The dairy way, tried and tested

The dairy way, tried and tested

Milking technology installed on a dairy farm at Rode village in Moga district. Tribune Photo

Kulwinder Sandhu

Back in the 1970s, when the Green Revolution and the White Revolution were at their peak, Randhir Singh, a resident of Rode village in Moga district, ventured into dairying as an allied profession of agriculture with a herd of 50 buffaloes.

Now, his son, Sukh Harpreet Singh, owns a herd of 250 cows and buffaloes that gives 1,500 litres of milk every day. He has kept high milk-yielding breeds of Jersey and Holstein cows and a few Neeli Ravi buffaloes. The average yield of milk from the cows is 30 litres per animal per day.

He has constructed huge sheds with foggers and fans to maintain the temperature during the peak summers and has adopted modern technology. He also grows fodder on 25 acres.

He says, “I don’t compromise on the feed of the animals. I grow green fodder without using chemical fertilisers and pesticide sprays. I prepare dry fodder on order from reputed companies by giving specifications of mineral requirements of the animals in varying climatic conditions. It helps me get constant yield of milk throughout the year.”

“I oversee herd management with the help of six labourers. I also focus on the cows that need greater attention so that they remain healthy. Although things don’t always go as planned, our aim is to keep the cows in such a condition that they produce quality milk,” says Sukh Harpreet.

He attributes his success to the adoption of state-of-the-art technology. “I have installed an automatic milking machine plant that can extract milk from 20 animals at a time,” he adds.

“I have visited Germany, Israel and other countries, from where I learned how crucial it is to always work for improvement, whether through new technology or updated management practices,” he says.

On his dairy farm, each animal has a number, which is visible on its ear. This helps the milking parlour keep a record of the quantity of milk produced by all cows. The database also has a health history of each animal, including vaccination details in accordance with the number.

The calves are kept in a nursery for about a month and given mother’s milk. Medical checkups are regularly performed and the calves’ growth is tracked. “We use quality semen, mostly from our own bulls, to produce good breeds of cows,” he says.

The milk collected at the parlours goes directly through the supply pipes, from where it is collected in the drums. The milk produced from this farm is directly supplied to Nestle and Milkfed.

On the profitability of the business, Sukh Harpreet says that the average income from each cow is Rs 12,000 per year after calculating all input costs. However, in recent years, earning profit has become a challenge due to low milk prices. “The income from milk has decreased significantly, while operational costs around the farm have stayed the same or risen. It’s getting harder and harder to sustain the business,” he adds.

“I am doing my level best for the survival of my dairy farm as I have no desire to leave the business. Dairying is in my blood, but sometimes, I think of sending my children to a developed country and start a dairy farm there, hoping that they could have a successful future in dairy farming,” says Sukh Harpreet, who is also an elected member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC). He has attended more than 300 national and international seminars on dairying and has received more than 500 awards at the state, national and international levels.

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