Status of fodder availability

India inhabits 15% of world livestock on 2% geographical area with 5.23% cultivated fodder area. Feeding accounts 60-70% of total cost of milk production. Feeding based on green fodder are cost effective, so, green fodder production must be encouraged. Only 8.4 m ha which is static since last two-three decades, so, option is vertical increase, only. The fodder production in the country is not sufficient to meet the requirements also the forages offered are mostly of poor quality. Present availability of green fodder is 462 m. t. and dry fodder is 394 m.t. Contribution of crop residue, cultivated fodder and grasslands is 54, 28 and 18%, respectively.

Deficit Projections

At present, the country faces a net deficit of 35.6% green fodder, 10.95% dry crop residues and 44%concentrate feed ingredients. This gap in demand and supply may further rise due to consistent growth of livestock population at the rate of 1.23% in the coming years. The objective of the increased milk production can be met only through ensuring availability of good quality fodder in balanced ratio. By the end of 12th Plan, demand for milk is expected to increase to 141 million tons and for meat, eggs and fish together to15.8 million tons. To meet out the deficit, green forage supply has to grow at 1.69% annually.

CONSTRAINTS :- Followings are main constraints in enhancing green fodder production

1. Increased Human population forced us to grow more grain crops rather than fodder crops.

2. Green revolution included mainly grain crops and fodder side tracked.

3. Productivity is low due to non availability/ non adoption of production technology.

4. Livestock farmers are small (21.75%) and marginal (69.4%) are not paying much attention on feeding of poor yielder animals.

5. Regional imbalances of fodder availability.

6. High transport cost and burning of crop residue.

7. Non availability of trained and expert human resource in fodder production.

8. Non availability of quality seed.

9. Lack of knowledge among farmers (Poor TOT) about fodder production technologies.

STRATEGIES :- To enhance following strategies can be adopted

1. STRATEGIES-Seed Production and availability

· Seed availability of forage crops is just 15-20% of national requirement.

· Fodder seed production must be encouraged at ICAR institutes and SAU’s.

· Livestock/ dairy co-operatives must be involved in seed chain i.e. Production and distribution.

· Emphasis on creation of seed processing and storage facilities.

· Suitable regions for increased seed productivity for different fodder crops be identified.

· Compulsory targets of fodder seed production must be linked with general seed production (At least 3-5%).

· Development of seed standard and seed production technology for fodder crops and grasses.

2. STRATEGIES-Production technology

· Need to highlight economic viability of round the year green fodder production in comparison to conventional agriculture to bridge the gap in demand and availability.

· Regular interface between ICAR and DAH and also among ICAR institute related to fodder and animal sciences.

· Veterinary Officers must be given training regarding fodder production technology.

· Fodder crops has opportunity to fit well in contingent crop planning as short duration, catch/intercrop or alley crop.

· Till now more than 200 varieties of fodder crops has been developed, further suitable varieties for lean periods, good quality fodder (HQPM Fodder) be developed.

3. STRATEGIES-Conservation of fodder

· Development of cost effectiv equipment for processing of feed and fodder.

· Use Chaff-cutter to minimise wastage of fodder.

  • Establishment of fodder banks.
  • Conversion of fodder into feed blocks.
  • Conservation in form of hay and silage.
  • Enrichment of straw/stover with urea.
4. STRATEGIES-Transfer of technology

· Awareness creation about fodder production technology

  • On-farm evaluation of fodder technologies
· Capacity building of farmers through desired specific action plan for transfer of technology of fodder crops.

· Regular interface between ICAR and DAH and also among ICAR institute related to fodder and animal sciences.

  • Hay/silage demonstrations.
5. STRATEGIES-Research

· Development of fodder production technologies for different cultivated fodder areas and there adoption- adaptive trials.

· Exploration of possibilities of hydroponic fodder in CDF through intensive research to standardization of technology for various crops/grains.

· Research activities must be expanded on quality /anti quality aspects.

· Development of new cultivars of fodder crops and grasses.

· Nutritional evaluation of forage resources and development of feeding strategies.

· Evaluation, production and utilization of non-conventional fodder crops like Cactus, Azolla etc

6. STRATEGIES-Area Expansion

· Area expansion is not possible but fodder crops can be grown in various cropping systems viz.

A. Intensive forage production system(Round the year)

B. Food-fodder production system(fodder-wheat/ rice-fodder)

C. Non food -fodder production system(Intercropping of fodder in cotton, potato and sugarcane)

D. Fodder production during lean periods(Turnip, chinese in winter and maize, cowpea in summer)

E. Allay of horticultural crops e.g. growing hamil variety of Ginni grass.

· Management of grazing land, non cropped areas, problematic areas, pasture lands and rainfed areas etc.


  • Provisions of subsidies-
o On Seed and Chaff cutters.

o Silo pits and transport of fodder.

· Participatory approach towards technology development and refinement.

· Assist private farmers in multiplying, distributing/selling fodder trees and forage grass seeds

  • Watershed development programmes.
  • MNREGAS- Pasture development activities.
· For effective TOT, farmers training and demonstration programme must be implemented through Animal Husbandry, Dairying Department and Dairy Co-operatives under the aegis of ATMA.

· Effective enforcement of law related to burning of crop residue.

By adopting above strategies India can produce sufficient fodder for its animal wealth.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently working Senior Scientist.