If you make up your mind to start dairy the basic question is that cow or buffalo. If you say cow then what breed of cow, this is very controversial. So, I am giving below the merit and demerit of cow, exotic cow (Holstein and Jersey) and buffalo’s. Desi milking cows Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharper, Kankrage, they have a zone of comfort between 10°C to 40°C. They are not affected by high temperature in tropics. These cows are resistant to ticks and tick borne diseases (TBD). The mastitis is not a problem. Their reproduction is easy, to sell its milk is easy and you can fetch higher price.
But practically there are problems which I am discussing below
- The average production of these cows is below 10 litters. I have checked farms at Kalsi (Dehradun, Uttarakhand) maintaining Red Sindhi cow with best inputs. The average production of these cows is 6 kg. Some cows give even 15 or 20 litres too. The story of Sahiwal cow maintains at Pantnagar University near Nainital is also same.
- Once you maintain these cows the semen of progeny listed bulls is not available. Further every state has a breeding policy. Uttarakhand does not allow the breeding of Gir or Sahiwal breed. So every state has a breeding policy for state, like in Gujrat their policy for Kanakaraj. Better you to find out the state policy of the state you are living in.
- Problem of male calves the Holstein and Jersey sexed semen is available but of Indian milk breeds this is not yet available.
- Milk quantity it is said that milk of cows of Desi breed is better than the other milk, but this is not proven. The grass feed cow is for sure better milk because they make their omega 3 and 6 fatty acid, good for brain.
- The Desi cows are difficult to manage because of their aggressive nature. They may not accept milking machine.
- The breeding of Desi cows is seasonal.
Considering above points we can say that for home consumption and poor dairying farmer these cow at present are good but it is rare to make production business. However you can have half cross of Holstein and Sahiwal or Gir.
The other suggestion is that you may have herd of Brazilian Gir cows, these cows are parallel to Holstein and its semen is available with Indian American Breeds Association India.
Buffalos are seasonal breeder, after calving if buffalo comes in heat in 3 month then buffalo is calving after 13 of 14 month the pregnancy in buffalo is of 10 months 10 days. So, every year it’s calving in shifted to 1-2 month. What we are saying that if it calves in October then next it will calve in November and December, the next year in January and February. After that there is no breeding season so it is convincing in October. So after 3 years there is gape of 2 year. So the calving interval is long. Thus it is necessary to keep few cows with buffalo to fill the gap.
The advantages and disadvantages of buffalo keeping are as follow
- Long calving interval
- Cost of buffalo is high
- Heat is not pronounced
- Seasonal breeder
- Long maturity
- Aquatic in nature
- Live for 20 years
- At old age is sold
- Can be raised on rough fodder
- Male calve are sold at good cost
So the time of opening dairy is also important. If you are starting the dairy in winter months in northern India it is OK, but if you will start in summers you may lose your money. Be happy with good load cows producing over 15 liters of milk. And if you are producing 50 to 60 liters of milk in start it is good. You will have no problem in deposing milk. If you will bring high producing cow from Karnal and Punjab then you are likely to suffer losses. Because they will be high producing cows and change in fed fodder and stress of travel and lack of knowledge will put you probably in loss. Never purchase cow 20 days about to calve or recently calved cow. If it’s (20 days before and 20 days after) transition period it will fall sick or even die. Never purchase cows on months of rain (July, August, September) .
ADVANTAGES OF HOLSTEIN COW
- Easily available for 50000 to 100000 rupees.
- Produce over 20 liter milk per day and can produce over 50 liter/day
- Easy to manage
- No problem with milking machine
- Good quality semen available
- Sexed semen available
- Huge cows
- Repeat breeding problem
- Need cooling in summer 20
- Tick born diseases
- Mastitis problem
- Need green fodder
JERSEY COW ADVANTAGE
- Early maturity
- High fat content
- No reproductive problem
- Long life
- Can survive at poor fodder
- Heat resistant
- Small cow good for hills
- Heat resistant
- Disease resistant
- No breeding problem
Among the Desi cow only Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, and Gir has long lactation period. Sahiwal is good near river in lush green area, the Gir is good for dry area, low humidity and the Red Sindhi can tolerate the high humidity. Hope this description will help you. Now the good quality of HF Sahiwal, HF Gir cross breed semen is available. The Holstein and Jersey crosses do well. But to start with few cows of Jersy is good idea.
Bear the following in your mind
- Milking machine
- Loose system of Housing
- Sailage making
- Liquid Nitrogen Jar and Semen
- Start Dairy in September
- Calf starter