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New and improved Grasses, Shrubs and other fodder species

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Another option for salt-affected soils is growing such plants that are also capable of being converted, by livestock, into meat wool and other livestock products. Some of these options have been described by many scientists. The main objective of this programme is to develop a rapid screening for large numbers of available fodder plants at seedling stage to asses their salt tolerance to salinity and drought with a potential to grow in salt affected areas of the region. The studies at the centre showed that Japanese millet (E. crusgalli) had high tolerance to salinity and sodicity. Among other grasses, ‘maddal’ showed less tolerance than kallar grass but produced more fresh and dry matter yield than Janter, dhancha (Sesbania spp.) and Rhodes grass (Agropyron elongatum) in local saline conditions.

Atriplex and Maireana spp were studied by SARC throughout the country for their behavior and establishment in waterlogging and salinity. Two spp. (A. amnicola and A. lentiformis) were found well adapted to local conditions and produced good biomass. All the Maireana spp. showed little promise for revegetation of salt affected waste lands.

The feeding trails on the performance of goats and the blood picture along with carcass and meat quality revealed that water intake increased with increasing proportion of salt bush in the ration. Further, goats preferred Atriplex to Maireana spp; and within Atriplex, prefer A. amnicola to A. lentiformis. The productivity experiments to study the most appropriate harvesting month, harvesting frequency and planting density were also conducted.