A Novel Fodder Preservation Technique for Small Scale Livestock Farmers

Goal

  • To explore a cost effective fodder preservation technique suitable for tropical conditions
  • To disseminate the salient findings of the project to the benefit of the small scale farming community

 

Description

The project was aimed at exploring a novel methodology of fodder preservation that can be easily adopted by a landless small scale livestock farmer. About 300 kilograms of guinea grass was harvested and chaffed to 1.5 to 2.5 cm size. About 1.5 kg of feed grade urea and 4 kg of cane jaggery (molasses equivalent) was dissolved in 12 litres of potable water. The chaffed grass was ensiled into a metallic ring (silo). The grass was compacted through trampling by three adult personnels after each 0.1 m filling. The additive mixture (2 L) was then sprinkled over the evenly spread grass and the filling process repeated. After the next 0.1m filling, the additive sprinkling was repeated. Likewise, 300 kgs of grass was ensiled. The silo was covered with polythene sheet and sealed using 1cm thick soil layer. After 42 days ensiling, the silo was opened and silage sample was subjected to physical and chemical analysis. Voluntary intake was experimented using mecheri breed sheep.

 

Results

The CP content of silage increased up to the tune of 40%. The cost of silage (Indian Rupees/kg) was significantly lower than the cost of hay (Indian Rupees 1.0 Vs 5.5 per kilogram) that was purchased during the dry season. The palatability of silage was better than fresh grass..

  • The pH of silage was 4.8.
  • The CP content of GG silage was significantly higher than GG (12.02 Vs 8.52%)
  • A marked reduction in total ash content was observed in GG silage as compared to fresh GG (9.70 Vs 12.68%)
  • The voluntary feed intake studies using adult sheep revealed better voluntary intake of silage as compared to fresh grass.
  • The cost of silage (Indian Rupees/kg) was markedly lower than the cost of hay that was purchased during dry season.
  • One off campus training was specifically organized for small ruminant farmers in their locality and the salient outcome of this project was briefed to them.
  • The farmers were invited to our sheep research station and given a live demo of ring silage preparation.