Nepal is predominantly an agricultural country, people dependant on agriculture with raising household livestock. These livestock cannot be maintained on the fodder produced on arable land alone. In Nepal, agricultural crops are seldom grown specifically for fodder production except in some small areas. Because of increasing pressure of human population and also because of higher income from cereal and cash crops than from forage crops, more agriculture area cannot be set apart for fodder production. In most of the areas, cereal straw and dry grass which are very poor in protein and need to be supplemented with green fodder of high nutritive value, constitute the principal fodder for livestocks. Fodder shrubs/trees as animal feed, particularly during winter and dry period have been the important traditional source of livestock feed especially, in the Middle and Northern Belt of Nepal. Plantation of fodder trees and shrubs are an ecological sound practices, which contributes on soil conservation and maintaining agricultural sustainability. Fodder trees and shrubs play an important role in Nepalese economy. More than 136 different species of trees/shrubs have been used as a source of livestock feed in Nepal. Trees/shrubs are the main source of fodder and bedding material for livestock, fuel-wood for energy needs and, timber for house construction. Traditionally, foliage of fodder tree and shrub has been offered to cattle, buffalo, and goats especially in stall-fed conditions. For example, in high Northern Belt, when, the pasturelands are covered with snow for most of the winter season (5-6 months of a year) and there is a conserved forage deficit, the foliage of trees/shrubs help the requirements of feed for livestock. Fodders and forages are the ultimate source of feed for herbivorous animals. BERSEEM is known as king of fodder and LUCERN as queen of fodder. So they are explained in details below while other major fodders and forages are described in brief.
Scientific Name: Trifolium alexandrium
Berseem is a nutritive, succulent, palatable and digestive winter is fodder which is called king of the fodders, especially in areas where irrigation water is available in plenty. Berseem originated in Egypt and at present it is being cultivated n I in Egypt, Israel, Syria, Persia, Cyprus, Italy, South Africa, South America, Australia, Pakistan and many other European countries. In I 1904, its seeds were imported from Egypt to India and presently it is cultivated in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and some parts of Bihar, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Climate
Berseem crop is very sensitive to the climatic conditions. It does not grow well when there are fluctuations in the climatic temperature or in rainfall. A region with annual rainfall of 300 cm or less rains and assured irrigation, with slight fluctuations in temperature within the range of 15°C is quite suitable for berseem cultivation. Soil
Berseem can grow on all types of soils except very light sandy soil. The soil should be well drained, rich in phosphorus, calcium and potash. It does not grow well on acid soils but grow successfully on alkaline soils having good water retaining capacity. The land should be well leveled and uniform. The crop does not tolerate water logging. It successfully grows in soil with pH 7 to 8. Land Preparation
Plough the land 3 to 4 times with desi plough followed by one soil inversion ploughing. One or two plankings should be done to break all the soil clods. Remove the grass, stubbles particularly doob grass root, as they cause difficulty later on and level the land uniformly. Small sized beds (1/10 or 1/20 of an acre) are finally prepared with ridges before sowing for easy irrigation. In light soils, puddling is necessary to prevent excessive loss of water. Sowing Requirements
Method and time of sowing along with seed treatment and seed ; rate are important factors which...
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Pariyar, D., Banstola, B.R. and Sedhain, G.K. (1996). Fodder and Pasture Research and Development in Nepal. A Review and Synthesis of Its Application for Rehabilitating Degraded Land.
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Class notes of ANU111 by Dr N.R. Devkota
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