BY ABDUL MAJEED GANAI and PARVAIZ AHMED RESHI
There is a good news for valley's livestock farmers. The Kashmir region is going to have its own research based ‘animal feed supplement’, “Region Specific Mineral Mixture for Livestock” to meet the specific mineral needs of livestock of this region with different geoclimatic conditions from rest of the country.
The product will help farmers to get optimum milk, meat, fertility and therefore profitability from animal rearing. Faculty innovators from the Division of Animal Nutrition of the varsity have been successful in formulating the region specific product under the brand name of KashMin based on their studies on the mineral profile of soil, grasses, feeds and fodders from the last more than a decade.
Under the ambitious slogan of SKUAST-Kashmir, “Knowledge based technology driven agri-economy” this useful technology is being transported to the field with the constant encouragement of the Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nazir Ahmad Ganai and the able mentorship of Head, Division of Animal Nutrition, Professor Abdul Majeed Ganai of SKUAST-Kashmir.
It is expected to improve the living standards of farmers by getting better dividends from animal rearing. Poor production and reproductive performance will overcome by supplementation of the deficient minerals that otherwise go unnoticed causing poor health, production, reproduction and body condition of animals for KashMin is fully loaded with the required mineral elements in more absorbable (chelated) forms.
Background: Geographically Kashmir is different from rest of the country so is its soil type, vegetation and mineral composition. The grasses, fodders, straws and agro-industrial byproducts available from such soils are therefore having a different composition of these micro nutrients (minerals).
The different species of herbivores (cattle, sheep, goat and other herbivorous animals) grazing and feeding upon such grasses are having specific deficiencies of minerals that can be corrected by supplementation of the deficient minerals only.
So alternatively it can be safely stated that there is Soil-Plant-Animal inter-relationship of minerals. Division of Animal Nutrition of SKUAST-Kashmir initiated the work of studying the mineral profile of soil, feed/fodder and animals in the year 2008 and have till date prepared different mineral premixes on district levels.
The present formulation KashMin (A mixture of different mineral elements that specifically corrects the mineral deficiencies of Kashmir Livestock) will cover the whole region of Kashmir valley.
Formulation of the region specific product partially fulfills commitment of SKUAST-Kashmir to serve the needs of hill and temperate agriculture and ensure better production from animal rearing and progression of our farming community.
This important product is being launched at a time when Government of Jammu and Kashmir is seriously working for the welfare of farming community and making comprehensive measures to ensure livelihood security of youth through improved animal productivity and production.
What is KashMin: KashMin is a research based product and a faculty startup incubated at Sher-E-Kashmir Institute of Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship Centre (SKIIE) of SKUAST-Kashmir containing specifically the mineral elements deficient in locally grown fodder, grass and other feed ingredients in proper proportions. It aims to boost milk, meat production and animal fertility that largely depends upon the proper mineral supplementation.
How is KashMin different: Other popular brands of mineral supplements present in the market are manufactured for whole of the country covering all species of animals and birds predominantly serving other parts of the country (tropical region) having different soil, feed and fodder composition with respect to minerals. KashMin on the other hand is a species specific and a region specific product, formulated keeping in consideration the specific needs of animals of this temperate region based on the mineral profile of the locally grown grasses, feed ingredients and fodders. To start with, KashMin for cattle is being launched and KashMin for sheep & goat will follow.
Is KashMin Costlier: The primary aim of the present programme is to offer a product that is comparatively affordable to farmers. Therefore it will cost almost half the available popular brands of mineral supplements in the market without compromising on quality of the product. There will be direct selling of KashMin from manufacturer to end users; therefore it will cost lower with quality assurances.
Where from to get KashMin: While the product is expected to be formally launched on the Kissan Mela being organised by SKUAST-Kashmir in the first week of March, 2023, the KashMin will be made available from district KVKs and some identified veterinary medicine outlets in the first phase.
How will the field feedback recorded: Field feedback is another important component of the programme. The product will be made available to farmers through district KVKs of the varsity and field feedback will be recorded for constant improvement of the product. This needs to be emphasized here that though we believe this research based product KashMin will outclass other available products in the market, still we will not stop to make it better based on regular field feedback.
Prof. Abdul Majeed Ganai is Head, Division of Animal Nutrition and Dr. Parvaiz Ahmed Reshi is Assistant Professor (Animal Nutrition) Mountain Livestock Research Institute, Shere-E-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Kashmir.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.