NUTRITIOUS FEED FOR FARM ANIMALS DURING LEAN PERIOD: SILAGE AND HAY-A REVIEW
BALWINDER KUMAR, NAVJOT SINGH BRAR, H. K. VERMA, ANIL KUMAR AND RAJBIR SINGH
KrishiVigyan Kendra, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Tarn Taran -143 412, Punjab, India
Directorate of Extension Education, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana-141 004, Punjab, India
ICAR-ATARI, Zone 1, PAU Campus, Ludhiana -141 004, Punjab, India
*(email : dr.balwinderkumar@rediffmail.com)
(Received : 18 April 2019; Accepted : 16 June 2019)

SUMMARY

Green forages are considered to be the backbone of dairy sector as they play a vital role in transforming dairy farming into a profitable business. So, there is urgent need for preservation of nutrients from green forages including fodder tree leaves available during the flush period for feeding livestock during lean period so that high yielding animals can be sustained for profitable dairy farming. Silage is as nutritious as green fodders as it preserves the nutrients in the original form and hence it is as good for animal feeding as green fodder itself. From a practical view, the three most important things that must occur in order to make good silage are 1) the rapid removal of air, 2) the rapid production of lactic acid that results in a rapid drop in pH, and 3) continued exclusion of air from the silage mass during storage and feed out. In certain forage crops such as maize has relatively low buffering capacity and high concentrations of fermentable carbohydrates; therefore, pH decline is rapid and final pH is usually low, approximately 3.5, thus are more suitable for silage making. In general, the pH of silage at the final stage should be within the range of 3.5-4.3. Berseem and alfalfa has a high buffering capacity in comparison to maize leading to difficulty in lowering pH and making silage from berseem. Proper dry matter in forage should be there so that it can be packed well and more lactic acid is produced. Longer filling time of chaffed fodder in silo might have not maintained anaerobic conditions properly leading to increased aflatoxins in silage. The container in which silage is made is of greatest importance and will determine to the large extent the nature and quality of final product. The most common silo is the trench silo. One cubic meter space can store 5-6 quintals of green chopped fodder. Various types of additives can be used to improve or inhibit the fermentation or supplement nutrients needed by ruminants to be fed as silage. Silage quality is determined by mainly the odour, physical state, pH, ammonia nitrogen, volatile acids and lactic acid. It should be of pleasant smell and semi dry in nature. It should be of green colour. Another way of preserving nutrients is practiced in the form of hay. The principle of hay making is to preserve nutritional value of forages through drying it to a level at which the activity of microbial decomposers is inhibited. Forages can he harvested at the stage of proper nutritive value and be preserved as hay for feeding it during lean period. A moisture content of 10- 12% is optimum level for halting the microbial activity. It assures the supply of high digestible feed with high protein and caloric values all the year round. Hay making is profitable when the production of fodder is in excess of consumption. Food quality of dried forage (hay) is as nutritious as the green forage (if available) during the period of June-December when high protein forage is scarce. It fetches higher price and helps to increase milk production.

Key words: Silage, Hay, Lean, Silo pit, Dry matter, Protein

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