Augmenting green fodder availability in arid Rajasthan through Bajra Napier Hybrid

PUNE: ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) has attempted a unique intervention in Rajasthan that comprised harvesting of rainwater from building roof-top and solar energy for utilizing harvested rainwater for growing of Bajra Napier Hybrid (BNH) having high biomass potential from a unit of land.
Legumes were also grown in kharif and lucerne in rabi seasons for increasing the nutritive value of the BNH fodder.
The water required for crops was harvested from the rainfall runoff generated by the roof-top of the building having 2500 m area and stored in a suitable water storage structure having capacity of 300m3 for 0.1 hectare. The BNH was planted at 3×1m spacing and legume fodder crops were grown in the inter-row spaces during kharif and rabi.
Napier hybrid was cut 6 times from August to June while kharif legumes were harvested in the month of September for fodder yield. The rabi legume was cut 7 times during December to April.
The farmers of the desert districts of Rajasthan have benefitted a lot from the BNH crops not only in assured fodder supply but also earning by selling of green fodder, planting material and many others have established commercial fodder farms that give them revenue more than Rs 5 lakh per hectare. The demonstration field of ICAR-CAZRI remained an attraction point for the farmers, personnel from line departments and other dignitaries. Several entrepreneurships from of arid Rajasthan have come forward to adopt NBH.