A new six-minute film on ‘Dual-purpose wheat and barley for human food and livestock feed in India,’ co-produced by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Doon University, is now available.
The video documents a success story in boosting fodder production among smallholder farmers in India made possible through research, partnerships and capacity building by the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish and the Tata Trust-funded ‘Enhancing livelihoods through livestock knowledge systems’ (ELKS) project.
Through the ELKS project, ILRI and the Himmotthan Society helped farmers in Pithoragarh and Tehri Garhwal districts in Uttarakhand, India in planting and harvesting green fodder at peak vegetative phase of wheat and barley crops in winter without any negative impact on grain yield.
Mountainous terrains, scant yield
Uttarakhand in northern India is a mountainous state, where fodder production is constrained by geographical and environmental problems. In this area, agriculture and livestock farming is done by women, children and the elderly, since men look for opportunities elsewhere. The wheat and barley crops for human consumption are cultivated in the sloping terraces, and green fodder for animal feeding is collected from the forest.
ILRI and Himmotthan Society provided seeds of dual-purpose wheat and barley to farmers for the trial. The grain yield from wheat, according to a farmer interviewed in the video, was more than expected. Also according to the video, aside from wheat, they could harvest about 3 tonnes of green fodder per hectare (from barley green fodder yield was 1.7-3.8 tonnes per hectare). This resulted in enough supply of green fodder, amounting to about 20 kg per day per animal for about 30 days.
Because of these positive results, in the subsequent seasons, more and more farmers came forward to work with ILRI and Himmotthan Society for replicating the innovation.