CLAAS India pushing forage harvesters to increase milk output

Shobha Roy Kolkata | Updated on March 11, 2018 Published on March 11, 2018

Mrityunjaya Singh, Managing Director, CLAAS India

Forage harvesters usage to improve feed for the cattle

CLAAS Agricultural Machinery, a subsidiary of Germany-based, $4.6-billion CLAAS, expects its forage harvesters, designed to create a stock of silage (or animal feed), to help improve the quality and output of milk from cattle.

The company is also betting big on mechanisation in wheat harvesting.

According to Mrityunjaya Singh, Managing Director, CLAAS India, forage harvesters were not used widely in the country till recently, primarily due to poor awareness. However, the demand has been increasing thanks to the initiative taken by a few States like Andhra Pradesh, which is giving a 50 per cent subsidy to dairy farmers to procure maize silage.

A forage harvester is a vehicle equipped with cutters that can chop maize, corn or other such crop into smaller pieces, for creating a stock of silage.

“The average daily milk production in India is around 6 litres per cow per day compared with 18-20 litres globally. This is mainly because of shortage of fodder, the way it is stored and, more importantly, the lack of knowledge,” Singh told BusinessLine.

Despite being the largest producer of milk, India lags in terms of efficiency of production. Feeding animals with a better quality fodder may not just help improve productivity but the quality as well, he pointed out.

Eyes on wheat

The company, which launched its first combine harvester over two decades ago to mechanise rice harvesting, is now exploring possibilities in wheat harvesting.

There is a very high level of mechanisation (80-85 per cent) in paddy harvesting in the country, particularly in the South. However, the level of mechanisation is just 45-50 per cent in the wheat-growing areas of the North.

“There is ample opportunity for growth (in mechanisation) in wheat harvesting and we are keenly looking at it,” he said.

CLAAS sells close to 1,000 machines a year and approximately one-fourth (200-250) is exported to countries in South-East Asia, West Asia and Latin America.

The company’s production facility at Chandigarh has the capacity to manufacture 3,000 agricultural machines per year. It is currently running at around 60 per cent capacity.

Published on March 11, 2018
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