Economy of Pakistan is predominantly agriculture driven which not only contributing 19.8% GDP but also provides jobs. Livestock is vital sub-sector of Agriculture contributing 11.8% to GDP which is 58.55% of the Agriculture’s share to GDP (Economic Survey of Pakistan, 2015-16). It provides milk, meat and other by-products of animal origin for human nutrition. Pakistan being at 4th position in milk production in the world produces 54328 thousand tones of milk per year. The value of milk alone is more than the combined value of two major crops i-e wheat and cotton. Fodder is backbone of livestock and provides 2 to 3 times cheaper feed than concentrate to livestock.
Fodder crops have unique position in context of livestock in our country where more than 70% of our population is directly involved in livestock as a primary source of food and income. Animal population comprising of cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep and others is 186.2 million in Pakistan and 78.79 million in the Punjab (Economic Survey of Pakistan, 2015-16).
Fodders occupied an area of 2.11 million hectares and produced 45.77 million tonnes of green fodder out of which Punjab province contributed 1.76 million hectares area and 38.00 million tonnes production of the country.
In Punjab, fodder crops occupying third place after wheat and cotton with average fodder yield of 21.6 t/ha. Major Kharif fodder crops are Sorghum, Maize and Pearl Millet.
There is fodder shortage, which gets severe during lean periods. There are two fodder scarcity periods i.e. May-June when the Rabi fodders come to end and November-December when the Kharif fodders are finished. Animals are generally underfed and under-nourished which results in their poor performance. There is a short fall of 24% Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) and 38% Digestible Protein (DP). The major constraints in fodder production are non-availability of good quality seed and lack of awareness of seed production technology among the fodder growers.
There is big gap between demand and productivity of fodders and there is a dire need to fulfill the gap between the demand and supply of fodder and shortage of good seed. It is only possible through evolution of high yielding, multicut varieties / hybrids of different fodder crops and standardization of their fodders and seed production technology. Multi-facet experiments on kharif fodder crops have been planned to find out proper and feasible answer to fodder production problems through development of high fodder yielding varieties having tolerance against major pests and diseases, good quality in terms of high out put of livestock production and also establishment of technology for seed production of approved varieties.Followings are the Allied/Sub-Stations working under Fodder Research Institute Sargodha;
- Agricultural Research Station, Bahawalpur.
- Agronomy (Forage Production) Section, AARI, Faisalabad
- Fodder Research Sub-station, AARI, Faisalabad.
- Experimental Seed Production Unit (ESPU), Farooqabad
- Hill Grasses Research Sub-Station Charrapani, Murree.
Striving for better nutrition for live stock
- 1924: Transfer of agriculture land from Army Remount Depot, Sargodha to Agriculture Department under Gurdas Pur Agri. College in East Punjab, India.
- 1947: Affiliation of Fodder Sub-station with Professor of Botany, Agri. College, Lyallpur with the provision of the post of Assistant Botanist.
- 1962: At separation of Research & Education, establishment of Fodder Research Section headed by Fodder Botanist at AARI, Faisalabad and placing Fodder Res. Sub-station Sargodha under the control of Fodder Botanist, AARI, Faisalabad.
- 1976: Shifting of headquarter of Fodder Botanist AARI, Faisalabad to Sargodha raising it’s status from sub-station to a station
- 1981: Upgradation of Fodder Research Station, Sargodha to Fodder Research Institute with the provision of the post of Director.
- To develop high yielding nutritionally better fodder crop varieties/hybrids.
- To develop improved production technology including plant protection technology for the new varieties/ hybrids.
- To test different fodder crop varieties for milk/meat production of livestock.
- To produce pre-basic and basic seed of fodder crops varieties and seed of hybrids.
- Broadening of genetic base through introduction and hybridization programmes and also refinement of production technology to achieve potential fodder and seed yields of newly developed varieties.
- Development of fodder crop varieties possessing high green fodder yield potential having tolerance to biotic (diseases, insect pests) and abiotic (drought, problematic soils) stresses.
- Development and release of high yielding late varieties of berseem to overcome/ minimize the fodder lean period of May – June.
- Development and release of high yielding multicut sorghum variety to overcome/ minimize the fodder lean period of October – November.
- Development and release of high fodder yielding composite variety of maize.
- Development of fodder crop varieties for high quality (Nutrient status, palatability/ digestibility).
- Development of dual purpose (fodder cum seed) varieties.
- Standardization of livestock feeding for achieving maximum out put of milk and meat.
- Promotion of cultivation of multicut sadabahar (sorghum x sudangrass) and multicut bajra.
- Promotion of fodder conservation (hay and silage) among the growers.