Small dairy farmers of Central India (Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh) “are constrained by inadequate supply of protein source during the dry season” is extracted from Chakeredza et al. (2007). Poor economic conditions of the dairy farmers do not allow them to purchase commercial protein concentrates. Locally available non-conventional protein sources can be used as alternative cheaper protein sources. Formulation of a cost efficient diet balanced for key nutrients has emerged as the biggest problem to the farmers. The present study presents a least cost balanced diet formulation plan for the small dairy farmers. The Linear Programming Technique was applied to formulate the least cost ration plan for daily feeding for the cross bred and local dairy cows separately. The least cost ration plan formulated for daily feeding for cross bred dairy cows yielding 5 to 10 L of milk per day included 3.50 kg paddy straw, 10.60 kg Napier grass, 1.35 kg soybean cake, 2.08 kg wheat bran, and 0.06 kg mineral mixture, costing 19% less in comparison to the routine feeding plan followed by the farmers. Similarly, the least cost daily feeding ration plan formulated for the local lactating cows yielding 3 L of milk per day included 3.06 kg paddy straw, 7.60 kg Napier grass, 0.86 kg soybean cake, 1.20 kg wheat bran, and 0.05 kg mineral mixture, reducing the feed cost by 22% as compared to the existing ration plan followed by the farmers . The least cost ration plan formulated through this study is recommended for use by the small dairy farmers of Central India to reduce the feed cost of dairy animals.
Key words: Least cost, fodder, dairy feed, small scale, linear programming.
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