Tribune press service
Ludhiana, August 22
The burning of rice straw is a major environmental problem in the state, posing a serious threat to human health. To explore the use of paddy straw as animal feed, a workshop was organized by the Extension Education Directorate, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), for zootechnicians working in all krishi vigyan kendras (KVK) of the state.
Vice Chancellor Dr Inderjeet Singh highlighted the joint efforts of PAU, GADVASU and relevant departments to sensitize farmers to use rice straw as a cheaper source of livestock nutrition.
He said that of the 8 million tonnes of rice straw burned in the fields, 0.8 million tonnes could be consumed by unproductive animals kept in gaushalas alone.
Dr Rajbir Singh, director of the Agricultural Technology Applications Research Institute (ATARI), advised scientists to find the reasons for less rice straw use in the state compared to other States.
Dr JS Mahal, Extension Manager, PAU, asked all KVKs to start trials to generate reliable data. During the workshop, treating paddy straw with urea and molasses to improve its nutritional value, making urea-treated bales during harvest and exporting to neighboring states have been discussed, in addition to its alternative uses in livestock. Misconceptions about the harmful effects of feeding rice straw have also been dispelled by scientists. The silica content of paddy straw can be greatly reduced by simply rubbing the straw while oxalates are very soluble. So, soaking the rice straw for a short time before feeding it also solves this problem.
Dr PS Brar, Extension Director, GADVASU stressed that instead of burning rice straw, its feed for animal production could be a viable option for milk and meat production and thanked the scientists for their contributions. Dr US Chahal said research trials will be conducted in the near future to store and feed paddy straw as silage.