Monday, December 9, 2013

Fodder Security : Maize Cultivation

At Savera Farms, we currently produce a large part of our fresh fodder needs for our goat operations. However, there are additional ingredients in the goat feed which are critical as well. In general, goats require energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber (bulk) and water. In our case, of meat goats, calorie intake is an important and usually the most limiting nutrient. For meat production, goats have to be able to gain lean fat. Similarly, any deficiencies, excesses and imbalances of vitamins and minerals can limit animal growth, lead to health problems and result in wasteful feeding expenses.

Multiple factors affect nutritional requirements of goats: maintenance, growth, pregnancy, lactation, fiber production, activity and environment. As a general rule of thumb, goats consume at least 3% of their body weight in dry matter feed. The exact percentage varies according to the size (weight) of the goat, with younger animals needing a higher percentage intake during the growth phase. Environmental conditions also affect maintenance requirements. During cooler (or wet) months, we noticed that goats require more feed to maintain body heat. The added stresses of pregnancy, lactation and growth further increase nutrient requirements as well.

Keeping in mind our growing demand for quality goat feed, we planted a few acres of Maize in hopes of reducing per unit feeding cost. The crop has been in the ground for a few weeks and has started to show signs of life. Gap filling was performed after 15 days of initial sowing. Estimated germination rate is about 80% based on the seed dispersal method used. Given we have no prior experience with Maize, we are eager to see how this crop performs.


We are drip irrigating the crop twice a week for about 45 min. To further minimize cultivation cost, we are not using any fertilizers. Flyash was used in small quantities during soil preparation and it seems that it was a wise choice.


We expect our goat feed demands to continue rising as our initial herd has now stabilized and we plan to continue growing it in size. Current suppliers of goat feed or ingredients like Maize (powder form) can reach out if interested in working with us. Partnering with experienced producers allows us to focus on our core activities and we can outsource other tasks for additional job / employment opportunities in an already stressed industry.

11 comments:

  1. Hi
    What is the space between rows?. Looks in pic, the space between rows are more then a feet which will cause the dia of the each crop will increase; Have to harvest ASAP , other wise goat/cow will not take.

    --Bala.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Bala. However I am not sure I understand why the crop diameter would matter if we plan to feed them maize grain (powder)? Maybe you are recommending using maize plants (stalks) as part of fresh green fodder..

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    2. If distance b/w plant is more stem thickness increases and wastage of more fodder.
      Its ok for maize grain production. 25 to 30 kg/acre seed for fodder production and 2-3 g/acre for grain production.
      I will suggest feeding maize grain as such and not as power.
      Dr Arun BE, BVSc, MVSc(Animal Nutrition)

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    3. Thanks for the feedback..We will probably end up feeding it as green fodder due to ease of operations.

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  2. bro, pls explore own formulation. I understand any compound feed has only 50-60% corn, rest have soyabean meal, rice branc, wheat bran or rapeseed meal. mixed with molasus and other vitamin additivies and make own compound feed.

    Corn fiber (Busa) or corn powder is freely available in market I think retail price aprx Rs 15?

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    1. You are correct about the availability and price of corn powder. Our goal is to reduce landed cost at our farm of maize powder to less that Rs10.

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  3. Hello - did you encounter any problem from wild boar's or wild pigs eating the newly planted corn?
    I have tried growing maize for stall fed sheep rearing - each time i planted maize, there would be wild boars eating up all the freshly planted corn.
    Also - are you planning to use the sillage concept to store the fodder? What about protin? how are you providing the protin suppliments?

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  4. We do not have wild boars in our area but I do feel pea cocks were responsible for a lower germination rate in bajra. We are giving it fresh for now. Protein is being given via Agathi and Subabul leaves.

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  5. Seed balls (Fukoka method) may be used next time for Bajra seed dispersal. Protects from bird feeding on the seeds dispersed naked.

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  6. nice blog !! i was looking for blogs related of animal feed suppliers . then i found this blog, this is really nice and interested to read. thanks to author for sharing this type of information.

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  7. Very good information and thanks for posting this here! Please keep sharing this kind of information in future as well.

    Maize cultivation – onfarming.com

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