosad 45 % SC @ 150ml/ha after last cutting of berseem. Soil borne diseases such as stem and root rots caused by fungi are common. The disease incidence of stem rot is visible during January and February when the temperature is low. Root rot commonly observed during March and April when temperature rises gradually. Seed treatment with Trichoderma harzianumor, Pseudomonas fluorescens 10g/kg should be done toward primary infection of these diseases. Spraying of Chlorothalonil 75 WP @ 2 g/litre of water after stem and root diseases appearance. The first cutting for green fodder should be taken 50- 55 days after sowing and subsequent two cuttings are taken at 25-30 days interval. Green fodder yield is approximately 450-500 q/ha and seed yield 5-6 q/ha. There are good number of private fodder seed companies such as Avigen and Advanta etc apart from all the ICAR institutes and are providing high quality hybrid seeds with promising results of very tender fodder with 65% TDN and an yield of 70 T/ acre in just 75 days period or say 200 Tons in one year from one acre of intensive crop cultivation should also be tried and tested for successful livestock production. 

Only by adopting, improved breeding, feeding housing, record keeping practices we can make the required protein availability of 50-80 g/d for every Indian from the present consumption of 25-30 g/d. This can solve the problem of deficiency of protein, especially among the women and children who suffer the most by stunted growth, weakness, loss of productivity and increased cost on medical treatment and we can break this vicious cycle of ill health, poverty and ignorance. The genetic potential of not only animals but human beings can also be fully exploited and it will also reduce the disease burden on our country treatment facility which is suffering from over burden and will our nation a developed nation.

 #Professor and Head, Dept of  LPM, Veterinary College Bidar, KVAFSU BIDAR.
1 to 6M.V.Sc. Scholar, Department of LPM, Veterinary College Bidar.
2Asst Prof. Department of LPM, Veterinary College Bidar.
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