Importance of Forage crops in Agriculture

  • , by Agriplex India
  • 6 min reading time

Forage crops are those crops that are grown primarily as food for animals. Maize, corn and hay are some fodder crops. The waste material obtained after processing sugar beet is also used as animal feed. Forage crops also known as Fodder crops, are specifically grown to provide food for livestock.

These crops are typically grown for their leaves and stems which are used as animal feed. They are normally fed by the livestock animals by grazing or in the form of harvested hay or silage. The timing of both grazing events and the cutting of hay or silage is critical to ensuring that the quality and quantity of conserved fodder are optimized. 

These crops are grown for their high protein content, digestibility and palatability, which are essential for the health and productivity of livestock. Properly fed animals are less prone to diseases and infections and their milk and meat production can increase significantly.

Hedge Lucerne Seeds

RK Seeds -Hedge Lucerne Seeds - Velimasal Seeds -Grass seeds - Grass for  Sheep,Rabbits, Goat, Cattle,Dairy etc. (Desmanthus virgatus seeds) Pack of  ...Hedge lucerne (Velimasal) – KVK

Hedge Lucerne Seeds is a leguminous forage crop. It contains more protein content (more than 18%). Hedge lucerne can be considered as a nutritious round-the-year available green fodder for ruminants and rabbits.
Seed Rate: 8 kg per Acre.

Sesbania Seeds/ Dhaincha seeds

Dhaincha also called Sesbania bispinosa is generally used as a green manure crop. It can be grown in all seasons having sufficient moisture in soil. It not only improves physical properties but also helps in meeting the nitrogen requirement of succeeding crops. The method of sowing is broadcasting. Incorporate the green matter within 45-60 days after sowing.
Biomass Yield: Dhaincha gives around 10 tons per acre per Year.
Seed Rate: 20 kg per Acre.

Dhaincha Seeds (Sesbania aculeata) - 25 KGDaincha Seeds - Natural Green Manure Seed

Land Preparation - Ploughed land thoroughly before monsoon to bring soil to fine tilth. After ploughing, make soil weed and stubble-free. Then levelled soil properly. Add 3-4 tons/acre of well-decomposed cow dung at time of field preparation.

Harvesting - For green manure purposes bury the crop in soil when the crop is 40-60 days old. For grain purposes crop is ready to harvest from mid-October to early November depending upon the sowing period.

Sunhemp Seeds

Sunhemp Seeds (Crotalaria juncea) - 25 KGSunn Hemp Sunn Seed | Territorial Seed

Quick growing green manure -cum-fibre crop. It is grown in all seasons. Loamy soils are suitable.
The method of sowing is broadcasting. Incorporate the green matter within 45-60 days after sowing.
Biomass Yield: around 6 tons per acre per Year.
Seed Rate: 10 kg per Acre

Alfa Alfa Lucerne Seeds

RK Seeds- Alfalfa seeds- Lucerne seeds - Alfalfa fodder seeds- Grass seeds, alfa  alfa seeds for sprouts, lucerne grass seeds,Medicago sativa seeds - Pack of  100 g : Amazon.in: Garden & OutdoorsAlfalfa, Lucerne - 0.5 kg Seeds

Alfalfa, also called lucerne, is a perennial flowering plant in the legume family Fabaceae. It is cultivated as an important forage crop in many countries around the world. It is used for grazing, hay, and silage, as well as a green manure and cover crop. It is known as the “Queen of Forages”.
Biomass Yield: around 16 tons per acre per Year.
Seed Rate: 8 kg per Acre.

Fodder Sorghum (CoFS – 31)  - 1 KG

Iagrifarm CoFs 31 Fodder Sorghum Seed - 1 Kg - MultiCut for Fodder  CultivatoinFodder Sorghum (CoFS – 31) - 1 KG

Sorghum is cultivated mainly for grain and also for fodder. Sorghum is a drought-resistant annual crop. Sorghum thrives in tropical climates with a temperature range of 25-35 degrees Celsius. It is not suited to higher elevations (more than 1200 m). Sorghum can be grown under an annual rainfall of 300-350 mm.
Biomass Yield: around 100 tons per acre per Year.
Seed Rate: 8 kg per Acre.
Conclution 
In conclusion, fodder seeds are the unsung heroes that launch the cycle of nutritious animal feed. They offer a multitude of benefits beyond just providing food for our livestock. From fostering healthy soil to promoting sustainable farming practices, these tiny powerhouses play a critical role in a well-functioning agricultural system. By selecting the right fodder seeds for their specific needs, farmers can ensure the well-being of their animals while contributing to a more responsible and productive food chain.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the advantages of using fodder seeds over other animal feed options?

Fodder seeds offer several advantages:

Cost-effective: Growing your own animal feed through fodder seeds can be more economical than purchasing pre-made feeds.
  • Nutritional Value: Freshly grown forage crops from fodder seeds are often rich in nutrients and vitamins, promoting better animal health.
  • Sustainability: Many fodder seed varieties require less water and chemicals compared to other feed sources, making them a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Soil health: Forage crops from fodder seeds can improve soil health through nitrogen fixation and erosion control.

2. How do I choose the right fodder seed mix?

Choosing the right fodder seed mix depends on several factors:

  • Livestock type: Different animals have different dietary needs. Consider the age, breed, and nutritional requirements of your animals.
  • Climate: Select seeds that thrive in your local climate conditions, considering factors like temperature, rainfall, and sunlight.
  • Harvesting method: If you plan to graze animals directly, choose fast-growing and palatable varieties. For hay production, prioritize yield and drying properties.

3. Where can I buy fodder seeds?

Fodder seeds can be purchased from agricultural stores, seed companies, and online retailers. It's important to buy from reputable sources to ensure the quality and suitability of the seeds for your needs.

4. How difficult is it to grow forage crops from fodder seeds?

The difficulty of growing forage crops depends on the specific seed type and your existing experience. Generally, it's a relatively straightforward process that requires proper soil preparation, planting techniques, and basic maintenance practices.

5. Are there any additional resources available to learn more about fodder seeds?

Absolutely! There are numerous resources available online and in libraries that provide detailed information on fodder seeds, including:

  • Government agriculture department websites often offer information on recommended forage varieties for your region.
  • Agricultural universities and research institutions frequently publish research papers and extension materials on forage crops and seed selection.
  • Seed company websites often provide detailed information about the specific fodder seed mixes they sell.

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