The Indian cattle feed market was an estimated 55 million tonnes in 2008-09. However,the actual market is much smaller because a large portion of this market is serviced by the unorganized (grazing) sector. The three key types of cattle-feed producers are:
- Dairy cooperatives
- Private sector manufacturers of compound cattle feed
Commercial production of cattle feed is about 6 million tonnes. India exported 16,000 tonnes of cattle feed in 2008-09 and imported 7,700 tonnes.
The land area under permanent pastures and grazing is about 10.36 million hectares and constitutes about 38% of total uncultivated land excluding fallow land in the country. It is a major source of cattle feeding fodder. Cooperatives, with 46% share of the compound cattle feed industry, produce low-cost feed for their members. Home-mixers are farmers who prepare their own feed mixtures and constitute 32%. Private compound cattle feed manufacturers constitute about 22%. Dairy cooperatives in India supply low cost compound feed to farmer members while private feed manufacturers mainly cater to the requirements of farmers with independent operations and the buffalo meat industry.
Commercial cattle feed
The cattle population is fragmented and spread over large parts of the country. Low levels of awareness on cattle nutrition calls for educational programmes to create broader market for compound feed. More than 50% of the country\'s total milk production comes from a very large number of low-yielding cows and buffaloes. Commercially manufactured compound cattle feed has proved its value for cross-bred cows and buffaloes but not for low-yielding cattle because of their genetic limitations. Commercial cattle feed typically consists of raw material such as cornstarch, liquid glucose, dextrose, sorbitol, fabrilose, maltodextrin, corn gluten meal, soy meal, rape meal and mineral mixtures. Intake of cattle supplements improves the general health condition of cattle and leads to a high yield of good quality milk that is rich in fat, protein and sweetness.
The actual compound feed industry is just about 6 million tonnes, today. It is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4% for the next three to five years and reach at least 7-8 million tonnes by 2014. There would still be a significant gap between market potential and supply.