Kathua: Soil Less fodder culture technique was introduced by Department of Agriculture Production and Famers’ Welfare, Kathua in the District for the benefit of farmers and livestock.
As a part of new intervention, Team Urban farming and Hydroponics from Department of Agriculture Production and Farmers’ Welfare Kathua installed first ever Hydroponics fodder growing structure at farm of progressive woman entrepreneur Smt. Sonika Sharma of Krishna Colony, Kathua. The unit was inaugurated and made functional by Smt. Rekha Kumari, President , Municipal Council ,Kathua along with Chief Agriculture Officer, Kathua Sh. Sanjeev Rai Gupta. The Department is facilitating the interested farmers by installing the desired structures at 50 percent departmental subsidy simultaneously guiding them the technique to grow the hydroponic fodder.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Agriculture Officer Kathua Sh. Sanjeev Rai Gupta said rapid urbanization has caused shrinkage of land available for grazing & land holdings are shrinking due to fragmentation. The farmer is not able to set aside land for cultivation of green fodder. There is also a scarcity of water for irrigation, especially in the summer months and the farmer prefers to grow cash crops with the available water, which would earn him more income.
The farmer prefers to use the available land to cultivate cash and food crops. Most farms lack fencing and free grazing cattle and wild animals enter the fields and feed on the succulent fodder. There is also an acute shortage of farm labour to undertake the cultivation of green fodder, cutting the same, chaffing it and feeding the same to the cattle. In forest areas adequate land may not be available to undertake cultivation of green fodder and in some areas the climate is not conducive for fodder cultivation.
In areas where the dairy industry is flourishing, there may be a shortage of green fodder due to heavy demand.
It is observed that the feed cost is about 70 to 75% of the total milk cost where in green fodder constitutes 13 to 35% of the total input feed. Good dairy practices recommend that milch cattle be fed green fodder ad-lib. The National Dairy Development Board recommends that a cow yielding 8 to 10 litres of milk per day be fed 25 to 30 kg of green fodder, 4 to 5 kg of dry fodder and 4.0 to 4.5 kg of concentrate per day during lactation.
Talking about the economics of Hydroponic fodder, CAO Kathua said, a farmer can produce 100 kg of Green fodder per day ,on rotational basis from 80 trays installed in the unit A small shed can be used for cultivation under controlled conditions. This also involves zero fencing, minimal water use, no fertilization thereby reducing the input cost and saving money in the farmer’s pocket.
CAO Kathua was also accompanied by Sh. Raju Mahajan, District Agriculture Officer (Extension) Kathua, Sh. Sanjiv Mehta, Sub Divisional Agriculture Officer Kathua, Sh. Ravi Singh Chouhan, A.E.O (H.Q) Kathua , Sh. Amit Gupta, J.A.E.O, Sh. Rajesh Kumar , Agriculture Extension Assistant, members of team Urban Farming and Hydroponics ,Kathua.