Dry feed alone not enough, say beneficiaries of milch animal scheme
The non-availability of quality green fodder for feeding cows, distributed under the milch animals and sheep scheme, is viewed as a stumbling block by the beneficiaries who have plans to improve the production of milk, both in terms of quantity and quality.
Hitherto, according to official sources, 900 milch animals procured from Andhra Pradesh were distributed to 900 beneficiaries in 18 village panchayats in Kancheepuram district.
The beneficiaries manage to milk around 8 to 10 litres per day from their animals which are given paddy straw and cattle feed mixture available in the open market.
A visit to the home of Rameesa, one of the beneficiaries and consolation prize winner for proper upkeep of the milch animals at Vallakottai, revealed that feeding the milch animals with dry feed alone had not helped them improve the quality or increase the quantity of the milk. “On an average, we spend around Rs.1,500 to Rs.2,000 per month on procurement of cattle feed. Further, we recently procured a mini-lorry load of dry paddy straw from near Kancheepuram at a cost of Rs.3,000 even though the actual cost of the straw is only Rs.500. The remaining amount was spent on transportation and towards loading and offloading of straw,” she claimed.
Ms. Rameesa expressed the hope that she could improve the quantity of milk extracted from the animal if she could give it green fodder. “We have come to know that green fodder is available at Paddapai. We are trying to procure it so that our cattle can yield more than 10 litres per day.”
Ms. Prabhavathi of Vallakottai, the third prize winner, said that if more green fodder was available, it would definitely result in a higher yield of milk every day.
“At present, it gives us 4 to 5 litres per session. Feeding it with green fodder will definitely improve the quantity and as well as the quality of milk.”
At the same time, she said a more stringent procedure should be adopted by the village milk cooperative societies while procuring milk from the farmers in the area, including 55 beneficiaries of the scheme. “Each cow's milk should be tested separately for quality. Only then can the problem of adulteration be avoided and those who supply quality milk to the society can get the correct price for their produce.”
In a bid to ensure the success of the scheme, almost all vacancies in the district Animal Husbandry Department are being filled to improve field activities, according to officials. “It is also proposed to encourage the beneficiaries to take up rearing of milch animals as a full time activity by extending them loan for procurement of second milch animal based on their (beneficiaries) involvement in the scheme.”