Cattle feed-role of mangroves in milk production

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ROLE OF MANGROVES AS CATTLE FEED IN ENHANCING MILK PRODUCTION IN COWS

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of India. Green Revolution has increased the agricultural production. Unfortunately population is increasing not proportional to the food production. Hence we have to increase food production.

Milk production in Kerala (also known as God’s own country, a South Indian state) is not sufficient to meet the needs of the state. We are importing milk from other states. Hence there is a need for increasing the milk production in the state.

Traditional knowledge says that some of the mangrove plants as a feed enhance the production of milk in cows. Hence we made an attempt to study the possible effects of these mangrove plants to enhance the milk production in cows.

At first we conducted a survey among 50 farmers of our locality to find out whether they possessed local variation of cows or hybrid variation, the production of milk and the effect of mangroves plants on milk production of cows. We through experiments analysed the calcium content of the mangrove plants used as cattle feed.

We tried to find out whether, mangrove plants as a cattle feed increase milk production in cows. We also studied prooning effect on mangrove plants used as cattle feed.

From the survey we found that 66.67% of the cows reared were local varieties. Local varieties of cows produced 5 to 8 litres of milk, while the hybrid varieties produced 6 to 13 litres of milk per day. We also noticed that there was an increase of ½ litre milk when the cows are given mangrove plants as feed.

We could identify a species of mangrove plants in our locality. Among them Avicennia officinalis, and Sonneratia caseolaris were used by the local people as cattle feed.

Our experimental study on prooning effect showed clearly that prooning will not affect the growth of the mangrove plants badly. Instead they showed rapid and increased growth.

We identified two problems: They are

(1) milk production in Kerala is not sufficient to meet the needs of the state and

(2) mangroves are disappearing alarmingly owing to anthropogenic activities.

Hence we suggest the following measures:

1. Mangroves are to be protected and conserved. Efforts are to be made to plant mangroves in suitable areas.

2. Some of the mangroves are found to increase the milk production in cows. Efforts are to be made to cultivate them. Agriculturists must be made aware of the capacity of certain mangroves plants to augment milk production.

© 2009 dinkan53

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