The way Green Revolution destroyed local seed varieties, White Revolution destroyed local cattle breeds replacing with hybrid varieties. Because of the awareness created by the nature exponents like Organic Farming Scientist, K Nammalvar and Zero Budget Expert, Subhash Palekar in the past several years, there have been thousands of farmers turning towards organic farming. Those farmers who switch to organic farming show more interest in rearing cattle for the preparation of natural inputs for cultivation.
At the same time, there has also been increase among the public towards nutrient rich cow milk because of the increased awareness on traditional food products. Hence, many raise local breeds of cow for both generating farm inputs and also for milk. As the local varieties of cattle breeds tend to provide less amount of milk, many farmers of Tamil Nadu tend to fetch local breeds originated from northern regions that provide more amount of milk for milk production. Rajesh Karthik and Prakash, both as friends, rear cows bought from other states of India.
Rajesh Karthik lived in Australia as civil engineer for many years and left his job, venturing into cattle rearing. Prakash worked as a village level worker for sixteen years and have got trained in artificial insemination from Aavin. Both of them joined hands venturing into cow rearing, by acquiring 6 acres of land on lease, near Sulur Muthukoundan Puthur village, in Coimbatore. One day we visited their farm to meet those friends.
Rajesh Karthik started conversing with us first. He said, “My native is Sencheri Malai. There is 6 acres of farm. I liked goats, cows and chickens from my childhood. As soon as I return from school, I used to go straight to the farm. I used to provide feed for goats and cows and only then I would go home. Then I would do my homework. Similarly, when there is school holiday, I used to go with the farm workers to graze the cattle. At that time, itself I dreamt of having a milk farm. I got a job in Australia after having completed my engineering degree. I worked there for six years. Even then I never lost my dream of having a milk farm. Whenever I found time, I was eagerly collecting and reading veterinary details on internet.
Besides, I continued to read many agriculture related books and magazines, including ‘Pasumai Vikatan’. In the meantime, I got married too. At a particular time, I had to come back to my motherland. As soon as I returned home, I made all efforts to start milk farm. I was determined to raise only local breeds from the beginning. I gathered information through internet on many local varieties such as Gir, Sahiwal, Tharparkar and Con Garage. That is when I developed contact with Prakash, who visited our village dealing with artificial insemination. He belongs to the village near Sulur, called Rasipayalam. As he has extensive knowledge and experience in milch cows I decided to associate with him. He was also desirous of associating with me.
There is lack of water resource in my own land. So we searched for a piece of land where there is enough water to grow fodder crops. We got this piece of land of six acres, where there is no problem for water. Our first task was to grow fodder crop in the land. This was followed by building the shed. Then went to Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and other states and interacted with the farmers, negotiating the price, buying 11 Gir variety, 6 Sahiwal, 8 Con Garage, 25 in total. We brought ten farm workers with their family from those states”. After sharing the story of how he established his milk farm, Rajesh Karthik took us inside the farm showing us those cattle from those states.
“After bring those cattle here, we spoke to a few milk sellers in order to market the milk generated from the farm. All of them informed us that there is increased need for milk from local breeds. They also agreed to buy milk from our farm. They asked us ‘you can give us milk for Rs one hundred per litre and we will sell it for Rs 120 in the nearby town’. When we calculated the overall cost and benefit it was found to be acceptable to us. At the beginning, we gained 150 litres of milk per day from 25 cows. Mostly it was sold as milk.
In case of surplus milk, we will make it as curd, curdle it traditionally, extracting out butter and then ghee out of it. From 17-20 litres of milk one kg of ghee can be gained. One kg of ghee was sold for Rs 1600. We prepare masala buttermilk at the farm and we share that with all those visit our farm”.
Prakash spoke to us followed by Rajesh Karthik. “In order to have milk continuously at the farm, 25 cows are not adequate. So, we decided to increase the number of cattle. We approached banks for loan. Many banks declined to give loan on local breeds.
In spite of that we continued to search for loan. And we were benefited too. The bank manager of Bank of Baroda, in Sencherimalai agreed to give us loan. They visited our farm and were satisfied with it. We were given loan for Rs 40 lakhs based on the documents we had submitted. We went in search of buying cattle immediately. Right now, there are 25 milch cows, 25 calves and 25 mates, 75 in total.
Currently, we get 50,000 litres of milk in a year. With Rs 100 per litre we get an income of Rs 50,00,000 per year. Through selling the manure, we gained Rs 2,50,000 per year. We get Rs 50,000 from selling ghee. So, in year, a total of Rs 53,00,000 is received as income. Per animal, we provide one and a half kg of cotton oil cake, one kg of wheat bran, one kg of husk, half kg of broken gram, half kg of maize, 30 kg of green fodder and 30 kg of hay as fodder. For a milch cow, Rs 140 will be spent for a day as fodder and for other mating cattle Rs 100 will be spent for a day. As an expenditure we spend Rs 35,00,000 for fodder, labour salary, house rent for workers, transport, lease amount and electricity bill, in total. At present, we get Rs 15 lakhs as net income per year.
As a conclusion, both, Rajesh and Prakash spoke to us. “As a next step, we want to expand the farm to other states. We have started milk farms on the Old Mahabalipuram Road, near Chennai and also in Thathamancheri, near Minjur. Similarly, we have started a farm in Karaikudi. We have also ventured into packing the milk in sachet and market it. We have started a buffalo farm, in Re Bareli in Uttar Pradesh, along with our friends there. We are desirous of raising 1000 cattle, producing many products such as curd, butter, ghee, arg, frankincense, soap, amirtha sanjeevini and selling them throughout the country”.
For contact, Cell phone: Rajesh Karthik: 80729 77532; Prakash: 99437 70000
(This article written by G Palanisamy in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan magazine dt 25/9/18 and has been transcreated in English by V Amalan Stanley)