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Intensive Cultivation of Medicago sativa for Sustainable Milk Production – An Action Oriented Approach

Kantha Raju M. K. V. Jagadeeswary K. Satyanarayan K. C. Veeranna Y. B. Rajeshwari C. S. Nagaraj J. Shilpa Shree
Vol 8(4), 101-108

Livestock population in India are highly depend on accessibility of feed and fodder, but there exists an extensive crevice between the necessity and genuine accessibility of feed and fodder at national level including green fodder. The green fodder shortage can be partially met out by intensively cultivating green fodder trees. A participatory action approach was designed to promote intensive cultivation of lucerne (Medicago sativa), a perennial fodder legume, for sustainable milk production in Chikkaballapur district, Karnataka. Three villages in Gowribidanur taluk were selected. Twenty dairy farmers from each village were sensitized and mobilized through meetings, group discussions, exposure visits, demonstrations, farmers’ field schools and field tours with the help of key persons and village leaders. Lucerne seeds supplied to the farmers and cultivation practices were monitored. On-farm demonstrations were conducted to demonstrate the effect of supplementation of wilted lucerne forage on milk yield in crossbred lactating cows at the rate of 5 kg/day/cow. Constraints and perceptions of farmers in adopting intensive cultivation of lucerne were identified through personal interview using structured interview schedule. The milk yield with feeding lucerne increased significantly (P<0.05) by 32.5 per cent over the milk yield without feeding lucerne in the same cows. Lack of assured irrigation and electricity was ranked as the major constraint. Most of the farmers had high perception level about the lucerne cultivation and feeding to cows. The results of the study indicated that intensive cultivation of Medicago sativa can be successfully adopted at the farm level except in water logged soil. Quality green leguminous fodder can be supplemented to reduce the cost spent for concentrate feed purchase on grass based feeding diet. Hence, the farmers can be made to realize the economic gains in terms of increased milk yield.

Keywords : Constraints Intensive Cultivation Medicago sativa Milk Yield Participatory

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