Makki ka achar is rising as a substitute fodder to fulfill the dietary necessities of cattle in Punjab. Farmers minimize the inexperienced maize crop to ferment it into this particular feed, which isn’t solely good for his or her animals’ well being but additionally simple on their very own pockets.
In Punjab, maize is sown primarily in Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Patiala, Ludhiana, SAS Nagar and Fatehgarh Sahib districts. In latest years, farmers of Bathinda in Malwa area, Mansa, Barnala, Firozpur, Moga, Muktsar, Sangrur and Fazilka districts have taken it up.
“Silage is made using maize in milk-forming stage. This keeps all the nutritious elements of green fodder intact. Besides securing animal health, silage increases milk yield. Not just that, the milk produced contains more fat. All these factors make silage increasingly popular, ” Dr Rajdeep Singh, Deputy Director, Department of Animal Husbandry, Bathinda, tells 101Reporters.
Farmer Mewa Singh (35) from Burj Mansa village in Bathinda district sowed maize in his 4 bighas of land the final two years to tide over poor wheat yield. “I sow maize only to make silage. I have been feeding straw and silage to my animals for two years. There is no need to purchase wheat flour, animal feed and grains for them, ” he attests.
Nirmal Singh (27) from Chhoti Baho tells 101Reporters that he needed to spend Rs 350 per day on a milch animal to purchase wheat, oil cake, inexperienced fodder and straw. All that has modified as a result of he now feeds solely oil cake and silage. “Around Rs 10, 000 is spent on making silage per acre, which includes employing a machine to sow maize, diesel for tractor, fertiliser, pesticides, labour charges, harvest charges of maize chopper and rent for the machine that grinds maize into fodder. Yet, silage costs us only Rs 2 per kg.”
Dr Hasan Singh, Chief Agriculture Officer, Bathinda, tells 101Reporters that farmers in Malwa belt didn’t develop maize earlier. “At present, they feed silage to their animals and sell the rest to landless cattle herders. Selling standing maize crops to silage-making entrepreneurs is another source of income.” Farmers promote silage for Rs 400 per quintal, whereas factories promote for Rs 600 per bale. By promoting standing crops to entrepreneurs, Rs 45, 000 to 50, 000 per acre may be obtained.
“Silage has been prepared in Punjab for many years, but farmers started sowing maize in large tracts only in the last two to three years after adverse weather affected wheat crop and fanned shortage of traditional fodder. In 2022, maize was sown in about 8, 000 hectares in Bathinda district; it was 10, 000 hectares last year. Now farmers in all districts of Malwa region have started sowing it, ” he particulars.
“We sow maize when the fields remain empty from mid-April to July after harvesting rabi crop (November to early April), ” informs Bhagwant Singh from Dalel Singh Wala in Mansa district. After wheat harvest, fields used to stay empty for 2 months till paddy was sown. Now, cultivation of maize is carried out at the moment.
“Maize crop for silage is ready in about two-and-a-quarter months. We grind the cut green crop using a machine. Then it is crushed by a tractor and buried in a deep pit on the ground. To prevent contact with water and air, we cover it well with a tarpaulin or polythene and seal it. Silage will be ready in about 40 days. If it is protected from air and water, it does not spoil for two years, ” Bhagwant explains. Silage will develop mould if uncovered to air or water.
Bhagwant has 12 large milch animals and a few small animals. The silage he produces from the maize grown in 12 bighas of land is sufficient for his animals for the entire 12 months. In brief, silage from one bigha crop can feed an animal for a complete 12 months!
“I mix silage in toodi (straw) and feed them. Now I do not have to give wheat and fodder because silage is a mixture of green fodder and maize grains. Now the consumption of toodi is also down by half. No need to buy wheat flour and oil cake, too. Due to silage, my expenses on animal husbandry have come down by half, ” Bhagwant provides.
Tara Singh Sappal, a cattle herder from Tiona in Bathinda, has 9 buffaloes and 4 cows. He has been feeding them silage for 2 years. “When green fodder is not available, silage compensates for it. Animals relish it. They remain healthy also. Even in summer, silage consumption helps me get sufficient quantities of milk on a regular basis. The amount of fat in milk also increases.”
Sappal says he has been getting silage at Rs 400 per quintal from a farmer within the village. “I mix it in straw and feed my animals.”
Raja Singh from Bhamme Kalan in Mansa district says there’s a enormous scarcity of inexperienced fodder in May, June, November and December. Makki ka achar fulfils the deficiency then. Many farmers right here develop maize and make silage. So, there is no such thing as a fodder scarcity all year long.
“Preparing silage does not cost much. In contrast, green fodder has to be grown in the field and has to be cut and brought daily. Farmers have become free from the daily labour of harvesting fodder from the field and grinding it with machines. As opposed to cutting fodder daily, he prepares and stores the silage for a longer period, ” says Dr Hasan, throwing mild on the opposite advantages.
On the rising recognition of silage, Hasan says, “Many silage-based industries are flourishing. They promote their product throughout Punjab and outdoors. There are additionally particular machines to make silage.”
Those who’ve introduced the machines costing Rs 3 to 4 lakh function it themselves. Every village has not less than two such machines. “I brought a second-hand machine worth Rs 2.5 lakh last year. In my village, three to four people own such machines. We charge Rs 5, 000 per acre, ” says Mukhtyar Singh (30) of Thedi Ghagga village close to Malout.
The rising use of silage in Punjab has attracted buyers to arrange silage manufacturing items. According to a media report, eight large silage bale-making items and 150 small and medium items are working within the state at current. To arrange a small silage unit, Rs 50 to 60 lakh is required. Medium and huge items price Rs one to 2 crore and Rs 10 crore, respectively. Notwithstanding, buyers are constantly pouring in cash. Rajpura-based Punjab Silage Private Limited is the biggest silage maker within the state. It produces 50, 000 tonnes yearly and has a market presence throughout the nation.
Gurpreet Singh Jassar (24) has arrange a silage manufacturing unit in Dugri village of Rupnagar district. “We set up the unit in our two-acre ancestral property two years ago. It cost us about Rs 1.5 crore. We grow maize on our 40-acre plot and buy the rest from others. The factory employs 18 people throughout the year against the 50 to 100 during the silage-making season (mid-May to mid-August).”
Silage is packed in bales on the manufacturing unit. On common, one bale costing Rs 600 incorporates one quintal of silage. “Besides catering to the domestic demand, we send silage to Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat. The first year’s production was less, but we produced about 40, 000 bales in the second year, ” he says.