Milk output dips as dairy farmers fail to rear calves

Milk production is falling in Punjab every year because dairy farmers fail to rear calves, due to which the cattle shortage is increasing and milk prices too are rising. This was revealed by Dairy Development Board Director Dr Inderjeet Singh on a visit to the city. He, however, told farmers about a calf milk replacer diet. "As of now, a young calf takes mother's feed for three months and, thus, the dairy farmer's milk sale get reduced," he said.

"However, the calf milk replacer is a new diet which is very popular in Holland and other countries and is likely to be introduced in Punjab too. With this, the young calf needs to take mother's feed only for five days and from the sixth day the calf can be shifted to the milk replacer diet," he informed. "Thus, the farmer can then sell the cow's entire milk yield in the market," added Singh. "With this the cost of rearing a calf will also be reduced to about Rs 50,000 which is at the moment about Rs 75,000."Tajpur Road Dairy Welfare Association President D S Oberoi said, "A calf takes three years to become a milk producing animal. Till then our cost on the young animal is not less than Rs 75,000 while we get a new cattle at about Rs 60,000."

"So dairy farmers prefer to buy a new animal. And, moreover, there is no space within our dairies to rear calves," Oberoi pointed out. Singh, however, noted, "Once the milk replacer is introduced, the cost will reduce to Rs 50,000 and, hence, the farmer can achieve multiplication of animals within the dairy and there will be no need to buy new animals."

Oberoi added, "We have demanded open space for our dairies from the Government which can help us to rear calves. As of now, the animals are living in congested spaces due to which even the milk yield is getting reduced." Sources revealed that many of the calves die after a few days in the congested dairies.

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