Calf Rearing in India with Tips on Products Information Guide & Advice

The health of a calf directly effects the reproductive capacity as well as the milk production. The initial months in a calf’s life are of the utmost importance as it forms the foundation for a high milk-yielding animal.

In the recent past, many measure and techniques were being adopted for productivity enhancement, but calf nutrition was often neglected. Adult animals that are well fed are still unable to yield high quantities of milk. This is because these animals were not well-fed during their crucial stages of growth, thus, resulting in poor reproductive capacity and poor milk production.

To tackle this situation, milk producing breeds should be given special attention to their health and nutrition especially during calf-hood.  The purpose to promote calf rearing programmes is to develop high-quality buffalos of a desired weight, that not only promote high volumes of milk per day, but also a longer duration of lactation per year.

Murrah Buffalo are found in abundance in most areas of Punjab and provide quality milk across the nation. To improve the milk yield and to raise the socio-economic status of a farmer, special emphasis on calf rearing and dairy assistance should be given to this breed.

Efforts by Milkfed Punjab are being made to promote calf health by implementing a Calf Rearing Programme for Murrah Buffaloes at various dairies. Farmers are encouraged with reliable calf rearing advice and information guide on calf rearing products so that essential nutrients are provided to pregnant animals and to ensure a healthy calf is born.

Calf Rearing products such as calf starter and calf growth meals are also given to female calves up to 106 weeks of age. Also, pregnant animals are provided with pregnancy feed in the last trimester. Good animal nutrition helps maintain immunity which is important to retain flexibility to deal with diseases. We at Milkfed Punjab aim at implementing calf rearing guide programmes that promote good nutrition that provides good health for the nation.

Mission Milk: National Dairy Plan

Dairy farming has grown hugely to an organized dairy industry with technological specializations in every part of the process. We have seen tremendous growth in dairy farming equipments that helps modern dairy farms to manage thousands of dairy cows and buffaloes.

National Dairy Development Board and IIM conducted a workshop in November’2016 at Chandigarh in which the goals and objectives of state dairy plan have been fixed. NDDB has proposed a draft National Dairy Development Plan to increase the Milk Production from the current level of 146 Million tonnes to meet the projected demand of 200 Million tonnes by 2021-2022.

To ensure the supply of quality milk to customers, National Dairy Plan proposed to increase the share of  organize section  in  milk production  to  65%  from  the  current  30%.
The main focus of NDP is to enhance productivity of mich animals up till 2018.

Based on the above goals, National Dairy Development Board is developing a State Dairy Plan and MILKFED is working on an ambitious plan to increase its milk procurement to 48 lakh Kg/day by 2020. 

Besides Projects coming up in the State Development Plan the following capacity creation projects are being planned at Federation level:-

  1. Milk Packing Station at Dehradun Capacity 50,000 Ltrs per day with budgetary outlay of Rs.10.00 Crs.
  2. Milk Packing Station at Jammu capacity 50,000 Ltrs per day with budgetary outlay of Rs.10.00 Crs.
  3. Milk Packing Station in NCR of capacity 1.00 lac Ltrs Per day to 2.00 lac per day with budgetary outlay of Rs.20.00 Crs.

With a production of 146.3 million tonnes of milk, India remained on top and contributed 18.5% of the world milk production. India will require about 200-210 million tonnes of milk by 2021-22. While the production of milk grows at 3% per annum, the consumption grows by 5%. The current efforts are aimed at bridging the gap in demand and supply.

Improvement of Milk Quality by Investing in Latest Technology

In India, where the population is largely vegetarian, dairy is a primary source of protein. Milk-based paneer, ghee and yogurt are all staples of daily life, making the country both the largest consumer and the largest producer of dairy in the world.

Milkfed Punjab has successfully achieved to become the number one Pouch Packed Milk Supplier in Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal. Milkfed Punjab always endeavours to be leader in market in milk & milk products quality and we never miss an opportunity to carry out investments in latest technology.

Production of maximum quantities of high quality milk is an important goal of every dairy operation. Poor quality milk affects all segments of the dairy industry, resulting in milk with decreased manufacturing properties and dairy products with reduced flavour quality.

Milkfed Punjab aims at carrying out investments in the Quality equipments. In order to analyse Milk components such as FAT, SNF, and Lactos, Milk Analyzer FT 120 of FOSS Denmark is installed at Ludhiana and Mohali at an approximate cost of Rs.60.00 lacs each. This machine enables liquid milk testing by analysing the main product components in milk as well as screening for milk abnormalities – all at once in just 30 seconds.

Milkfed Punjab proposed installation of various minor milk analyzers at all other Dairy Plants to test the milk proteins Lactos, SNF and Water, which can ensure the quality of milk. 1125 Automatic Milk Collections and 1301 Electronic Milk Tester are already installed at Village Level Cooperative Societies.

Installation of Automatic Milk Collection System (AMCs) is also in the queue. Automizing the daily milk collection process is the first empowering step towards the whole rural milk revolution. Large number of Bulk Milk Coolers for chilling of milk at village level Milk Producers Cooperative Societies likely to be installed in the coming years. Verka aims at providing a safe, wholesome, abundant and nutritious milk supply to all its consumers.

Women Dairy Cooperatives: Empowering the Women of Punjab!

The dairy co-operatives were formed in India after 1912; the real beginning was made only after the Second World War. The dairy co-operatives are organized with a three-tier structure i.e. milk producers’ co-operatives society at the village level, the union of societies at the district level and the federation of the unions at the state level. The process of organizing societies at village level started in Punjab in 1978.

Women play an important role in the dairy farming as they are the primary caretaker of the cattle. Milkfed realized that Women participation in Dairy Cooperatives can help rural women in becoming self confident, self reliant and can run Dairy Cooperatives more efficiently. Women Dairy Project has been undertaken in six districts namely Hoshiarpur, Ropar, Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar under Support to Training & Employment Programme (STEP) at an out lay of Rs.8.37 crores with 90% grant from Govt. of India.

Under this project, 390 women Dairy Cooperative Societies have been organized having around 20000 women beneficiary members. It is fact that at the household level dairying is largely the domain of women especially in small and marginal household families.

STEP Scheme constitutes providing support services for organizing, nourishing the Cooperative Societies for sustainable functioning. The process is coupled with creating awareness campaigns for the member women concerning management of the societies, enhancement of milk production by providing Breeding, Feeding and Managerial services to the beneficiaries. The programme also addresses the gender mainstreaming, health orientation and exposure of the member women to the process of empowerment in economic, social, political and legal sectors.

The Federation has a plan to prepare similar Project for remaining five Districts i.e. Sangrur, Bathinda, Farikdot, Ferozepur and Gurdaspur and has approached Govt. of India for sanctioning of Project & release of funds. In these districts 400 new exclusive Women Dairy Cooperative Societies would be organized.

Providing Milking Machines to Dairy Cooperatives & Progressive Dairy Farms

Milking management is one of the most important and crucial activities in the milk production chain. Early attempts at milking cows involved a variety of methods. Around 380 B.C., Egyptians, along with traditional milking-by-hand, inserted wheat straws into cows’ teats; suction was first used as a basis for the mechanized harvesting of milk in 1851, although the attempts were not altogether successful.

Around the 1890s, Alexander Shiels of Glasgow, Scotland, developed a pulsator that alternated suction levels to successfully massage the teat and extract milk. That device, along with the development of a double-chambered teat cup in 1892, led to milking machines replacing hand milking.

The milking machine is unique in the sense that it is one of the few machines which comes in contact with farm animals on a regular basis. Modern milking machines are capable of milking cows quickly and efficiently, without injuring the udder. The working principle of the milking machine is to imitate the suckling of the calf. The milking machine opens the streak canal through the use of a vacuum, allowing milk to flow out and prevents the congestion of blood and lymph in the teat.

 Milking machines keep the milk enclosed and safe from external contamination. Therefore, interior ‘milk contact’ surfaces of the machine should be kept clean by washing it regularly. For proper functionality of the machine, it is important to ensure that these machines are correctly installed and maintained in excellent operating conditions.

Milkfed Punjab with a view to produce clean milk and to prevent disease like Mastitis, and to upgrade the milking technology, initiated a scheme for providing milking machines to Dairy Cooperative Societies and Progressive Dairy Farms. This process reduces the milking time and any other contamination and thus reducing the somatic cell count. With these machines even ladies are able to take care of a large herd as they don’t have to depend on other to milk their cows.

Milkfed provides 50% cost of the milking machine of the choice of farmers. Till now approximately 1000 milking machines have been installed in its milkshed area and an amount of Rs. 2.00 Crores has been given to member producer as subsidy.

Silage Making: Nutritious Meal for Nutritious Yield!

Increase in the cost of concentrate feed ingredients and their limited availability, green fodder is considered an economical source of nutrient for dairy animals. Scarcity of water seasonally and at times due to failure of monsoon, results in scarcity of fodder for long duration.

Importing fodder and even straw at high price increases the cost of production of milk; making the activity unviable. Therefore, during the lean period it is important to ensure the regular supply of green fodder to the animals by conserving the green fodder and by increasing the production per hectare of land. In order to ensure regular supply of fodder throughout the year, conserving green fodder in the form of silage is one of the best options available.

Silage is the conserved green fodder having moisture content ranging from 65 to 70 percent. Fodder crops rich in soluble carbohydrates are incubated after chaffing for 45-50 days under anaerobic conditions. Sugars present in the fodder are converted to lactic acid, which acts as a preservative and a good source of readily fermentable sugars for the rumen microbes.        

The fodder crops, such as Maize, Sorghum, Oats, Pearl millet, and hybrid Napier rich in soluble carbohydrates are most suitable for fodder ensiling. Quality of silage can be improved with the use of suitable additives such as molasses, urea, salt, formic acid etc.

In order to fulfil shortage of green fodder, Milkfed has started community based silage pits in Kandi area of Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur, which are solely dependent on rains. The Federation has constructed 50 silage making pits at Milk Producers Cooperative Society Level. Equipped with fodder chaffing machines, this scheme preserves available green fodder as silage.

The objective of this scheme is to enhance milk production in the Kandi area by minimizing the cost of production by ensure availability of green preserved fodder in the form of silage during scarcity period.

A dairy cow is fed depending on the body weight or generally be given about 6kg to 35kg of silage per day. It is advisable not to feed silage immediately before or during milking especially when the quality is poor as the milk can easily take the smell of the feeds. During these times, a cow can be fed fresh grass, hay, legumes and concentrates. After feeding silage, the bunks and corners of the feeding troughs should be cleaned immediately to prevent contamination.

An initiative to Increase High Yield Buffalos in Punjab!

Fall in productivity of buffalo has been a cause of concern for Punjab. There were 6,170,730 buffaloes in the state in 1997, which further declined to 5,994,540 in 2003. In 2007, the population of buffaloes further declined and touched 5,035,630. Further, their yield has also gone down drastically over the years. As a result, the income of the farmers from the milk fetched too low.

On the initiative of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, the Punjab government has approved the project to establish 300 integrated buffalo development centres, each covering 5-6 villages in the first phase, which later on will extended to cover the entire state.

To improve the milk productivity of milch animals, especially buffaloes, by providing Artificial Insemination service at the doorstep of the farmers, Milkfed runs the Integrated Buffalo Development Centre (IBDC) Programme; funded under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) Scheme of Govt. of India.

This project aims at establishing 600 IBDCs and each of them operated by a local educated unemployed youth, covering 5-6 villages with a radius of 5 Kms to 10 Kms. These centres propagate Artificial Insemination in buffaloes with semen of bulls with milk yielding potential of 4,000 litres per lactation. IBDCs not only provide instant service to the farmers for Artificial Insemination of animals but also render service of deworming, vaccination, first aid, management and supply of fodder seed.

For effective implementation of this scheme, it is important to create an appropriate economic and production environment for the small dairy farmers who have very poor access to the existing services. In order to reduce calf mortality, dairy farmers should get their cattle protected through prophylactic vaccinations.

After the implementation of the scheme, IBDCs addition of about 86000 improved female calves of buffalo in the State in a span of about four years i.e. from the year 2011 to 2015 is a big achievement.

Fodder Development Programme: Boosting Productivity from Livestock Sector

Livestock is an integral component in the economy of India. The livestock sector in India contributes to nearly 32% of total agricultural output. The requirement of fodder is met mostly from the crop residues of various food crops and in a limited way from the cultivated fodder crops and ever diminishing pasturelands. With only 4% of total cropping area for fodder cultivation has resulted in a severe deficit of green fodder, dry fodder and concentrates.

In the current scenario, where competing demands on land renders the expansion of food/cash crops a difficult proposition, the probability of increasing area under fodder crops is nearly impossible. Therefore, to fulfil this shortfall in demand for fodder, accelerating production of fodder through promotion of integrated technologies and processes for enhancing the availability of fodder is required. 

A strategy to promote the supply of quality seeds, promoting production of fodder crops, extending fodder cultivation to currently unutilized lands, promotion of dual purpose varieties of crops which has the potential of meeting fodder requirements in Season and off-season, promotion of non-traditional fodder, post-harvest technologies for preservation of fodder, all these strategies should be implemented effectively.

Seed is the most critical input to enhance the productivity of fodder crops. Considering the shortage and non availability of fodder seed, Milkfed started its own Fodder Seed Production and Distribution Programme and has established Fodder Seed Processing Plant at Bassi Pathana in district Fatehgarh Sahib. This programme strengthens the production of quality seeds of selected promising varieties/hybrids of fodder with participation of farmers.

The annual growth of agriculture sector can be boosted by enhancing the productivity from the livestock sector. Therefore, it is important to create awareness among the farming community about the importance and development opportunities of fodder production, its contribution to increased livestock production, more use of improved seeds and demonstration of better agronomic practices.

Improving Quantity and Quality of Buffalo for Better Milk Yield!

India possesses 27 indigenous breeds of cattle and seven breeds of buffaloes. Punjab’s main dairy animal is buffalo, not cow. However, the breed of buffaloes is of low quality that leads to low milk yield. It was also found during the survey that one or more animals in some cases of 50% farmers are affected with infertility.

Efforts are made to protect and preserve the buffalos in their native tract, which are facing threat of extinction. Various central and centrally sponsored schemes are being implemented for genetic improvement of cattle and buffaloes.

To reserve the situation by improving the breed and milk yield of buffaloes, Milkfed has implemented the project through NGO Baif and J.K. Trust for establishment of Integrated Buffalo Development Centers (IBDC), under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana-2010. The programme is being carried out in 12 districts falling in border, Kandi, trans-Ghaggar and water-logged regions, where these centres have been set up.

As lactating time of the animal in a year is only eight months; for high milk yield, better quality of semen was the pre-requisite under the artificial insemination (AI) programme for buffalos. The Milkfed had set up 200 IBDCs, each of which has been providing AI services to a cluster of seven to eight villages at the door-step of farmers since 2011.

Till date 4, 45,781 artificial inseminations have been done by IBDCs. Most of dairy farmers are in remote areas but were happy with the Artificial Insemination services being provided at their doorsteps.

For effective breeding programme, breeders use a lot of information to select which animals will become parents of the next generation. Once an animal is born with a good trait, that trait can be passed to the next generation. Over time, more animals in the herd will be born with that good trait. This helps producers achieve their breeding goal. The process of selecting animals based on their genetics has helped advance agricultural productivity over the past 50 years.

To get better results in dairy farming more awareness camps should be organised and young educated youth should be motivated for the dairy sector. In addition, more interaction is required at the village and block levels to motivate landless villagers to go in for dairying. It’s time to extend this programme to those areas, which are untouched!