YAP Proposal #101: Promotion of calf starter feed preparation (K.P.Chethan, India)

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I am Dr Chethan K P, 33 years old, a Masters in Animal Nutrition & presently working as Assistant professor in Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Sciences University Bidar, India.

I am involved in development of sustainable dairying for empowerment of the rural house hold.. Considering the prevailing calf feeding and management practices in developing countries, together with Dr. Suresh Bypanhalli (Assistant Professor Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Science University, Bidar-India), I am proposing the introduction of calf starter feeds in small scale dairy system in India.

The survivability and growth rate of young ruminant livestock is low in many developing countries. This is due to restricted availability of milk for pre-ruminant feeding, as an economic compulsion of farmers to sell milk for human consumption and perhaps not realizing the potential value of these animals in their adulthood. This results in low productivity of animals characterized by delay in onset of puberty and age at first calving.

One potential solution could be introducing starter feeds (alternative to milk) to young ones, to ensure proper nutrition and to wean the calves early for productive benefits. However, the awareness about such alternatives is limited among farmers in India. Thus, this project seeks to formulate calf starter feeds using locally available feed resources such as maize grains, groundnut cake and other ingredients that are not preferred for human consumption.

The target group for this project is small scale farmers engaged in dairy farming in selected villages of Hassan Distrcit, India. Through the project, preparation of calf pre-starter and starter feeds using locally available ingredients will be promoted among farmers.

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The proposed intervention of preparation and feeding starter feeds to calves would be economical as well as will be within the reach of farmers as it makes use of locally available and cheaper ingredients. This program addresses the constraints in meeting nutritional needs of pre-ruminants and also strengthens food security in developing countries.

Feeding starter mixtures ensures proper nutrition to calves. This practice spares about 450 liters per calf for human consumption. Properly nourished calves attain puberty early and the age of first calving will be reduced to 24-25 months from existing 30-35 months. These animals start producing milk early and decrease herd replacement expenses. This intervention can save up to 600 USD per animal to the farmers.

The grant is required for setting up calf starter feed preparation unit at community level and for designing the equipment for weighing calves at fields. The farmers will bring their home grown ingredients and prepare the calf starter mixtures for feeding their young stock under my technical guidance.

Blogpost and picture submitted by K.P. Chethan (India) – chethanvet(at)gmail.com

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.


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127 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #101: Promotion of calf starter feed preparation (K.P.Chethan, India)

  1. Yes this propsal should be appreciated to improve the socio-economic status of underpreviliged farming community.

  2. The proposal not only address socioeconomical status of farming community, but also addresses the animal welfare aspect by improving health and wellbeing.

  3. Idea proposed by Dr Suresh is worth experimenting. It will definitely be useful to farmers in rural India. Nutritional care of young calves will sure improve dairy profitability.

  4. Definitely a very good move to uplift the needy people. Also going to be the basic model for all weaker sections who involved in dairying.

  5. Definitely a very good move to uplift the needy people. Also going to be the basic model for all weaker sections who are involved in dairying.

  6. The feeding management of calves and heifers is completely neglected in many parts of India due to lack of immediate monetary returns. This is resulting in lower life time production of the cows due to longer duration to gain mature body weight for breeding and increased intercalving periods. The proposed project would be the first step to overcome these problems by proper nutrient interventions and emphasizes scientific feeding management of the calves. I believe the small and marginal farmers in rural areas of India would be the direct beneficiaries.

  7. Poor farmer is bound to sell milk at the cost of calf’s share of milk.
    Definitely the poor calf will suffer from malnutrition and stress because of human intervention.

    Hence Dr suresh’s idea can benifit both poor farmer and calf

    1. Proposal is a good initiative & innovative approach for scientific management of calves which is most neglected in dairying so this proposal ‘ll help in reducing calf mortality due to under nourishment. ..gud luck Dr.chetan

    1. This kind of initiative is needed to reduce calf mortality in our country especially in small scale dairy sector

  8. This idea will encorage sustaiable growth by supporting local grown feed and improve economical conditions for the farmers. This Improve the calf health to produce quality milk.

  9. Sounds interesting!!! I think the project if implemented will have an impact on the socio-exonomic aspect of the farmers especially in developing countries like India. Good luck!!!

  10. Setting up of feed preparation unit at community level and innovation in designing the equipment for field use etc., is really the Work needed At Local level .Project thought is very much relevant.

    1. Thank you Dr Sudheer. Small scale calf starter feed manufacturing unit will be setup at milk producers cooperative society and members will trained to prepare mixtures using their home grown and other raw materials. Even if they prepare 100kg feed at a time, it is sufficient for feeding several weeks.

  11. Proposal is worth trying. Inclusion of milk replacers on day 10 of age of calf would have been still better proposal. This type of feeding definitely advances puberty in terms of production and justify the statement Today’s calf is Tomorrow’s Cow or Bull Or Bullock.

    1. Thank you professor, considering feeding milk replacer at the initial stage is a better option but its preparation requires skim milk powder which is not available to farmers or costly.

      1. Calf nutrition has not get proper attention under smallholder dairy farming systems in the tropics. To ensure sustainable profit from dairy farming sectors, appropriate care and management should be given for calf feeding. Proper feeding of calves will ensure early maturity and age at first calving. Thus, the proposed idea of preparation of calf starter from locally available feed resources will have a significant contribution for smallholder dairy farmers and it should be appreciated and financially supported.

    2. Instead of milk replacer, we will train the farmers to prepare prestarter mixtures which will be offered as porridge to calves

  12. Very good proposal.. calves can get proper nutrition which ensures of getting sufficient milk and also early from them.

  13. Very good proposal.. through which calves get good nutrition leading to early and sufficient milking.

  14. Nice idea!!! and is really hitting the section of dairy farming which is though very important but usually left neglected….

  15. It’s really a need ….. addressed soon
    Calves need best nutrition since it decides entire physiology of its life….. please go ahead

  16. Very innovative and will be helpful to the needy farmers. ideal nutritional management will have great impact. Hopefully dairy community will be get maximum benefit out of this. great idea.all the best.

  17. very innovative and highly beneficial to dairy community…will have great impact in dairy sector

  18. The project proposed by Dr. Suresh has much influence on improving the SOCIO-ECONOMIC status of farmers. This has many gains including increase in milk production, decrease in age at first puberty, and age at first calving. Thus increasing the overall productivity of the animal.

  19. Reblogged this on livestockdevelopment and commented:
    The survivability and growth rate of young ruminant livestock is low in many developing countries. This is due to restricted availability of milk for pre-ruminant feeding, as an economic compulsion of farmers to sell milk for human consumption and perhaps not realizing the potential value of these animals in their adulthood. This results in low productivity of animals characterized by delay in onset of puberty and age at first calving.

    One potential solution could be introducing starter feeds (alternative to milk) to young ones, to ensure proper nutrition and to wean the calves early for productive benefits.

  20. Its an excellent proposal. Majority of dairy farmers are not aware of balanced nutritional requirements of young calves and the future benefits. If this proposal gets implemented dairy farmers will get good profits.

  21. Very much needed to bring down the early mortaliry losses and it will surely boost the income of the farmer in many ways.

    1. Thank you Dr Sudeb and Azuman. Study conducted in Milk and Cattle Improvement Farm, Bogra, Bangladesh indicated that on an average 1012kg milk was lost for lose of each calf. Huge economic loss! This type of intervention is worth trying.

  22. Need of the hour and it will boost sustainable dairying. Because farmer need not spend additional money on quality new stock.

  23. Feeding of calf is one of the neglected area at field level. A good thought to improve body weight of heifers before breeding.

    1. Calf nutrition has not get proper attention under smallholder dairy farming systems in the tropics. To ensure sustainable profit from dairy farming sectors, appropriate care and management should be given for calf feeding. Proper feeding of calves will ensure early maturity and age at first calving. Thus, the proposed idea of preparation of calf starter from locally available feed resources will have a significant contribution for smallholder dairy farmers and it should be appreciated and financially supported.

  24. A good nutrition for growth of calf is a need of the hour. This proposal will definitely helps in achieving early maturity of calf, in turn benefit the farming community of India.

  25. An innovative idea sir. Such ideas are of most essential at present situation. And let such ideas reach the needy..

  26. Such research on calf Nutrition is necessary to improve the socioeconomic status of farmers. Its a nice research proposal.

  27. Very good thought sir. It’s a nice move to improve calves health in India which are presently are underfed due to farmers poor economic status who sells almost all the milk he gets from the cow to meet his family needs. Highly beneficial to the poor farmers as the calf starter is prepared using the locally available feed stuffs without compromising for its nutritive value as well as not burdening the farmers economically. Great forethought sir.. All the best..

  28. This proposal has our full support! It is much of interest to enhance productivity which is, in our opinion, best achieved through better formulation of locally available feedstuffs.

    Dr. Suresh Bypanhalli followed a 10-week training program in dairy nutrition at Ghent University in 2015 and is definitely able to bring this project to a good end. For us, it is very nice to see that the knowledge acquired during the training program is really transferred to the people who need it, i.e. the local small scale farmers!

    1. Thank you Ir. Frederick. Use of milk replacers and call starter feeds are generally accepted practices in developed countries but not in many of the developing countries. The high plane of nutrition of calves will definitely improve productivity subsequently.

  29. Calf nutrition has not got proper attention under smallhholder dairy farming systems in the tropics. Thus to ensure early maturity and age at first calving, proper nutrition of calves and heifer is needed. For assuring better profitability in dairy farming sectors, preparation of calf starter from locally avialble feed resources will play a vital role. Hence, such type of research project proposal should be appreciated and financially supported.

  30. Calf nutrition has not get proper attention under smallholder dairy farming systems in the tropics. To ensure sustainble profit from dairy farming sectors, appropriate care and management should be given for calf feeding. Proper feeding of calves will ensure early maturity and age at first calving. Thus, the proposed idea of preparation of calf srater from locally avilable feed resources will have a significant contribution for smahholder dairy farmers and it should be appreciated and financially supported.

  31. Calf nutrition has not get proper attention under smallholder dairy farming systems in the tropics. To ensure sustainable profit from dairy farming sectors, appropriate care and management should be given for calf feeding. Proper feeding of calves will ensure early maturity and age at first calving. Thus, the proposed idea of preparation of calf starter from locally available feed resources will have a significant contribution for smallholder dairy farmers and it should be appreciated and financially supported.

  32. Really innovative idea surely improves the growth and ASM will be reduced And other important thing is socio economic status of the rural people will be improved.

  33. Calf care is highly neglected practice both in crossbred cows and buffaloes. More and more Front Line Demonstrations need to be done to create awareness among farmers. Especially in rural India. May be inavailability of calf starter could be one reason. In this context the proposal submitted by Suresh is timely and needy.

  34. Seems like a promising project, sir.. Would be great if it is practically implemented.. Good luck, sir..

  35. Feeding calf is mostly limited to fewer days of milk sucking. This project rightly addresses the practical benefits for faster weight gain and growth. This basically improves health of calves. Thereby reducing diseases and improving immunity at early days of growth. This project must be supported and study the benefits created on long term. Thanks

  36. Its really one of d finest project to uplift farmers n eradicate poverty…improve der economic status…all b best sir

  37. This project is helpful to farmerand also it improves growth rate ,to prevent mineral deficiency .All the best sir .

  38. This project is helpful to farmer and also it improves growth rate ,to prevent mineral deficiency .All the best sir .

  39. This is really a nice idea.if it is implemented in rural field. very helpful for the farmers and in the viewpoint of the Indian economy…..nice concept sir..

  40. Very good initiative by Dr Chethan… Definitely it will help poor farmers whose main source of income is by dairying in developing countries like India…. Good luck

  41. Highly needed and field oriented research proposal. Today’s calf is tomorrow ‘s dairy cow. Future of dairy industry depends on quality of calf. Large portion livestock farmers ignorant on calf feeding and it’s management. So, this is very useful research for reducing calf mortality, poor growth, delayed puberty & delayed age at first calving. Feeding commercial calf starter feed is economically not viable for small farmers. So, calf starter feed prepared by using locally available material is very good idea. Best wishes

  42. Great initiative by Dr. Chetan K. P……. I know him personally and his potential….. All the best…. for this novel project…. best wishes.

  43. This s a very nice project. I Hope It will definitely helpfull to dairy farmers in rearing dairy calves scientifically. Farmers will benefited by calves early maturity, conception & calving.

  44. surely a innovative idea.

    Scientific or Rational way of rearing calf is neglected by farmers.

    This initiative if made into practice will surely
    help in obtaining much better milk producing cow in future…

  45. This is really a good and excellent project.. it should be encouraged in all ways so that farmers are benefited

  46. This is excellent and good project…this has to be encouraged. Farmers would be benefited to the max. This would be definitely next gen and a revolutionary move in the feed area.

  47. Such kind of improvements**** are required for developing countries like us …… even farmers will get benefit out of this along with researchers .

  48. Such kind of works will upgrade the livestock population as well as status of country like ours . Congratulations for researchers those who all are involved in this wonderful job******

  49. Excellent work.

    I am facing the same problem being a small scale farmer even now. Your work will boost our dairy in larger scale.

    Where can I get the information regarding different combinations of different ingredients? Like I grow jower, finger Millett (raagi), horse gram (huruli), is there any way to include these ingredients in the calf starters??

  50. Project is apt & greatly helpful to the farmers. Such projects should be encouraged and selected for funding. I also propose this for grants.

  51. Kind of approach to sustained development of dairy industry. By promoting the balanced ration in Indian dairy sector helps better socio-economic status of human- incresed earning and animal health. In future prospects the animal products are of high quality and quantity.

  52. It will be better if it starts by end of first week and starter may be mixed with colostrum. / milk. Educate and change the attitude of farmers surely it reflects on calf performance. Good thinking

  53. A very nice initiative towards sustainable and improved livestock production from Dr. Suresh, that I’m sure will come to a good end!

  54. I’ve came in touch with dr. Suresh through an international training program on Dairy Nutrition which we organise at Ghent University (Belgium). During this 10-weeks intensive training program, the participants are invited to submit several assignments, including a project proposal (training not for funding). The current proposal on alternatives for milk replacers using local resources had been presented by dr. Suresh during this training program. I find it a well-considered proposal. After the end of the training program (mid Dec 2015), dr. Suresh has given us intensive feedback on training initiatives he has been taken already since his return. This indicates dr. Suresh is a dedicated person, who wants to move ‘things forward’. Accordinlgy, I truly hope this project can get financial support and wish all the best for its completion (keep us updated!).

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