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Like any other species of livestock Sheep and goat require good quality feed
throughout the year. If it is always plentiful and of right kind, they can
produce and reproduce round the year and provide more lambs and kids per unit
time. The major advantage of sheep and goat in agriculture production system is
their special ability to utilize natural grasses, bushes, shrubs, crop stubbles
and tree lopping. They use the lands that would otherwise be of little value
for agricultural purposes.
The sheep and goat population of the state comprises more than 50
percent of the total live stock of the state. The increasing trend in the live
stock population has resulted in sharp increase in density of live stock per
unit grazing land. Pasture improvement and management has thus become imperative
as these pastures provide valuable fodder for sheep and goat and are cheapest
source of supplying nutrients. Sheep husbandry department Kashmir has a total
land measuring 18255 kanals spread in different sheep breeding farms and
district organizations. Out of it 2474 kanals are cultivable with an annual
fodder production of about 9000 quintals, which is being utilized for feeding of
Government livestock of various sheep breeding farms of the department. The
department through its forage production wing is encouraging farmers to
cultivate good quality grasses/legumes and perennial grasses for their livestock
and seeds of such improved varieties of grasses are being distributed amongst
the farmers for fodder development. Further establishment of silvi pastures for
increasing bio-mass by introducing quality grasses and fodder trees is also
encouraged. Pasture development and management is high on the agenda of the
department in future.
Present Status and Feeding Strategies of Livestock during scarcity period.
This is evaluation of present situation and suggests
some of strategies for feeding during lean period through extension programme it
is comparatively easier to persuade farmers to put some of their area under
fodder crops---an exercise proved successful for the valley where 50,000 hectare
area is now under winter crop-of oats. There is an urgent need to manage the
grazing lands and fortification of Agriculture should be initiated through
technology transfer programmes.
Key words----Temperate, grazing, fodder, cultivation
productivity of livestock cannot be increased by merely improving genetic
potential. It has to be supplemented with proper feeding for exploiting the
genetic potential in terms of productivity. Feeding of livestock is based on
certain standards that take into account the specific functions such as
maintenance, production, pregnancy etc. The nutrition of livestock comprise of
concentrate, green fodder, (Cultivated fodder), grass from grassland and
pastures (including ground and top feed), roughages of crop and hay (dried
(A) Forage Production.
The farmers in the valley do
not grow any fodder during summer when rice is to priority crop. Most of the
land remained fallow during winter till late seventies when the several fodder
crops like vetch, oats, Berseem, Bareley and turnips were introduced here. Out
of these crops berseem was not accepted by the farmers since the forage is
available after March whereas it is required during the peak winter season even
other crops like vetch, barley and turnips could not become popular. However,
oats cultivation has caught up tremendously. During 1972 the J&K Govt. offered
free oats seeds and fertilizers yet the total take off of seed was about 200Kgs.
On the contrary during 1987-88,230 tones of oats seed was sold by only
agriculture Department. At present an area of 50,000 hectares is sown annually
under oat during winter (Kachroo,1992 ), though the additional forage
availability has improved the livestock product availability in the valley
basis, the situation precarious in higher altitude. besides oat paddy straw,
willow leaves stacked on trees only and aquatic weeds form the major source of
Horti-pastoral up to an elevation of 200 meters is
also catching up with the orchardists. Forage from the Horti-pastoral is
consumed fresh and is also conserved as hay for winter. The best fodder plant
combination for Horti-pastoral is as under:-
Orchard grass + Red clover.
Rye grass + Red clover.
Red clover + Brome grass.
The native pasture and other grazing land in the state of J& K are
utilized under migratory, Semi migratory and sedentary system of animal rearing
and often experience acute shortage of biomass during winter from November
–April, therefore, intrude into the adjacent forest and net result is in their
large scale destruction. Therefore, provision of feed and fodder during this
critical period through the creation of forage reserves and/or forage banks also
the conservation of these forest areas is of paramount importance for
restoration of environment equilibrium of forage ecosystem.
Both grazing and forage cultivation have to be considered as
supplementary to each other and simultaneously efforts are required to improve
both. The improvement and subsequent management of pastures is of prime
importance and this has to be supplemented with extension efforts to induce the
farmers to cultivate the fodder.
Strategies for lean period
It is essential to grow
fodder and /or conserve surplus forage for feeding to livestock during the lean
period. Forage production is possible both under cultivate and non-cultivated
areas during lean periods. Therefore, the strategies to overcome the problem of
lean period feeding are as fallows:
a) Enrichment of Stran/Stover.
This is very important technique to make available the nutritious
fodder during the scarcity period. This will help to enhance the nutritive
value of crop researches and other cellulosic wastes for livestock feeding. This
minimizes the wastages of the non-conventional as well as conventional fodder
the narrow down the gap between availability and requirement of fodder by making
these materials suitable for livestock period.
Enrichment of roughages with urea involve addition
of 2 kg urea/10% molasses, 10% mineral mixture and 1% common salt. These
ingredients are dissolved in water (10 liters) and spread over the straw and
mixed properly. Such ration can meet the maintenance requirement of animals.
Urea-generated ammunitions has been found very effective in
improving the quality of low grade roughages. In this process 100 kg straw is
treated with 4 kg urea and 50 liters of water. The quantity of water required
depends upon the moisture content of straw. The urea solution is sprinkled or
sprayed layer by layer during stacking and the stack may be converted with
polythene cover or untreated straw. Such ration can increase additional 100-150
g growth rate and 0.5 to 1.5 kg milk per day.
b) Establishment of fodder banks.
It is aimed at supporting the livestock with feed and nutrients
during scarcity of winter at higher altitude area, the pasture land covered with
snow. Surplus forages of the region may be stored or transported from near by
states to meet the periodic unavailability.
c) Forage conservation.
It is essential to conserve surplus nutritious green forages at the
appropriate times, with a view to tide over the problem of lean periods. The
conserved forages would serve the important purpose of supplementing straw based
rations of low nutritive value on which livestock usually subsist during the
The methods of conservation generally practiced, are silage and hay
making silage is the second best and cheapest cattle feed if preserved at the
right stage of plant growth and made available for feeding in the lean period.
Modern technology also make use of artificial dehydration of herbage for
producing hay of high quality irrespective of weather conations.
It is the wet preservation of green forage where sufficient acid is
formed rapidly under are aerobic condition which acts as preservative. The most
important substrate for formation of acid is water soluble. Carbohydrates.
During silage making, soluble carbohydrates in fodders are converted by lactic
acid bacteria mainly into lactic acid and other organic acids. The resulting
pickle-like product is acidic, ideally having a PH value around 4.
Green forages when dried to about 80-85% dry matter, containing most
of its nutrients including cardene, is caltted hay. There baric principal of
hay making is to reduce the moisture concentration in the green forages
sufficiently as to permit their storage without spoilage or further nutrient
losses. The moisture concentration is hay must be less than 15% at storage time.
However, crops with this stems and many leaves are better suited
hay making as they dry faster than those having thick and pithy stems and small
leaves. Natural grasses Oats, Lucerne, are highly suitable for hay making which
is used for lean period.
f) Reduction of wastages by chaffing.
Shortage of roughages is a problem during scarcity period. All
efforts should be made to minimize the wastage. Shukla et al ( 1988) reported
that 15-20% of the stran offered is refused when it is fed unchaffed.
Therefore, chaffing is essential to minimize the wastage.
Complete feed block.
Complete feed block means the feed which supplies
all the nutrients required by the animals other than water. A complete feed
block usually contains 75% roughages and rest grains, cakes, molasses, urea and
mineral mixture. The materials are weighed and mixed there roughly. They are
then compressed in a block making machine. This type of block occupies very
little space compared to loose feed. If unwrapped properly, it can be speared
for unlimited period without losing nutritive value. Moreover, the block may be
prepared by mixing different preparations of ingredients as required by
particular species under specific physiological stage i.e blocks different
composition can be prepared for growing pregnant, lactating or working animals.
This technology has already gained special importance in H.P. and
can prove successful in Kashmir province. They can be transported to different
terrains and stored well in advance. They can be used when the roads are
blocked and weather is severe.