Economics of Fodder Cultivation in Punjab and Haryana

Aniketa Horo1,*, J.M. Singh1
1Department of Economics and Sociology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141 004, Punjab, India.
Background: Fodder cultivation has direct bearings on the production of milk  by the dairy animals as it forms a major part of rearing cost incurred for milch animals. Several studies have pointed out the benefits of fodder cultivation, but the area under fodder cultivation is quite low; and its limited supply is hindering the milk productivity. Hence, the present study was undertaken to estimate the economics of fodder cultivation of kharif and rabi season in Punjab and Haryana as these two states have highest per capita milk availability in India.

Methods: Primary data on fodder cultivation was recorded for the year 2019-20. A sample of 100 respondents were interviewed from Punjab (Patiala, Bhatinda, Amritsar and Ludhiana districts) and 100 were selected from Haryana (Hisar, Karnal, Kaithal and Panipat districts). Simple arithmetic mean and percentages were used in the study.

Result: The output-input ratio for kharif and rabi fodder in Punjab and Haryana were found to be of 1.52 to 1.64 and 3.61 to 4.12. Since, majority of the farmers in these states follow crop and dairy farming system, due consideration should be provided to fodder cultivation as well.
Fodder cultivation is undertaken to solely supplement the milch animals reared by the farmers. The productivity of milch breeds is heavily dependent upon the feed and fodder fed to them and in our country milk yield is in the lower end. Fodder deficiency in our country is to the tune of 36 per cent as it is grown in only 4.4 per cent of the total cultivable land (IGFRI, 2022). Nation-wide average deficit in green and dry fodder were also reported as 62.76 per cent and 23.46 per cent, respectively (Grover and Kumar, 2012). Several states have common property resources (CPR) for meeting the fodder requirements through grazing, but in Punjab and Haryana, animals are generally stall-fed due to disappearance of these grazing grounds (Sharma, 2017). Even for the states of Punjab and Haryana with highest milk availability of 1222 g/day and 1005 g/day, respectively, average milk yield was found to be of around 9-12 litres/day for buffalo and crossbred cow while the indigenous cow yields no more than 6 litres/day (Kalra et al., 1995; Singh, 2012; Singh, 2018; Singh and Kaur, 2020; Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 2021; Statistical Abstract of Haryana, 2020-21). There is currently a net deficiency of 35.60 per cent green fodder, 10.95 per cent dry fodder and 44.00 per cent concentrate feed materials in the country (IGFRI, 2015). However, for the states of Punjab and Haryana, the status of fodder has been reported as surplus for green fodder and dry fodder by 133.05 per cent and 31.70 per cent, respectively (Roy et al., 2019). Various studies have also concluded that feed and fodder form a major cost component for milk production (Aitawade et al., 2005; Mahajan and Chauhan, 2011; Khoveio et al., 2012; Bardhan et al., 2019; Singh and Kaur, 2020; Kaur et al., 2022). Hence, the present study was undertaken to estimate the fodder availability in the states of Punjab and Haryana, since more than 85 per cent of the farms practiced crop and dairy farming system in the study area. Diversification of irrigated area paddy-wheat crop towards green fodder crops can also improve the output value and the efficiency of groundwater use in Punjab (Kumar et al., 2019). Currently, only a small portion of landholding i.e. 8 per cent of the total cultivatable land is dedicated towards the cultivation of fodder, therefore the farms were unable to fulfil the annual fodder demand of the milch animals and is met by the purchasing from market (Sharma, 2017). Apart from direct consumption of milk, the inhabitants of these two states also relish other dairy products like ghee, curd, sweets, lassi, etc.
Primary data from 200 farmers on cost and returns from fodder cultivation was collected using an interview schedule for 2019-20. The selected districts were Amritsar, Ludhiana, Bhatinda and Patiala from Punjab; and Karnal, Hisar, Kaithal and Hisar from Haryana. A sample of 100 dairy farmers from each state were selected and the data thus obtained through interview was tabulated. Simple arithmetic means and percentages were used in the present study for calculation of cost and returns associated with fodder cultivation in Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.
Table 1 discusses the economics of the fodder production in both kharif and rabi seasons for the state of Punjab and Haryana. Fodder crops cultivated during kharif season were observed to be sorghum, bajra and maize while for rabi season berseem was cultivated extensively as it provides multiple cuttings, making it more suitable for feeding cattle. Wherein it was quite evident that human labour dominates the cost components by having a share of more than 40 per cent during both the seasons in Punjab as well as Haryana. It was observed that area under kharif fodder was almost double than the area under rabi fodder. Berseem (3.61 to 4.21) provides multiple cuttings, thus its output-input ratio was found to be twice the kharif fodder (1.52 to 1.64), indicating higher returns per unit of investment. The research findings were in resonance with the past studies of Grover and Kumar (2012) and Grover and Kumar (2013). The average herd size was found to be of 12.57 (Nos) for Punjab and 9.81 (Nos) for Haryana. As per the recommendations of DAHD, the average daily fodder requirement of an adult milch animal stands at 30 kgs of green fodder and 6 kgs of dry fodder; and the current fodder supply from the owned farm lands of Punjab (1590.75 q) and Haryana (1582.06 q) were able to meet the annual green fodder requirements of the milch animals. However, lower availability of dry fodder in the study area was forcing the farmers to buy it from market at higher prices. Hence, emphasis is being given on enhancing the productivity of cultivated fodder resources; fodder production through horti-pasture and silvi-pasture systems; fodder on non-competitive lands; alternative fodder resources like moringa and azolla, etc; crop residue quality enhancement; fodder conservation technologies like hay, bales, silage and feed blocks; custom hiring centres for machineries facilitating fodder production; fodder seed requirement and supply and contingent fodder planning and fodder conservation technologies (IGFRI, 2022).

Table 1: Cost of cultivation of fodder during kharif and rabi seasons in Punjab and Haryana. (₹. per ha)

The fodder cultivation despite proving to be profitable for the farmers is carried out in a very limited space and owing to this reason farmers were able to meet round the year green fodder requirements  but not the dry fodder requirements in Punjab and Haryana. Apart from low per cent of area under fodder crops, fodder availability faces many constraints like, lack of high yielding fodder varieties and quality seeds, increase in mechanical harvesting, changing crop pattern for cash crops, poor management of CPRs, low investment in fodder production, lack of post-harvest management, etc. It was also evident that fodder cultivation during rabi season was more beneficial than the kharif fodder, reason being that the former was providing multiple cuts with utilization of lesser resources for both the states. However, the overall B:C ratio of Punjab was observed to be better than that of the Haryana, therefore, larger area was devoted under the cultivation of fodder in Punjab in comparison to that of Haryana. Research and development in livestock sector in the study area will be highly impacted by the research and development of fodder crops as they go hand in hand. Efforts should be made towards increasing the area under fodder cultivation which will in turn help in overcoming the fodder deficiency in these two states as well the whole country.
The author acknowledges the Senior Research Fellowship grant of Indian Council of Agricultural Research for carrying out the research during PhD programme. They also acknowledge the infrastructure provided by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana for carrying out the current research.

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