Sewan Grass: Excellent for milch animals and livestock farmers
Drought resistant sewan grass plant once planted can provide green fodder for 10 to 15 years
There is no substitute for sewan grass to meet the dry and green fodder requirement for milch animals and livestock farmers in arid regions. The plant once planted can provide green fodder for 10 to 15 years. Growing it can eliminate drought and shortage of green fodder in arid and very arid areas. It is drought resistant. It has the ability to grow easily even in low and high temperature conditions. That is why it is easily grown in desert areas.
Sewan (Lasiurus sidicus) is a perennial herb. It grows easily in dry, very dry and sandy areas. It is found abundantly in Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Sri Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of western Rajasthan. There is less than 250 mm of rainfall annually. There is good development of root system in it. That is why it has the ability to tolerate drought. It is considered the king of desert grasses.
Grass is rich in nutrients
Sewan grass is very nutritious and digestible for the animals. It is easily seen in rural pastures. In comparison to other grasses, the amount of starch and protein is much higher in the grass. It contains 10 to 12 percent protein and 30 to 35 percent fibre. Sevan grass fodder is the most nutritious and suitable for the cow. Apart from cow, it is also liked by buffaloes, camels and sheep. At the time of flowering, sheep and goats eat it with great fervour. It can also be used as dry fodder by livestock farmers. In western Rajasthan, the dry fodder of this grass is called ‘Sewan Kuttar’.
Sewan grass farming
Although its cultivation can be done in all types of soil, but loamy soil is best for good yield. The stem is straight, flexible and branched. Its height is about one meter long, the leaves are linear, 20 to 25 cm long and the flower cluster is 10 cm long. Its flowering stage is best suited for green fodder. If there is moisture in the soil, then the clumps keep coming out of the sawan grass continuously. In the mature stage, the stem becomes hard. Then the animals like it less.
Sowing of sewan grass
Rainy season is the best time to grow Sewan grass pasture. Apart from the rainy season, it can be planted in February-March also. The availability of moisture in the soil at the time of sowing is of great importance. When sown in the rain, it grows very quickly. Due to its rapid growth, animals start getting fodder in time. 5 to 7 kg seed per hectare is sufficient for sowing it.
The best time for sowing is after the first monsoon rains in western Rajasthan. For sowing, the wet soil of the field weighing five times more than the amount of seed should be mixed well. After this the seeds can be sown by sprinkling in the field or row sowing. Sowing should be done in such a way that minimum soil comes on the seeds. Where the soil is hard, before sowing, the field should be plowed diagonally and weeds should be removed from the field.
Fine varieties of sewan grass
According to the experts of Swami Kesewanand Rajasthan Agricultural University, Jaisalmer, to get quality fodder, good varieties should be selected. CAZRI-305, CAZRI-317 and CAZRI-319 developed by CAZRI (Central Arid Zone Research Institute), Jodhpur have the status of excellent varieties. The seed is very small and light in size. If its pasture is developed once, then it remains for years. It also helps in preventing soil erosion.
Fertilizer Management of Sewan Grass
For a good crop of sewan grass, giving 40 kg nitrogen and 20 kg phosphorus per hectare (four bighas) is very beneficial. Half the amount of nitrogen should be applied in the field at the time of sowing. Giving indigenous decomposed cow dung at the rate of eight to ten tonnes per hectare gives excellent yields.
Sewan Grass Harvesting Cycle
If Sewan grass has been sown in the rainy season, then 90 days after this, the first harvesting should be done by the end of August. The month of November is suitable for second harvesting. If it gets winter rain water then third cutting should be done in March-April and if the field has irrigation facility then fourth cutting can also be done at the end of June. Irregular and extremely low rainfall affects the yield.
Caution in grazing sewan grass
Animals should not be grazed in the field in the first year after planting this grass. In the first year, it is good to cut grass from the field and feed it. To get more dry fodder, three to four cuttings of fodder can be done in a year. From the second year onwards, grazing by controlled grazing, alternate grazing or interrupted grazing should be done. While grazing the grass, the grass of a part of the field should be kept for seed production so that the cost of repeated sowing is reduced.
Production of sewan grass
The production depends on rainfall, the nature of the land and the grazing-harvesting cycle. In the case of fertile sandy soil and normal rainfall, the yield of dry fodder up to 100 q/ha can be obtained from it. Generally 50 to 75 quintal dry fodder is obtained from this per hectare. Its average yield can be 35 to 40 quintal dry fodder and 20 to 25 kg seed per hectare in case of inequalities of rainfall. In terms of seed production, a yield of 250 kg per hectare can be obtained under favourable conditions.
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