An Overview of Dairy Farming
Dairy farming is an essential section of economy. Indian economy is highly supported by this field. It forms a subsection of animal husbandry which is an integral component of agriculture sector. In India the number of animals like horse, buffalo are proportional to the country's population. But there is increase in the number of pigs, chicken, sheep etc.
Nearly 26% of total agricultural income comes from animal husbandry. Milk production is increasing 5% per annum. In western countries cattle are used only for the purpose of meat and milk production. But since India ranks first in livestock breeding, natural fertilizers, organic manure, fuels are also produced from cattle. Due to which animal husbandry has become a source of income and hence meat and milk production has taken a subordinate position. The country earns near about 70,000 crores from livestock yield.
Why livestock are useful?
Livestock are useful due to following reasons:
1) They are useful in various cultivation activities like ploughing, harvesting, threshing, transportation etc.
2) Manures are readily available by rearing livestock.
3) Dung-cakes used for burning purpose are also available from livestock.
4) Milk production is an essential utility of livestock.
5) Cow-dung obtained from livestock is used for gober gas production.
6) Meat, wool, leather obtained from livestock has become a secondary source of income.
Success story of dairy farming:
In India, during the period of 1940-1950, the milk production was constant at 1.75 million. The cause of this stagnation was:
a) Increase in number of unproductive animals.
b) Spreading of incurable diseases.
c) Increase in death ratio of cattle.
Due to this the quantity as well as quality of milk decreased resulting in scarcity of milk in the country. The development of milk production in India started in true sense by 1950.The establishment of Array Milk Colony in Mumbai led to packed bottle milk supply extensively.
Packed bottle milk
During the first quinquennial plan (1951-1956), the dairy farming was introduced to supply milk in the cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkatta. The year 1951-1952 was known as Take of Stage in Indian agricultural sector. In this year the Indian government took major steps in improving the grade of cows. This reformation was done in scientific way. It included following scientific process:
The hybrid cattle breeds were improved step by step by using pure breed of bulls.
2) Pure breeding:
The pure cattle breeds are improved by using pure bulls of the same breed.
3) Cross breeding:
Pure breeds of cattle are crossed to produce hybrid varieties.
These cattle improvement projects were implemented in the country by taking following steps:
a) 146 cattle improvement centers were established in villages.
b) Pure breeds of bulls were kept for artificial insemination.
c) Animal procreation zones were established in various states which produced best quality bulls and they were used for improvement of cattle breeds by using scientific technology.
d) In 1954, “Amul”, the dairy plant for production of dairy products was established in Anand, Gujarat.
Amul - The Taste Of India
e) In 1955, the National Dairy Research Institute was shifted to Karnal, Haryana.
During this period, the country was raged with a viral disease of cattle called as Rinderpest. Death rates of cattle due to this disease were extremely high. The Indian Veterinary Research Institute developed vaccine resistant to Rinderpest. In 1955-56, the country organized campaigns for eradication of this disease, which reduced the death ratio of the cattle dying from Rinderpest. The disease no longer exists now.
The cattle improvement project went on developing year after year. The various improvements were made during every five year plan. They are as follows:
a) Second five year plan (1957-1961):
The major attractions of this period were:
1) 196 excess cattle improvement centers were opened.
2) 36 milk supply centers were established in major cities.
3) 3 dairy products plants and 3 creameries were established.
b) Third five year plan (1962-1966):
The major changes during this period were:
1) 30 milk supply programmes were conducted, under which 13 million liters of milk was supplied daily.
2) 4 more dairy product plants and more 3 creameries were established.
3) In 1965, the Indian government formed the National Dairy development Board.
National Dairy Development Board
The main function of this board was to work out and implement programmes for development of dairy forming to national level. Besides this the board also provides technical knowledge to various states about dairy farming and selling of dairy products.
c) Fourth five year plan (1967-1972):
During this period the improvements made were:
1) Intensive cattle breeding projects were initiated. Each project had nearly one lakh cows and buffaloes.
2) Operation flood -1 was initiated.
d) Fifth five year plan (1973-1977):
1) During this period operation flood-2 was started with the help of World Bank.
2) Crossing of exotic cattle with indigenous cattle was done extensively.
3) Special attention was given towards Artificial insemination, nourishment and procreation of cattle as well treatment of cattle.
e) During sixth five year plan, operation flood-2 was completed and during eight five year plans, new directions were given to the development of cattle by using embryo transplant and biochemical technologies.
The implementation of dairy development project brought a new revolution in the country. The milk production increased to a large extent and India became the world’s largest milk production country.
Challenges of dairy farming:
India has gained tremendous success in dairy farming. In order to continue at the top position, the country has to face various challenges. To reach the expected goal in dairy farming, following aspects should be taken into consideration:
1) Quality of cattle should be given importance rather than quantity:
In order to increase the production of milk, it is not affordable for the country to increase the quantity of cattle. Fodder and edibles are required for nurturing of cattle. But the grazing area in India is not sufficient. Today, the country has 42% shortage of animal fodder which will definitely go on increasing. Hence it is required to enhance the quality of cattle by using scientific technologies resulting in increased dairy production.
2) Limitations should be made on crossing of cattle:
Nowadays hybrid cows are developed to a large extent by artificial insemination using exotic breeds of bulls. This has increased the milk production undoubtedly. But the crossing involves almost all breeds of cows available in the country which has resulted in almost destruction of pure cow breeds. This should be decreased by crossing limited and selected breeds of cows and rearing pure breeds. The indigenous cattle are more resistant to heat and disease and they should also be used for crossing. The proportion of exotic and indigenous breeds should be 50% - 50%, so that the resultant hybrids are more healthy and resistant.
3) Development of buffaloes:
India has near about 8.4 crores of buffaloes. The death rate of buffaloes is 70% but it is still less than the number of buffaloes present till date. The growth rate of buffaloes is 3.5% which is highest among all domestic animals. The milk of buffalo has a greater demand. 52% of the total milk produced in the country is obtained from buffaloes. But the development of buffaloes is given least importance. India invests loads of money on cross breeding and not even 5% of this investment is spent on buffalo development. Since buffalo milk has greater demand, pure breeds should be used for its development and research should be done for its nourishment.
4) Business development:
The dairy farming is a good form of business. Educated unemployed youths should be given proper training and financial aid to develop this form of business. This will provide them source of income and the country will be benefited by increased dairy production.
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