Runs dairy farm for preserving and promoting Indian desi breeds
“Indian desi cows have the ability to give more than 20 litre milk/day with good breeding practices and right fodder management. Since 2003 I am maintaining this farm for developing best herd of native milking cows of our country. Cows in my farm yield more than 20 litre milk per day even in 5th or 6th lactation cycle. Besides fat content in A2 milk yielded by all Indian desi cows is above 4% (average),” asserts Mr. C. Ganesan. His farm located at P. Chellandipalayam village, Karur district, Tamil Nadu is home to Tharparkar, Sahiwal and Gir breed cows as well as Murrah buffalo. “My farm is an experimental farm that is in process to become a model farm that would testify superior milking yielding capability and prosperity of Indian breeds over the hybrid cows precisely HF and Jersey. My farm is solely run for this passion and securing our desi breeds cows and bulls from getting extinct. Also I am breeding these breeds for being the reliable source of pure cattle for other dairy farmers. I want to see dairy farmers prosper with indigenous cows.”
Mr. Ganesan finds Sahiwal as the best milking breed of the country while Gir breed takes the second place. The fat content in the milk of Sahiwal is on an average 4.5%. “In the beginning of the lactation period cow gives more quantity of milk but the fat percentage is less. As the period progresses the quantity of milk relatively reduces and fat percentage increases. It is the natural process!” he elucidates.
At his farm in all there are 45 cows and 08 buffaloes. Sahiwal herd includes 13 cows and 01 bull. Initially three breeding stock (3 Sahiwal cows) were sourced from outside and rest 10 calves are born in the farm. “All deliveries were smooth and calves were healthy. The reason being I am extremely particular and cautious about the breeding practices and fodder management. Also I got pure Sahiwal cows in the beginning therefore their progeny (calves) too are pure,” he shares. Physical characteristics of cows and bulls are very helpful in identifying the purity of the cattle.
It is easy to identify pure Sahiwal cows and bulls as per Mr. Ganesan. “The colour varies from light to dark brown. The dewlap is very long as compared to Gir or other desi breeds. Hump is prominent, the most important feature to identify if the cow is of Indian origin! The tail is long. It has thick and long ears and short horns. In bulls the color darkens towards the head, neck, legs, and tail,” he shares.
With good breeding practices the cows will be able to yield above 20 litre milk/day claims Mr. Ganesan. He finds artificial insemination and natural mating both good provided the record of descent of bull is clearly known to the dairy farm owner and breeder. “In artificial insemination one has to ensure the semen is sourced from Government recognized or certified dairy breeding center. Similarly for natural mating the bull should be selected carefully. In both breeding systems the pedigree of the bull must be checked to make sure there is no in-breeding and the quality is excellent. Thus the offspring would be outstanding. National Dairy Development Board, Bangalore, Karnataka and Sabarmati Ashram Gaushala, Ahmedabad, Gujarat are most trusted and dependable sources for best quality bull semen for Sahiwal breed as well as other desi breeds,” he insists.
This breed is gifted with long reproduction cycle. It is alleged that pure Sahiwal cows can deliver calves 15-20 times. “In my farm one cow has already delivered 7 calves and the quality of milk is also very good. Health of the cow is also fine,” he states. The female calves are retained in the farm and male calves are sold to other farmers at nominal price for breeding purpose. “At the time of selling the male calf the credibility of the buyer is checked to assure it is not mishandled or misused. Male calf is sold only after it is two years old, once it has steady growth and development.”
Age and weight of the cow is very important when AI is done. The cow must be necessarily more than 2+ years and 250 kg in weight. Commonly the birth weight of female calf is 22-25 kg while the weight of male calf would be 24-26 kg. “These are approximate figures that are subject to variations in special cases. In our farm we allow the calf to have its’ mother milk as long as it wants without any restrictions. However we ensure every calf drinks atleast 10% mothers’ milk of its own weight. For example if the calf weighs 25 kg it has to drink minimum 2.5 litre. This ratio continues till it gains 30 kg weight. Once it is 6 weeks old the intake of mother’s milk is automatically reduced as the calf is fed with green fodder and calf starter. Commonly by the time calf is 12 weeks old it weighs 45 kg and consumes 1.5 litre of its mother’s milk. Then after it stops taking mother’s milk and the quantity of calf concentrate and green fodder is increased,” he highlights. Special concentrate mixture is calf starter that is made from protein rich ingredients. “Once must try to get these ingredients grown through chemical free farming practices. It would then guarantee strong foundation and best performance as the calf turns adult.”
In the first lactation cycle of Sahiwal breed cow the milk yield could be 15 litre per day. “However as the cow proceeds to next lactation period subsequently the milk yield increases per day. It could be more than 20 litre/day if the farmer invests his time and resources appropriately,” he adds.
Similar to every farm milking is done twice in day at Mr. Ganesan’s farm. It is done manually as well as with milking machine. When asked if Indian indigenous breeds are uncomfortable with milking machine he says, “No! It is all about habit. When we have more cows for milking then we use the machine else it is done manually. We clean the teats well before milking and when done manually the keeper follows all hygiene rules and regulations.” Milk is sold at a reasonable price of Rs. 50/litre.
In Mr. Ganesan’s farm all cows are fed with dry fodder, green fodder and concentrates. Concentrates are fed twice in a day before milking while dry and green fodder is given thrice in a day, after milking once in morning, evening and afternoon. It is allowed to have as much water it wants. Dry fodder comprises of rice and sorghum paddy straw while green includes pearl millet (bajra) and ‘Napier’ hybrid grass. The first harvest of napier grass is obtained after 90 days and then after it is 45 days cycle. All the fodder is cultivated within the farm premises using cow based manure.
In addition concentrates are given in good quantity to the cows during lactation as well as dry period. “We feed every cow with concentrates that is prepared in-house. It is imperative to feed concentrate to improve the milk yield as well as maintain the health and over all well-being of the cow. We make concentrate by mixing maize 40%, rice bran 33%, cotton seed oil cake/groundnut seed oil cake 15%, dal dust 10%, mineral salt 2% and common salt 1%,” he shares. All the ingredients are mixed properly and stored. When fed to the cows water is added in the concentrate just to make the mix moist so that it becomes easy for the cow to eat.
In dry period 1kg/day concentrate is fed to the cows for the maintenance of body while in lactation period it is given as per the yield of the milk. Usually the formula for the concentrate quantity to be given during lactation period is 350 grams/one litre milk plus 1 kg for body maintenance.
In addition to fodder and concentrates, “Cows are allowed to graze on my grazing land. In the dry period it grazes from morning till evening while those that are in lactation period graze till 1 pm and then return back to shed. Natural sunlight is also very important for the cow’s health so grazing is must. However during rains and when summer is at its peak we restrict grazing,” he adds.
Two months before the delivery date quantity of concentrates is increased because cow requires strength to withstand the extra weight. Sahiwal breed has easy calving yet the diet and health is monitored cautiously at the farm. Post delivery it is mandatory to cleanse the internal body of the cow mainly the uterus. Thus instead of concentrate gingely seed oil cake is fed to the cow. “Immediately after the delivery we give gingely seed oil cake to clean the uterus for first three days. In this time period the uterus will be swollen so concentrate is not given. However we even continue to fed gingely seed oil cake for 10-15 days. Later to which slowly it is stopped and quantity of concentrate is increased,” he says.
Cleanliness in the farm is mandatory for good health of the dairy cattle. “Ours is well-designed shed where cows are having adequate space to rest and roam around. Also we clean the cows and keep it neat. It is ensured dung never sticks on its body!” states Mr. Ganesan. The cows are vaccinated twice in a year for foot-mouth disease and de-wormed once in 3 months.
In future Mr. Ganesan wants to make his farm as model farm for other dairy farmers. “I want to grow all the fodder and ingredients of concentrates in-house. Then it would be 100% organic A2 milk. I am developing the farm in a planned manner so that dairy farmers can replicate the same model. Lastly my ultimate aim is to see Indian dairy farmers rearing only desi cows of country as it is our inheritance and we should stick to it,” he signs off.
Farm address: P. Chellandipalayam Village, Manmangalam Taluk, Karur District, Tamil Nadu.
Correspondence address: 70 Ramanujam Nagar, Karur – 639 002, Tamil Nadu
Phone: +91 9865209217