ICAR’s Fodder Beet: Lifesaver for livestock in arid zones
It is useful for farmers in arid regions as green fodder for the livestock .
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research's Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, Rajasthan has come up with a new fodder crop, Fodder Beet, a plant that produces tubers of an average weight of 5 to 6 kgs. This is in response to the farmers’ need in arid regions who find it challenging to procure green fodder for the livestock due to the harsh environment in the region.
Fodder Beet has the potential to profitably produce more than 200 tonnes per hectare in four months with poor quality of water as well as soil. It takes less than 50 paise to produce one per kilogram of biomass and the crop has a water use efficiency of 28-32 kg green biomass per cubic metres of water which is quite high. This crop is available extensively throughout the year even between January and April when there is a dip in the availability of other fodder crops.
According to reports, no major diseases and pests have been reported. However, Quinalphos powder (1.5 per cent) at the rate of 25 kg per hectare can be applied before sowing to control soil-borne insects. Feeding trials on Tharparkar cattle have shown 8 to 10 per cent improvement in milk yield.