Quality fodder of millet and cowpea
In the age of extreme global development only those countries are mak- ing rapid head way in area of economic development that have attained a selfsufficiency in food produc- tion while rest of countries are just eagle-eyed them. Pakistan is one of the ma- jor milk producing coun- tries and demand for milk is rising due to increase in population and change in eating habits of the people. Fodders are used to feed the dairy stocks, mostly buf- faloes, rely on cultivated forage for the green feed in their ration. Fodder scarcity is considered a major limiting factor for prosperous livestock industry in Pakistan. In Pakistan, animals are poorly nourished which results in inadequate production of livestock. Livestock thus are deficient in energy and protein by 40 and 60 %, respectively. It is reported that the livestock feed pool in Pakistan was deficient by 21% of total dry matter (DM) and 33% by crude protein requirements.
Pearl millet locally named as bajra is from fam- ily poaceae. It is grown for fodder and grain purposes. It is a good crop to feed ani- mals in summer season. It is mainly grown in barani areas of Punjab as a fodder crop because of its high tillering ability, drought and high tolerance to heat and increased dry matter manufacturing. It can also be used as hay and silage. Its fodder is almost fed to every class of livestock. Its grain is also important constituent of cattle and poultry feed. Cowpea is another most essential legume crop. It has high tolerance to drought and warm-season crop. It also has ability to fix nitrogen by its root nodules and it grows well in soils with more than 85% sand and organic matter less than 0.2%. It is shade tolerant and can be intercropped with maize, sorghum, millet and cotton.
Legumes are of great im- portance in organic plant production because of their biological nitrogen fixation and they also provide pro- tein-rich forage. Legumes may also reduce produc- tion cost by reducing the requirement for nitrogen application. The mixed/ intercropping with legumes will not only improve yield but also its quality because legumes have higher pro- tein contents than cereals. Practice of growing cereals with legumes is also done in tropical areas and also in barani areas of the world.
Intercropping of cereal with legumes hold a major role in food production in developed countries and also in developing countries too. Yield of cereal-legume intercropping system is higher than in sole cropping system. Intercropping of cereals with legume crops helps in maintaining and improving soil fertility by fixing nitrogen from atmosphere. In this way legumes can shift fixed nitrogen to in- tercropped cereals during their growing season and this nitrogen is important for cereals. Mixed cropping with legumes also enhances the quality and yield of for- age. When intercropping is done, planting rates and maturity dates should be kept in mind. Major goal of intercropping is to achieve maximum produce on a giv- en piece of land by maximiz- ing the use of resources that in other case would only be utilized by a single crop.
Row spacing is one of the critical factors that af- fect crop productivity. It is reported that sorghum when intercropped with cowpea gave the maximum fresh and dry matter yield of sorghum. The fresh fodder yield of pearl millet increases up to a certain growing stage after that it starts decreasing. Green fodder and dry matter yield, neutral and acid detergents fibre were increased but crude protein and total ash contents decreased due to late harvesting. In the same way, a linear decrease in crude protein and in- crease in acid detergents fiber was observed with ad- vanced maturity.