Rhodes grass growing should be done at irrigated agricultural lands of Baluchistan, KPK, Punjab, and Sindh. The project will be producing the Rhodes grass hay with installed capacity of 2,100 tons and initial utilization of 70%. All of the irrigated lands throughout the Baluchistan, KP, Sind, and Baluchistan carry the potential for investment in this project. However, in case of Baluchistan, especial care must be taken that the farming is either done on large scale or nearest to the densely populated villages and towns with existence of dairy farms.
The domestic market of Pakistan in shape of dairy and livestock farmers is present. The livestock population is increasing at the rate of 4.2% per year and accordingly its feed requirements are also increasing. The area under various fodder crops in the country is estimated as 2.31 million hectares and annual fodder production is 51.92 million tons. The target market of this scale fodder farm will be the domestic fodder wholesalers and retailers, the dairy farmers, and the exporters of hay.
Technology: The farm will use the imported hybrid seeds of Rhodes grass, and the hand held imported harvesting machine.
Location: The farming may be commenced on the irrigated agricultural lands of Baluchistan, interior Sindh, KP, and Punjab.
Product: The farm will initially produce and market the Rhodes grass hay.
Target Market: The local cattle feed wholesale/retail traders and dairy farmers, hay export market.
Employment Generation: The proposed project will provide direct employment to 19 people.
Cultivation Process of Rhodes Grass Growing in Pakistan
- Land Preparation: Prepare the beds well and evenly plain so that to ensure efficient irrigation.
- Seed Sowing: Sow the seeds by broadcast method in standing water. For good production, the seed rate should be 8 Kg per acre. The sowing may be done from the months of February to October.
- Application of Fertilizer per Acre: Apply 1 bag DAP, and 1 to 1.5 bag urea at the time of sowing, and then 1 to 2 bags urea after each cut.
- Harvesting: Use the Mower for cutting and cut above 4 inches from the soil. First cut will be ready to harvest in 50 days, and the remaining to be cut in 30 days. The production can be obtained till 3 years.
- Swath Forming: The Rake is used to form the Swath by raking the grass into even swaths, light tossing of the mowed mass in swaths, covering, throwing and doubling the straw swaths.
- Drying the Green Grass in Sunlight: During the raking the drying process starts and continues under sunlight till the moisture in fodder is reduced to 15%.
- Bale Making: Bales are made out of the dried Hay. The Baler pickups the straw swaths of natural and sow grass or straw, presses grass mass into rectangular bales and ties them with rope.
- Storage and Marketing: The bales are stored and then supplied as per orders from customers.
Financial Requirements for Rhodes Grass Farming in Pakistan
Total investment required to start Rhodes grass farming in Pakistan is approximately Rs. 14 million. All the figures in this financial model have been calculated for estimated sales of Rs. 26.46 million in the year one. The capacity utilization during year one is worked out at 70% with 5% increase in subsequent years up to the maximum capacity utilization of 90%. The detailed internal rate of return, payback period and net present value can be studied in the pre-feasibility study of Rhodes grass hay farming in Pakistan by SMEDA.