By Brenna Goth/CIMMYT
Maize stover – the part of the crop left over after grain harvest – provides a promising option for feeding livestock in India, according to research by CIMMYT and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Now, the two organizations are working together to select and breed dual-purpose maize varieties optimized for both grain and stover production.
Maize stover is dumped in a field for use as a cooking fuel.
Maize production is rapidly increasing in India, largely due to the growing poultry industry, and is replacing crops such as rice, sorghum, legumes and wheat in some areas, said CIMMYT maize breeder P.H. Zaidi, who is helping lead research on the topic. To be sustainable, the crop must be able to produce a high grain yield and quality stover as fodder for domestic and commercial use. “Dual-purpose maize is needed to meet both the poultry industry demand for grain and the demand for good quality stover to feed cattle,” Zaidi said. In India, maize is largely treated as a single-purpose crop grown for grain, ignoring its potential for stover.