Fodder Production for cattle's


(1) Cowpea

  • It is an annual crop.
  • This crop is grown in tropics, sub-tropics and warm temperature regions.
  • It is grown for feeding in green form, for hay making or for ensiling in mixtures with sorghum or maize.
  • It can be grown during kharif, Rabi and summer seasons.
  • It is suitable for year round cultivation.
  • Varieties include Co 5, Russian giant, EC 4216, UPC – 287 and local varieties.
  • Recommended seed rate – 40 kg/ha.
  • Harvest 50-55 days after sowing (50% flowering stage).
  • Variety Co 5 is suitable for growing under irrigated conditions (June – July). Particulars of the variety Co 5:
  • Green fodder yield t/ha–18 to 20
  • Dry matter content (%)–14.64 • Crude protein content (%)–20.00
  • Plant height (cm)— 93.00
  • No. of branches—- 2-3
  • No. of leaves—-12
  • Leaf length (cm)—12.1
  • Leaf width (cm)—8.2
  • Leaf stem ratio—8.3
  • Plant Habit– Semi spreading
  • Plant type—Indeterminate

(2) Desmanthus

  • Desmanthus is a perennial crop.
  • It is grow throughout the year under irrigation and during June – October as a rainfed crop.
  • Sow the seeds at 20 kg/ha in solid stand on the side of the ridges over the lines where fertilizers are applied at a depth of 2 cm and cover with soil.
  • Irrigate immediately after sowing, life irrigation on the third day and thereafter once in a week.
  • First cut on 90th day after sowing at 50 cm height and subsequent cuts at intervals of 40 days at the same height.
  • Green fodder yield is 80-100 t/ha/year.

(3) Lucerne

  • Lucerne is also termed `Queen of forages’.
  • It is a deep rooted perennial forage legume adapted to a wide range of conditions ranging from tropical to alpine.
  • It is very palatable and nutritious forage legume containing 15 – 20% crude protein on dry matter basis
  • Lucerne adds nitrogen to soil and improves soil fertility.
  • It is grown for green fodder, hay, silage but does not tolerate close grazing.
  • Varieties include Anand 2, Sirsa – 9, IGFRI S – 244, and Co 1.
  • Variety Co1 is suitable for growing during July – December.
  • Not suitable for very hot and very cold climates.
  • Recommended seed rate –20 kg/ha.
  • First harvest 75 – 80 days after sowing.

Subsequent harvests are made at intervals of 25 – 30 days.

Characters of Variety Co 1:

  • Green fodder yield (t/ha/year)- 70-80 (In 10 harvests)
  • Seed yield (kg/ha)- 200 -250
  • Protein content (%)- 20 – 24
  • Dry matter (%)- 18 – 20
  • Plant height (cm)- 60 – 80
  • Mean clusters per tiller- 12 – 15
  • Mean No. of pods per tiller- 22 – 25
  • Mean No. of seeds per pod- 4 -6 (4) Stylo
  • Stylo is an erect growing perennial forage legume native of Brazil.
  • It grows 0.6 to 1.8 m tall.
  • Stylo is adapted to tropical climate and tolerant to low fertility soils acidic soils and soils with poor drainage.
  • Stylos are drought resistant legumes coming up well in areas receiving a minimum rainfall of 450 – 840 mm annually.
  • The crude protein content of stylos ranges from 15 to 18%.
  • Season is June – July to September – October.
  • For line sowing (30 x 15 cm), the seed rate is 6 kg/ha and for broadcasting 10 kg/ha.
  • First harvest can be taken 75 days after sowing at flowering stage and subsequent harvests depending upon the growth.
  • It is to be noted that during the first year, the establishment after sowing is very slow and the yield is low.
  • Later on when the crop establishes well due to self seeding it yields 30 to 35 t/ha/year from the third year onwards.
  • Stylo is a good pasture legume.


(1) Maize

  • Maize is an annual crop.
  • It is grown on a variety of soils, but well drained fertile soils are best suited.
  • Maize is mostly grown as KHARIF crop i.e. sowing in June – July. In south India it makes best growth in RABI and also in SUMMER.
  • It can be grown throughout the year with irrigation facility.
  • African tall, Vijay composite, Moti composite, Ganga – 5 and Jawahar are some important fodder varieties.
  • Maintain a seed rate of 40 kg/ha and dibble one seed to a spacing of 15cm between the seeds in the row which are 30 cm apart.
  • The average green fodder yield is 40-50 t/ha and the dry matter yield is 10-15 t/ha.
  • Staggered sowing is recommended for supply of green fodder for a long period.
  • Harvest the crop when the cob is in the milky stage.

(2) Sorghum

  • It is cultivated mainly for grain and also for fodder.
  • Sorghum is a drought resistant annual crop.
  • It thrives in tropical climate with a temperature range of 25-35oC.
  • It is not suited to higher elevations (more than 1200 m).
  • It can be grown under an annual rainfall of 300-350 mm.
  • It can be grown on any soil except on very sandy soils.
  • Suitable varieties for Irrigated (Jan – Feb and Apr – May) are Co.11, Co. 27, Co.F.S. 29
  • Suitable varieties for Rainfed conditions (Jun – Jul) are Co.11, Co27, Co.F.S.29
  • Suitable varieties for Rainfed (Sep – Oct) are K7, Co.27, Co.F.S. 29,K 10
  • Co.F.S. 29 is a multicut variety and released by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University during 2001. It is cross between TNFS 9602 and Sudan grass.
  • Seed rate is 40 kg/ha (only 12.5 kg/ha for Co.F.S. 29).
  • Sorghum can be harvested after flowering stage for green fodder.
  • If it is a single cut, it should be harvested at 60-65 days (50% flowering) after sowing and if it is a multicut, the first cut is 60 days after sowing and subsequently oncein 40 days.
  • For Co. F.S. 29, each harvest has to be done at 65 days interval (5 harvests in a year).


 (1) Hybrid Napier

  • This is a perennial grass fodder.
  • It possesses more tillers and leaves than Napier grass and is more vigorous and higher in fodder yield and quality.
  • Crude protein ranges from 8 to 11%.
  • Co.CN4 is a recent hybrid Napier grass released by TNAU, Coimbatore, which is a cross between Cumbu Co.8 and Napier grass F.T.461. Yield range is 380-400 tons/ha. It produces more tillers with soft and juicy stem, free from pest and diseases and non-lodging. It can be cultivated throughout the year under irrigated conditions.
  • KKM-1 Cumbu Napier: This is a hybrid grass that gives average green fodder yield of 288 tonnes per ha per year. The quality is good with high calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and very low oxalate content.
  • Pusa Giant, NB 21, NB 37, IGFRI 5, IGFRI 7 and IGFRI 10 (developed from Indian Grassland Research Institute, Jhansi) are superior hybrids developed in India. • Co1, Co2 and Co3 are also superior varieties released from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. These varieties are suitable for growing throughout the year in all districts of Tamil Nadu.
  • 40,000 slips are required to plant one hectare.
  • First harvest is to be done on 75 to 80 days after planting and subsequent harvests at intervals of 45 days.
  • HN grass can be intercropped with Desmanthus at 3:1 ratio and can be harvested together and fed to the animals.

(2) Guinea Grass

  • It is a tall (1-4.5 m), tufted and fast growing highly palatable perennial grass.
  • It has short creeping rhizome.
  • Establishes readily by seed or plantation of rooted slips.
  • Crude protein ranges from 4 to 14%.
  • Hamil, PPG -14, Makuni, Rivers-dale are some of the varieties.
  • Co1 and Co 2 are varieties of guinea grass released by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. • Suitable for all types of soil with good drainage.
  • Does not come up well on heavy clay soil or flooded or waterlogged conditions.
  • Seed Rate: Seed 2.5 kg/ha , Slips 66,000 nos./ha
  • Spacing: 50 x 30 cm.
  • First cut 75- 80 days after germination or 45 days after planting of slips. Subsequent cuts at intervals of 45 days.
  • Green fodder yield is 175 tonnes /ha per year in 8 cuts.
  • Guinea grass can be intercropped with Hedge Lucerne (Velimasal) at 3:1 ratio and can be harvested together and fed to the animals

(3) Para Grass

  • It is a perennial grass suitable for cultivation in humid areas.
  • It is grown in seasonally flooded valleys and lowlands and can withstand water logging and long term flooding.
  • It cannot grow on dry lands in arid or semi – arid areas.
  • It is sensitive to cold and makes little or no growth during winter months in sub-tropical regions of India. • Water logged soils are best suited for this crop.
  • It can be grown on sandy soils also, provided water supply is sufficient.
  • Seed setting is very poor in this grass. It is propagated exclusively by stem cuttings.
  • It can be planted at any time in South Indian conditions, but June – July planting is advisable under rainfed.
  • There are no improved varieties of this grass (only local).
  • Thin shoots are used as planting material. Stems with 2-3 nodes are planted in 45-60 cm rows at 20 cm spacing. The stems are pressed into wet soil leaving the two ends sticking up.
  • 800-1000 kg of stem cuttings are needed for planting one hectare.
  • The first cut is taken 75-80 days after planting and the subsequent cuts at 40-45 days interval. Totally, 6-9 cuts can be taken in a year with an average green fodder yield of 80-100 t/ha.
  • This grass is fed in the green form and is not suitable for conservation either as hay or as silage.

(4) Blue Buffle Grass

  • This is a perennial grass highly suitable for pasture land.
  • Cenchrus is a promising green grass type which performs well in dryland cultivation under rainfed conditions.
  • Cenchrus cilliaris (Anjan grass) and C. setigerus (Black anjan grass) are the two commonly grown species but low yielding in nature.
  • C. glaucus is yet another type found to grow well in dry land areas but superior than the other species.
  • Well drained soil with high calcium content is suitable.
  • Seed required is 6-8 kg/ha.
  • First harvest on 70th or 75th days after sowing and subsequently 4-6 cuts depending on growth.
  • A pure crop yields 40 t/ha/year in 4-6 cuts


(1) Subabule

  • This is fast spreading fodder tree which produces enormous seeds.
  • Suitable season for sowing is June-July.
  • Varieties- Hawaiian giant (lvory coast) and Co1.
  • Rainfed: (Sep – Oct) K 8, Giant lpil – lpil and Co 1.
  • Plants can be harvested in as early as 6 months after planting. However, the initial cutting should not be done until the trunk has attained at least 3 cm diameter or the plant has completed one seed production cycle.
  • Harvests can be repeated once in 40 – 80 days depending upon growth and season. • In drought prone areas, allow the trees to grow for two years to ensure deep root penetration before commencing harvest.
  • The trees can be cut at 90 to 100 cm height from ground level.
  • As green fodder under irrigated conditions, a pure crop yields about 80 to 100 t/ha of green fodder.
  • Under rainfed conditions 40 t/ha of green fodder is got after 2 years of initial growth and pruning to a height of 100 cm

(2) Glyricidia

  • It is a small, semi-deciduous tree with pale bark.
  • Glyricidia sepium and Glyricidia maculata are the two species available.
  • G. maculata is more useful as green leaf manure. It also fixes atmospheric nitrogen and thereby improves soil fertility.
  • G. sepium tolerates a wide range of climatic and edaphic conditions. Growth is most rapid in regions where annual rainfall exceeds 900 mm, but it will grow where rainfall is as low as 400 mm per annum.
  • It grows in soils ranging from heavy clays to sands and on rocky eroded sites; however, it is intolerant of water logging.
  • The plant is used for fuel wood, animal feed, green manure, shade, poles, and living fences and as support plants.
  • Used as an ornamental and as a shade tree for coffee.
  • Propagated through seed or cuttings.
  • It is able to produce profuse branching and fresh growth after every cutting.
  • If cultivated along the border in one heactare, it will supply enough green leaf manure for 2 to 2.5 hectares of land.

(3) Sesbania

  • The leaves of Sesbania trees are highly palatable and mostly liked by goats.
  • The protein content in this is about 25%.
  • Grown throughout the year under irrigation.
  • Comes up in soils with good drainage.
  • Seed rate is 7.5 kg /ha, sow the seeds at a spacing of 100 cm x 100 cm (100 cm between ridges and 100 cm between plants within the ridge).
  • First cut after 8 months and subsequent harvests at an interval of 60-80 days.
  • Green fodder yield of 100 tones per year is obtained from one hectare.



Single row system

In single row system, 12-16 numbers of animals can be kept.

Double row system

  • If it is greater than 16, then double row system is preferable.
  • In double row system up to 50 animals can be maintained in a single shed.
  • The distance between two sheds should be greater than 30 feet or it should be twice the height of the building.

Tail to tail system


  • Cleaning and milking of animals easy.
  • Supervision of milking also easy.
  • Less chance for transmission of diseases from animal to animal.
  • Animals can get more fresh air from outside.
  • This system is more labour friendly system.

Head to head system


  • Getting animals into the shed is easy.
  • Feeding of animals also easy.
  • Disinfection of gutter will be more due to the direct fall of sunrays over the gutter.
  • Animals are better exhibited to visitors


  • Milking supervision is difficult.
  • Possibilities of transmission of disease are more.
  • Not labour friendly.


  • This is a barn where milch animals are milked and is fully covered.
  • It should be located at the centre of the farm with all other farm buildings arranged around it.
  • There shall be an individual standing in the milking barns and the number of standings required should be 25% of total number of milch animals in the herd.
  • The milking operation should be carried out in batches.

Dimensions of milking barn

  • Length of standing space : 1.5 – 1.7 m
  • Width of standing space : 1.05 – 1.2m (80% of length, of standing space)
  • Width of central passage : 1.5 – 1.8 m
  • Width of feed alley : 0.75 m • Width of gutter : 0.30 m
  • Overhang : 0.75 m

Down calver shed/ calving pen

  • Pregnant animals are transferred to a calving pen 2 to 3 weeks before the expected date of calving.
  • Calving pen of 3m x 4m (12 m2) is essential to keep the animals in advanced stage of pregnancy.
  • It should be located nearer to the farmer’s quarters for better supervision.
  • The number of calving pens required is 10% of the number of total breedable female stock in the farm.

Calf pen

  • This is meant for housing young calves separately.
  • It can be located either at the end or on the side of the milking barn.
  • This facilitates taking calves to their dams quickly.
  • If there are large numbers of calves, the separate unit of calf shed should be arranged and located nearer to the milking barn.

Young stock/ heifer shed

  • It is meant for housing young heifers separately.
  • Older heifers calves from about six months of age to breeding age are to be housed separately from the suckling calves.
  • When a large number of young stocks are there, they should be divided into different age groups and each group housed separately to facilitate scientific feeding.

Dry animal shed

  • In large farms, milch and dry cows are housed separately.
  • The floor in the covered area should preferably be made of cement concrete.
  • Under Indian conditions, in smaller farms, milch and dry animals can be housed together.
  • Normally, one third of the animals in a farm will be in dry or in dry cum pregnant stage.

Bull shed

  • It is meant for housing bulls separately in a farm.
  • It should be constructed towards one end of the farm.
  • There shall be one shed for each bull.
  • The number of bulls required being one for every 50 breedable females on the farm, if natural breeding is practiced.
  • When artificial insemination service facilities are available, no necessary to keep the bulls on the farm.
  • The bull shed shall have covered 3×4 metre dimensions, leading into a paddock of 120 square metres.
  • The bull sheds shall be located in such a way that the bulls are able to see the cows and hear their sounds

Isolation shed

  • It is the separation of sick animals from apparently healthy animals to avoid transmission of diseases to healthy stock.
  • It should be located at the corner of the shed so that these sheds are inaccessible to other animals.

Quarantine shed

  • It should be located at the entrance of the farm.
  • The newly purchased animals entering into the farm should be kept in quarantine shed for a minimum period of 30 to 40 days to watch out for any disease occurrence.


Lean to type roof

  • These are simple roof with single slope adopted for shed type of buildings.
  • Roof ventilation cannot be provided in this pattern.
  • In this type of roof one wall is higher than another one to give necessary slope for roof.

Gothic arch

  • This is an arched roof providing greater roof space used for store houses.
  • Used for storage of feed.

Monitor roof

  • The roof has two slopes, but one overlaps other at the ridge of the roof with a ventilation gap of one feet.
  • In this roof ventilation can be provided in between two slopes.
  • This is also suitable for tropical buildings and it serves the purposes of ventilating and lighting the building.
  • Semi monitor roof : Roof has 2 slopes but one overlap the other at the ridge of roof with ventilating gap of 1 feet.

Gable roof

  • These are coupled roof with two slopes.
  • Roof ventilation can be provided in this pattern.

Roofing materials

  • They are cheap and easily available in most of the places.
  • It conducts heat rapidly.
  • It is suitable for hot climate.
  • Wind or accident easily damages them.
  • It has to be renewed periodically.
  • These are rectangular tiles with grooves on outer surface and two nibs on the inner surface.
  • They are lied one at the side of the other to cover the roof.

Country tiles

  • They are cheap and easily available in most of the places.
  • They conduct less heat.
  • These are semi-circular tiles of different shape and dimensions.
  • They are used by keeping one over other in layers forming numerous air pockets acting as insulators.

Asbestos sheet

  • These are commonly used in animal buildings.
  • Asbestos sheets are prepared by mixing cement mixture with varying quantities of vegetable fibers.
  • They are available as sheets of different dimensions with corrugated surfaces.
  • Sheets are easily fixed to roof trusses and more durable than tiles.
  • But the houses under this roof will be hotter during summer.

Aluminum Sheets

  • Corrugated aluminum sheets of different thickness and dimensions are available in the market as roof coverings.They are 2 ½ feet width and varying length from 8 to 12 feet. They are very light and can be easily fixed.
  • The bright and polished surface of new sheets provides a reflective insulation and keeps the animal houses cool during summer.They are expensive but have a greater resale value.
  • They are rust proof and therefore they are more durable.They shall be painted black inside and white outside to facilitate better microenvironment inside the animal building.

Galvanized iron sheets

These are iron sheets, which are galvanized on the surface and provided with corrugation.

  • They are available in standard dimension of 6 feet x 3 feet.
  • Galvanized sheets are commonly used in animal houses but this sheet keeps the house very hot during summer.
  • It is suggested that sheet should be painted white on outer side to avoid absorption of heat.
  • They are strong and may be rusted after long use.

Thatched Roof

  • This roof is made of either coconut or Palmyra leaves.
  • Sometimes hay and straw are used as roof coverings.
  • They are cheap and poor conductors of heat.
  • They keep the house cool in summer.
  • They are non-durable and has to be removed yearly or oncein two year.
  • They are very prone for fire accident.

Reinforced Cement Concrete

  • This roofing material made up of mixture of cement, sand, small cresor stones with iron rods to make solid concrete.
  • This is very strong and more durable.
  • This material reduces heat inside the animal shed.
  • It costs more expensive than other materials.


Solid floor

  • It is a common floor with solid surface made out of different materials such as cement concrete, vitrified paving brick, building brick, stones and gravel.
  • Such solid floors should be laid properly for good drainage.
  • A slope of 1/40 is desirable in animal standing and a slope of 1/60 is desirable towards the dung channel.
  • Even in surface with impervious quality is necessary to prevent water stagnation.
  • In this type proper cleaning and disinfection are essential to control diseases.

Deep litter floor

  • It is made of bedding material as dried layers.
  • Straw, paddy husk, saw dust groundnut hulls, dried leaves are spread on the floor used as litter materials.
  • It can be spread as layer of 4-6 inches thickness and can be allowed to accumulate over a period of a month to 1 year.
  • The litter get mixed with excreta and decomposed.
  • The dried litter materials absorb the moisture. Hence bacterial activity is controlled.
  • Excessive bacterial action in the deep litter is kept controlled by addition of lime


Proper selection is the first and the most important step to be adopted in dairying. Records are the basis of selection and hence proper identification of animals and record keeping is essential. Cross-breed animals with exotic inheritance of about 50 percent are preferable. This preference is based on comparison of the performance of the animals with different percentage of exotic inheritance. Fifty percent of the native germplasm is helpful to retain the adaptability, heat tolerance and disease resistance traits of local animals, in cross breeds. The utilization of the Zebu (Sahiwal) germplasm in the formation of breeds like Australian Friesian Sahiwal (50% of Holstein and 50% Sahiwal) and its international recognition as a breed for the tropics is an example. Maintaining animals sustainable to the situation is the best policy. Bringing animals from different agro-climatic conditions causes problems due to non-adjustment in many cases. In case, purchase becomes absolutely essential it should be from similar environmental conditions as far as possible.


Selection of dairy cows

Selecting a calf in calf show, a cow in cattle show by judging is an art. A dairy farmer should build up his own herd by breeding his own herd. Following guidelines will be useful for selection of a diary cow.

  • whenever an animal is purchased from a cattle fair, it should be selected based upon its breed characters and milk producing ability
  • History sheet or pedigree sheet which are generally maintained in organized farms reveals the complete history of animal
  • The maximum yields by dairy cows are noticed during the first five lactations. So generally selection should be carried out during First or Second lactation and that too are month after calving.
  • There successive complete milking has to be done and an average of it will give a fair idea regarding production by a particular animal.
  • A cow should allow anybody to milk, and should be docile.
  • It is better to purchase the animals during the months of October and November.
  • Maximum yield is noticed till 90 days after calving. Breed characteristics of high yielding dairy cows
  • Attractive individuality with feminity, vigour, harmonious blending of all parts, impressive style and carriage
  • Animal should have wedge shaped appearance of the body
  • It should have bright eyes with lean neck
  • The udder should be well attached to the abdomen
  • The skin of the udder should have a good network of blood vessels
  • All four quarters of the udder should be well demarcated with well placed teats