Insufficient supply of feed and fodder for animals remains a problem for dairy farmers in India, particularly in the state of Bihar. Feed and fodder scarcity limits animal productivity of products such as meat and milk, resulting in reduced incomes especially for smallholder dairy farmers.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and partners are carrying out research in India to address the challenge of livestock feed and fodder scarcity. At a recent (22 August 2015) stakeholder workshop in Patna, Bihar, feed and fodder interventions for improving the dairy sector in the state were discussed.
- Participants of the Bihar stakeholder workshop on feed and fodder interventions (photo credit: ILRI)
Livestock is key to Bihar’s economy and the workshop reviewed current interventions in the state under the Cereal Systems Initiative in South Asia (CSISA) project and possibilities of scaling out of feed technologies to more small-scale and large-scale producers.
During the technical presentations at the stakeholder workshop, ILRI agricultural economist Dhiraj Singh reported successes from the ILRI-CSISA trials to replace commercial feed with self-prepared balanced concentrate. This led to increased milk yield by 1.2 litres per animal per day on average (14%), fat percentage increased by 0.5 point (14%), and solids-non-fat (SNF) percentage increased by 0.3 point (4%).
Braja Bandhu Swain, a special project scientist at ILRI, also presented findings from his research on feed and fodder availability using the Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST) in six CSISA sites in Bihar, which showed that paddy straw, wheat bhusa and maize stover are the main crops used as dry fodder, with wheat bhusa as the preferred feed.
Currently, ILRI and partners are working on increasing availability of quality feed in Bihar and on ensuring that research outcomes reach more dairy farmers.
Future plans for improving the dairy sector in Bihar will focus on bringing together dairy farmers, the Indian government, non-governmental organizations, and other agencies working in dairy sector to jointly work on livestock research for development.
Participants at the workshop also emphasized the need for more investments and focus on improving animal health, increasing the number of veterinary doctors and capacity building and introducing a loan or subsidy system for dairy farmers.
Among the participants at the meeting were ILRI’s Nils Teufel, R K Malik, CSISA-Bihar hub manager, and S R Singh, dean of veterinary and animal sciences at Rajendra Agricultural University.
Participants also included researchers from BAIF Development Research Foundation, officers from Bihar State Animal Husbandry Department and Dairy Department, and farmers from CSISA project districts.
See a related article on ILRI’s stakeholder workshop for feed and fodder interventions in Odisha, India.