Hydroponics Green Fodder Feeding Technology in Goa

Goa produces one third of its daily milk requirement of about four lakh litres and for the rest totally dependent upon the other states. The major issue with dairy farming in Goa is non-availability of feeds and fodders. Most of the farmers of the state have below one hectare land. So that state is facing the problem of land for grazing. The problem persists because of small land holding size, soil salinity, high cost of fencing and labour charges. Annual requirement of concentrate, green fodder and dry roughages in state is about 1.23, 10.08 and 1.67 lakhs tons, respectively. But supply doesn’t meet the requirement. Market cost of the feeds and fodder are very high (Rs.15, Rs.5, Rs. 10 per kg of concentrate, green fodder and dry roughages, respectively).

For the betterment of dairy business, one hydroponics green fodder production unit has been established by Goa Dairy at ICAR Research Complex for Goa, Old Goa under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna (RKVY) scheme of Government of India. 10 more units were established at different dairy cooperative societies of Goa under RKVY. Each unit has production potential of 600 kg green fodder daily in seven days. The ICAR Research Complex for Goa has standardized the production and feeding practices of the hydroponics green fodder and imparting technical advices to the dairy farmers.

It Is Grown Up By Maize

This green fodder is grown up by maize. Soaking time of only 4 hours is sufficient for maize seed. Soaked seed produced from 1.25 kg un-soaked maize seed is loaded in a 90X32 cm tray. Hydroponics green fodders look like a mat consisting of roots, seeds and plants. About 3.5 kg and 5.5 kg hydroponics green fodders were produced from each kg of yellow maize (CT-818) and white maize (GM-4), respectively. Production cost of hydroponics green fodder from white maize (Rs.4) was lower than yellow maize (Rs.5). In comparison to conventional green fodders, hydroponics green fodders contained more crude protein (13.6 vs 10.7; %) and less crude fibre (14.1 vs 25.9; %). Intake of hydroponics green fodder by dairy animals was up to 24 kg/animal/day. As green fodders is an integral part of dairy ration, in situations, where fodders cannot be grown successfully or progressive modern dairy farmers with elite dairy herd can produce hydroponics green fodder for feeding their dairy animals.

It Increases Milk Production

Mr. Suryakant B. Gawde, from Mandrem village in Pernem Taluka of Goa, has a herd of 12 crossbred cows and four heifers. He supplies 60-70 litres milk daily. His biggest problem was non-availability of quality green fodder. One unit of the hydroponics green fodder production system was established at his farm. Since then he is producing green fodder maize under hydroponics technology. On daily feeding of 10 kg hydroponics fodder maize per cow, he saved 1.0 kg concentrate mixture per cow and experienced enhancement of 1.0 litre milk per cow per day, which was equivalent to 12.5% of the milk production.

The young calves fed with 1-2 kg hydroponics fodder gained higher body weight (350g Vs 200g) with better skin coat. By spending Rs.40 on hydroponics green fodder he saves Rs. 20 on concentrate mixture and additionally earns Rs. 30 on enhanced milk production per cow per day. Along with the additional net profit of Rs.10 per cow per day, the animals remain healthy.

(Source: ICAR Research Complex for Goa, Old Goa)