Forage crops provide the bedrock to sustainable agriculture. Defined as the edible parts of plants, other than separated grain, that provide feed for grazing animals or that can be harvested for feeding forages play an important role in beef cattle industry while also enhancing crop diversity, wildlife habitat, and soil ecosystem services.
Forage crops can be an important tool for producers, provided the right crop is selected careful management is required to ensure that the crop is fully utilized in its most productive and nutritious phases of growth. Pests and diseases must also be managed to minimize their impact on productivity. A well-considered grazing strategy is important in maximizing the productive potential of a fodder crop. Forage crops can either be grown exclusively for hay or silage production or grazed before being set aside for fodder conservation.
The timing of both grazing events and the cutting for hay or silage are critical to ensuring that the quality and quantity of conserved fodder are optimized.
Different types of forage crops:
Forage crops can be divided into
- Annual forage crops: In annual forage crop, establishment of seed is easier due to germination, growing and maturation in one growing season.
- Biennial forage crops: biennial forage crops requires two growing seasons, in first season vegetative growth will occur and in second growing season flowering will occur.
- Perennial forage crops: perennial forage crops can sustain for more year and can go dormant for short time and then initiate germination from crowns, rhizomes etc..
Advantages of forage crops in agriculture:
- Forage crops having grass root systems which can improve the organic matter content of the soil.
- Forage crops contain rich in vitamins, fiber and proteins that enhance metabolic activity of the animals.
- Forage crops are rich in minerals which helps poultry for bone, eggshell formation, fluid balance and in hormone production.
- Enhance seasonal distribution of forage production throughout the year to complement warm-season perennial grasses.
- Forage crops reduce weed development.
- It reduces soil erosion.
We can use below products as forage crops
- Delight forage
- Nitrifeed forage
- Jumbo forage
- Jumbo gold forage
- Makkhan grass forage
- Sugargraze forage
SME (Subject Matter Expert)
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