The Dzongkhag Livestock Sector, Punakha is vigorously promoting the feeding of dairy cattle with Total Mixed Ration (TMR) feeds using locally available feed ingredients. The main objective of this initiative is to increase milk production, reduce feed costs, improve cow health and deliver consistent feeds to cow every day. This has been felt necessary as most of the dairy farmers are feeding their dairy cattle with unbalanced ration. This program was mostly targeted to dairy farmers group members having high milk producing dairy cows. Since its inception of TMR technology at Punakha Dzongkhag in February 2018, a total of 7.7 MT of TMR with an average of 0.157 MT/household had been formulated and fed to their dairy cows so far by 49 interested dairy farmers.
Ensuring that the right proportion of feed ingredients are being formulated and fed to dairy cows, the sector is following the TMR formulation procedures prepared by National Research & Development Center for Animal Nutrition (NRDCAN). A 100 kg TMR is composed of 50 kg rice bran, 30 kg mustard oil cake, 15 kg green fodder, 3 kg molasses, 1 kg mineral mixture and 1 kg salt.
The farmers feedback on this TMR technology is encouraging. Aum Tshomo of Gubjithang village under Chhubu geog who currently owns 11 milking cows is certain that this technology has eliminated feeding commercial feeds in her farm. However, she is doubtful on the availability of some ingredients like mineral mixture and molasses in the market. In order to make this technology adoption sustainable to the dairy farmers, it is important that the livestock sector facilitate them in sourcing TMR ingredients that are not available in the local market.
Contributed by: Pema Ugyen, Dzongkhag Livestock Sector, Punakha
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