If one is curious to learn about the evolution of fodder grass, which began from the early elephant grass in the African planes to the local Bajra and the present day hybrid varieties of Co-3, and Co-4 Samporna, one should visit Mymul Training center located in Alanahalli.
Mysore Milk Union Limited (Mymul) has grown 20 popular varieties of fodder grass on one acre plot, being used as cattle feed for over three decades. The plot is a educative center for thousands of farmers, especially for those who are planning to take up dairy farming. The fodders are exclusively used as feed for the livestock and forms a major role in agricultural sector.
Interestingly among the various varieties of fodders grown here, the fodder origin from Elephant Grass and Kumbu (Bajira) can also be seen. After extensive scientific experiment, a hybrid grass variety was developed namely, Hybrid Napier (NB-21), a cross between the Elephant grass and the Bajira.
Further research done at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore resulted in the development of Cumbu Napier CO1 followed by CO 3 and CO 4, variety known as 'Samporna'. All these three hybrid varieties can be seen here. Using CO 4 as fodder for cows resulted in increased milk output and also the yield of CO 4 per hectare is more.
With the Mysore-Chamarajanagar Milk Union attaining third place in the State, on an average 6 lakh liters milk is produced by the dairy everyday, and there is a good demand for the fodder.
Mymul has already provided more than one crore stem cuttings of this hybrid grass fodder to farmers on subsidised rates and is able to meet more than one 80 per cent of the demand. Free home delivery is also provided.
MS Lakshmi Prasad Yadav of Mymul said farmers in Mysore and Chamarajnagar were giving more prominence to grow fodder. Thousands of farmers have already undergone training on growing the hybrid grass varieties.
According to a survey, more farmers favour cultivating agriculture crops than growing animal fodder. Only 4 per cent of agriculture land is used for growing fodder crop across the country, while in States like Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat it is six percent.
“To cut down costs of milk production and increase the yield, growing green fodder is necessary. The proteins in the fodder helps livestock to produce good quantity of milk,” says farmer Thimmanayaka of Periyapatna.