Berseem The King Of fodder – Farming & Cultivation of Fodder Crops

For those who own livestock and are their prime business, they would have come across berseem at some point in time. While some livestock owners have land and cultivate it, others have at some point tried to purchase berseem as green or dry fodder at some point in time. Berseem is a fodder crop, which is easy to grow. It’s a great nitrogen-fixing legume which helps soil rejuvenation while providing food for the animals. It’s not consumed by humans but for livestock, specially bred for milk, the berseem is a wonder crop.

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Berseem is known as the king of fodder for a reason. the high content of protein (18-20%) in Berseem helps cows and goats to produce more milk and remain healthy throughout their milking cycle. It’s safe and if it comes from a reliable source can be found organic too. For a farmer, The potential of 80 to 100 tonnes of fodder per hectare or 40 tonnes per acre is of great value and especially when the entire crop cycle is 60-80 days. Theoretically, you could feed 10 cows for 250 days with one hectare of land with that much quantity.

The Berseem Crop for Winter

While farmers have been cultivating the same variety of crops over years and failed to see more than a moderate profit, the berseem crop is a great source of income for those who are into diversification of crops. While Berseem is quite an old product, it is relatively new to many farmers in India. Berseem was introduced in India in 1903. Though a product this old, there are very few farmers taking interest in this crop as they are not willing to diversify. the few who are taking up cultivating are those who have wanted to do foraging crops and fodders. Unlike normal crops, fodder crops are not used for human consumption and thus the value of the product is low in the market. Demand too is minimal unless you have a local buyer with a dairy farm or you have a dairy farm. Selling fodder, especially green fodder is not possible in the market on large scale these days.

At the time of this writing, Haryana is the only state where Dry fodder is sold in the mandi. Green fodder is not sold in mandi at all. With no provision to sell in bulk or mandi’s farmers are reluctant to cultivate fodder crops, especially that which cannot be sold green. Dry fodder does have its market but drying takes time and effort. Moreover, Drying Berseem is a bit harder than most other fodder crops. Berseem is a wonderful crop to make silage out of when mixed with ground maize.