The productivity of an animal depends largely upon the feed and care given to it.
Let us look closely at cattle feed in this blog;
India’s milk output could be doubled if dairy animals were adequately fed.
However, the cost of high quality fodder is not something small-scale dairy farmers can afford. Thus, the essential need of dry straw and green fodder is not met throughout the year for dairy animals.
To tackle this basic crisis among dairy farmers, the government has introduced a new type of cattle feed that can also be used for small ruminants like goats called TMR (Total mixed ration).
What is TMR made out of? And, how does it prove beneficial?
Some of the ingredients that go into making of the TMR feed include groundnuts, sesame, and red gram along with molasses, toxin binder, and salt and vitamin mineral mixtures. When given as feed the animal cannot consume more or less thus limiting expense for a farmer.
It helps in enhanced milk production, quality, good reproductive health and overall physical condition of an animal. Animals fed with this ration require only small quantities of green fodder or dry straw as supplements.
Since green grass is not included in the Indian variety of TMR, the cattle feed needs to include green grass alongside regular intake of TMR.
Specifications of TMR;
- The price of TMR/kg is Rs. 17.
- An average cattle weighting 300kg requires 13 – 14kg of TMR, along with five kg green fodder in order to yield 20 liters of milk per day.
Survey among farmers using TMR has proven its benefits.
The quantity of milk is markedly improved along with its fat content and non-saturated fat percentage, thus giving an additional 2-3-rupee/liter benefits to the farmer.
Rules of Feeding;
- Regularity in feeding should be followed.
- Concentrate mixture can be fed at or preferably before milking – half in the morning and the other half in the evening. High yielding animals may be fed three times a day. Increasing the frequency of concentrate feeding will help maintain normal rumen motility and optimum milk fat levels.
- Abrupt change in the feed pattern should be avoided.
- All feeds must be stored properly in well-ventilated and dry places. Moldy or otherwise damaged feed should not be fed.
In a country like India, where the demand for liquid milk is as high as its production, it is necessary for dairy farmers to concentrate on the health and fodder of their cattle.
They must continuously aim towards increasing the quality and quantity of dairy production not only to meet national demand, but to carter international markets through export.