With the dairy farmers struggling to tackle the rapidly increasing production cost, a group of veterinary doctors says that the recent introduction of Total Mixed Ration (TMR) can effectively reduce the production cost in the sector.
According to experts, TMR, which consists of concentrates and dry roughage in correct quantity and proportion can deliver a “near wholesome feed to the cows” at a comparatively low cost.
Dr R Unnikrishnan, a Hyderabad-based senior livestock consultant from Kerala, and one of the main architects behind the introduction of TMR says that “TMR feeding is widely practiced in large farms across the US and EU”. He adds that “this is the first time an attempt has been made to introduce the feed in Kerala, may be even in India”.
According to Unnikrishnan, to overcome the challenges in making available quality feed at a cheaper price, Total Mixed Ration offers immense possibilities. “Cows and buffaloes fed on TMR need to be given only green fodder as supplement. Farmers who use TMR and green fodder are a satisfied community.
“Some of the ingredients that go into the making of TMR include groundnut haulms, sesame tops and red gram tops as roughage, along with quality concentrate mix, molasses, toxin binder, salt and vitamin mineral premix. TMR not only enhances milk production and quality but helps maintain the good reproductive health and overall physical condition of the animal”, he said.
Unnikrishnan claims that apart from these benefits, there is a remarkable difference in the production cost of TMR, compared to conventional commercial feed. “There is a difference of at least `3.50 per litre”, he says.
“On an experimental basis, we have introduced TMR in Ernakulam. The response from the farmers has been massive. We are planning to introduce the feed in other districts as well”, Unnikrishnan adds.