Feeds and Fodder Required

Feeding is the major component of cost of milk production accounting for 55-60 per cent of the total cost of milk production. Therefore, judicious feeding is the most important pillar of economical dairying. The dairy animals must be fed with a balanced ration incorporating all the nutrients (energy, proteins, minerals and vitamins) in right proportions keeping in view the requirements of the animal. At the same time the feeds and fodders selected for feeding should not be costly.

Dairy cows and buffaloes of an average body weight of about 500 kg require between 12.5 to 15 kg of dry matter (DM) daily.

This DM should be fed through green fodders, concentrate mixture and dry roughages. Preferably two-thirds of the total requirement of dry matter should be met through seasonal cereal and leguminous green fodders and dry roughages. For better productivity feeding of both cereal and leguminous fodders in 50 : 50 ratio should be preferred. The remaining one-third of the DM should be fed through concentrate mixture having 16 % CP and 70 % TDN. So as to economize feeding, the concentrate mixture should be home made as the concentrate mixtures available in the market are costlier and their quality in most cases leaves much to be desired. It may be mentioned that the cost of milk production is always less if major chunk of the daily ration of the dairy animal comprises green fodders as concentrates are a costly feed item. However, in situations where land for fodder cultivation is not available or insufficiently available or the market rate of fodder are very high as in and around cities and the milk is sold at a higher rate, the concentrates and the wheat straw may form major part of animal diet supplemented with some amount of green fodder (5-10 kg per animal per day) which is absolutely necessary.