Livestock is an integral component in the economy of India. The livestock sector in India contributes to nearly 32% of total agricultural output. The requirement of fodder is met mostly from the crop residues of various food crops and in a limited way from the cultivated fodder crops and ever diminishing pasturelands. With only 4% of total cropping area for fodder cultivation has resulted in a severe deficit of green fodder, dry fodder and concentrates.
In the current scenario, where competing demands on land renders the expansion of food/cash crops a difficult proposition, the probability of increasing area under fodder crops is nearly impossible. Therefore, to fulfil this shortfall in demand for fodder, accelerating production of fodder through promotion of integrated technologies and processes for enhancing the availability of fodder is required.
A strategy to promote the supply of quality seeds, promoting production of fodder crops, extending fodder cultivation to currently unutilized lands, promotion of dual purpose varieties of crops which has the potential of meeting fodder requirements in Season and off-season, promotion of non-traditional fodder, post-harvest technologies for preservation of fodder, all these strategies should be implemented effectively.
Seed is the most critical input to enhance the productivity of fodder crops. Considering the shortage and non availability of fodder seed, Milkfed started its own Fodder Seed Production and Distribution Programme and has established Fodder Seed Processing Plant at Bassi Pathana in district Fatehgarh Sahib. This programme strengthens the production of quality seeds of selected promising varieties/hybrids of fodder with participation of farmers.
The annual growth of agriculture sector can be boosted by enhancing the productivity from the livestock sector. Therefore, it is important to create awareness among the farming community about the importance and development opportunities of fodder production, its contribution to increased livestock production, more use of improved seeds and demonstration of better agronomic practices.