Nataraj, a dairy farmer, is not worried about power cuts. He is not concerned about the shortage of fertilizer either. For, Mr. Nataraj's integrated organic dairy farm at Mankikere in Tiptur taluk has a biogas plant with a capacity of 40 cubic metres. The methane produced runs a generator. The slurry from the plant is processed in a biodigester and the filtrate is pumped through a sprinkler to the farm instead of fertilizer. The cows are fed only organic fodder that includes legumes and non-legumes.
Mr. Nataraj set up the farm on a five-acre plot along with his brother, Jagadish, after getting the expertise from Akshayakalpa Farms and Foods Private Ltd. The brothers have been rearing 16 cows and they earn not less than Rs. 35,000 a month. They supply on an average of 95 litres of milk a day.
“Farmers need not have to depend on the State power grid to run pump sets as they can make use of the biogas plant. Reducing their dependence on the power grid is one of the objectives of our initiative,” said G.N.S. Reddy, managing director, Akshayakalpa.
“The cow shed has been designed in such way that our labour has been reduced. Many farmers in neighbouring estates have expressed their desire to start a farm like this,” Mr. Nataraj said.
The cost of setting up one organic dairy farm is around Rs. 21 lakh.
Akshayakalpa has been getting technical support from Stellaps Technologies for such projects. Mr. Shashi Kumar, extension officer, Akshayakalpa, said engineers of Stellaps Technologies had developed automatic milking systems.
“Twenty-five cows can be milked by one person in 90 minutes. Every cow has been given a number. The system is equipped with sensors to generate data on the body temperature of the cow, the quality of milk, the state of mastitis (inflammation of mammary gland) and it is fed to the central server at Akshayakalpa. On analysing it, we can intervene if there are health complications at the pre-clinical stage,” Mr. Kumar said.
Another benefit of the initiative is that farmers get scientific price for their produce.
“We scientifically calculate the production cost and fix the price. It is possible that a farmer can get a net profit of Rs. 75,000 a month with 25 cows,” Dr. Reddy said.
The firm has tied up with a private company to market the produce in Bangalore. About 800 litres of organic milk is being supplied to the State capital every day on a trial basis.