Low reproductive efficiency in cattle and buffaloes is one of the major problems in livestock production in India, resulting in poor economic returns to the livestock farmers. The deficiency and/or imbalance of micro and macro nutrients are one of the important factors responsible for the low reproductive efficiency. In Karnataka, 21% of total cattle populations are suffering from infertility. The practice of mineral supplementation to animals is not common in most parts of India. Wherever it is practiced the mineral mixture is added to the compound feed without taking into account the mineral status of the area, leading to imbalances of minerals. Supplementation of area-specific minerals most deficient in that area avoids antagonistic effects of excess levels of other minerals and could be a more practical and cost-effective approach.
A detailed study on the micronutrient status of soil, water, feeds and fodder and blood of crossbred dairy animals maintained under field conditions was carried out in ten agro-climatic zones of Karnataka by a team of scientists at ICAR-NIANP. The study on the mineral mapping of the state has revealed that the major deficiency is of calcium, phosphorus, copper and zinc in the different zones surveyed. Based on this information area-specific mineral mixture (ASMM) comprising of the deficient minerals was prepared for different agro-climatic zones.
Mineral mapping of Karnataka and area-specific mineral mixture prepared
The technology was field tested in adopted villages under Institute village linkage programme. Area-specific mineral mixture was prepared and distributed to farmers having animals with reproductive problems like repeat breeding and anoestrus condition. The animals were supplemented with 40 g of mineral mixture per day mixed in either concentrate feed or home-made concentrate mixture (bran, oilseed cake, gram husk). Approximately 300 animals with reproductive problems were provided with ASMM over a period of two years.
About 80–90 percent of the animals started cycling within 70 days of ASMM supplementation and about 50-60 percent of animals became pregnant. All the animals’ supplemented showed improvement in general health and marginal improvement in milk yield (0.5-1.0lit/d) and milk fat (0.4-0.5 units)
Taken into account the cost of mineral supplementation and direct as well as indirect benefits in terms of reduced post-partum breeding period, increased milk yield, reduction in veterinary costs and additional number of calves in a productive life span of 10 years, the cost-benefit ratio is 1:8 in favour of ASMM supplementation.
This technology has been commercialised to Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) and Nandi Agro Vet. Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore and the Totgars Co-operative Sale Society Ltd., Uttar Kannada for large scale adoption.
The technology has been spread all over the 29 districts of Karnataka state. Considering its adoption through KMF alone, the economic impact of the technology was estimated to be Rs. 400 crores per year.
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