In view of constant increase in the cost of concentrate feed ingredients and their limited availability, green fodder is considered an economical source of nutrient for dairy animals. While increase in green fodder production per hectare of land has been emphasized, it is equally important to conserve green fodder to ensure regular supply for feeding animals, especially during the lean period. Conserving green fodder in the form of silage is one of the best options available to ensure regular supply to quality fodder through different seasons of the year.
Silage is the conserved green fodder having moisture content in the range of 65 to 70 percent. Fodder crops rich in soluble carbohydrates are incubated after chaffing for 45-50 days under anaerobic conditions. Sugars present in the fodder are converted to lactic acid, which acts as a preservative and a good source of readily fermentable sugars for the rumen microbes.
Keeping in view the importance of Silage, Milkfed has established 50 community silage pits in Kandi area of Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur on 100% subsidy basis for Silage Making, Milkfed has supplied 250 hand driven chaff-cutter and 500 power driven chaff-cutter with 75% grant. 100 silage making units have also been established with 100% subsidy.
The fodder crops, such as Maize, Sorghum, Oats, Pearl millet, and hybrid Napier rich in soluble carbohydrates are most suitable for fodder ensiling. Quality of silage can be improved with the use of suitable additives such as molasses, urea, salt, formic acid etc.
Benefits of Silage making:-
- Ensures regular supply of fodder to dairy animals.
- Ensures uniform quality fodder to animals during different seasons.
- Silage can be made under almost all weather conditions.
- Surplus green fodder can be conserved, minimizing wastage.
- Feeding silage is an effective tool for the control of parasitic diseases, as the parasites present in different stages in green fodder are destroyed during ensiling.
- Enhances green fodder productivity by improving harvesting intensity.
- Enhances livestock productivity by ensuring fodder supply, especially during the lean period.
Productivity Enhancement Programmes