Sells only farm made ghee directly to end consumers and not the milk yet farm is self-supportable
“Rearing desi cows in a commercial dairy farm is very much profitable and financially stable. It is a misconception that only HF or Jersey animals can bring profits to the farmer because the milk yield is high! Although milk yield of desi breed cows might be less but the quality is much superior, it has been proved scientifically. Moreover, desi cows will never let a farmer face tribulations provided it is looked after well. In our farm we do not sell A2 milk of our Gir cows instead turn entire milk produced in the farm into ghee through traditional method. With only one product sales we are approaching towards attaining the self-supporting business model,” highlights Mr. Raghuvir Singh Baghel, founder, Gir Dairy Farm.
Gir Dairy Farm was started in 2014 at Sonkatch village, near Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. It is an exclusive indigenous Gir breed cow farm. The farm spreads in 20-acre but the dairy farm has been developed in 4-acre. The routine operations at the farm are managed by Mrs. Deepti Baghel, wife of Mr. Baghel.
Presently, in the herd of 38 there are 36 cows and 2 bull. On an average everyday there are 12-15 milking cows. Every day morning milk production is approximately 70-75 litre while 60-65 litre in evening. Roughly 22-23 litre milk makes one litre ghee. The fat content of the milk is 4.5-4.6% as claimed by Baghel couple. “We choose to sell ghee instead of raw milk because superior quality ghee was hardly available in the market. The existing rival ghee available was mostly adulterated and had poor shelf life. Initially it was a challenge to sell A2 milk based ghee at premium price of Rs. 1500/litre but we organized the awareness programs in schools and residential townships thus demand was created. Now we have close to 150 loyal customers and number is increasing consistently,” shares Mr. Baghel. Monthly ghee production in the farm is 50-70 litre/month. Entire ghee produced in the farm is sold directly to end consumers.
Milking is done manually twice in a day at 7 am and 7 pm. “We opted for manual milking because desi cows are more comfortable with this method and we also come to know about its health conditions on daily basis from its teat. We do not milk the cows early in the morning because the milk is processed in-house to make ghee and doesn’t have to be delivered to anyone thus cows and our staff both are comfortable with these timings,” shares Mrs. Deepti Baghel. On an average per cow milk yield varies from 7-12 liter/session.
Mr. Baghel shares the drive to start a dairy farm, “Belonging to an agricultural based family I always had a strong connect with the horticulture and dairy. Also as my father served Indore Dudh Sangh as director, he conducted many programs to promote dairy farming like walkathon. Seeing all these activities I got inclined towards dairy farming.”
Initially five desi cows and one bull was sourced from Gujarat. “We did extensive research and learnt intricacies to identify pure breed of Gir desi cows then after bought the cows,” informs Mr. Baghel. Specifically, Gujarat origin Gir breed was selected because climatic conditions of Sonkatch village is more suitable for Gir cows than other desi cows like Sahiwal, Tharparkar etc. In addition, geographically Gujarat state is closer to the village location than other desi breed source states.
Natural breeding is practiced in the farm as Baghel couple strongly believes to live and let live life as crafted by Mother nature. To avoid in-breeding the bull is changed once in three years and detailed documentation is maintained for every cow, bull and calf in the farm. Female calves are retained in the farm while male calves are developed as bull to be sold to other desi dairy farm owners or breeders. “It is time and capital intensive process to develop male calf as bull but we do it wholeheartedly because it is important to increase the number of desi cattle in our country. Till date we have sold 4 bulls,” he affirms.
Cows are fed with organic fodder grown within the farm premises. “We give dry and green fodder along with concentrate. Dry fodder is mostly wheat straw that is left behind post harvesting the grain. It is just a supplement for the cows while we focus on green fodder. We primarily focus of C12 grass (called ganna ghas in Hindi) as green fodder. It is complete food in itself for the cows having the balanced content of all vital nutrients as required. Apart from this we also give pearl millet (bajra) grass,” says Mrs. Baghel. The fodder is grown using the agri inputs prepared from cow dung and urine. Concentrate is a mix of different ingredients sourced from reliable sources. Post-delivery cows are given special diet for 15 days that includes wheat porridge, groundnut oil and jiggery. “It helps the cow to revive the physical strength.” Cows also naturally graze entire day in the farm because it is tied only during milking and rest of the time it moves around freely.
Cow shed is always ensured to be clean and odor free as the dung and urine are collected and stored suitably. Dry cows are also looked after well in the farm. “Cow is never a burden on the farmer. It is always sustainable for its dung and urine. We prepare organic manure from the cow dung and sell it at Rs. 8/kg. Every day each cow gives 10-11 kg cow dung that consists of uncountable micro nutrients. Dairy farmers must make use of this desi cow’s dung as sell it in the market. There is huge demand for it across the country,” suggests Mr. Baghel on managing to pay for rearing dry desi cows.
In future as the milk production increases new products could be added like butter and butter milk thus immediate plan at the farm is to increase the herd size to 100 cows. “Even when the herd size increases to 100 cows our focus will be on health of cows first and then the monetary gain,” insists Mrs. Baghel.
“Desi cows are given the status of ‘Mother’ in our country. This respectable status is given due to significant reason that, as a Mother takes care of her babies with self-less motive similarly desi cows takes care of the entire population. Every farmer in India must have desi breed cows in his farm, prosperity will surely follow!” signs off Mr. and Mrs. Bahgel.
Gir Dairy Farm
221 M.G. Road Sonkatch District, Dewas – 455118, Madhya Pradesh