House hold family Cow is accepted to be the best change agent for poverty alleviation by experts at United Nations , and this concept is in complete agreement with our Indian traditions. Nutrition improvement for the family and Organic agriculture, which follows from rural cow wealth, adds to the health and prosperity of the society. Love and reverence with which Cow is looked up to, is a great tradition of Uttaranchal society.
Decline of Family Cow tradition:
Declining Pasture availability makes it very difficult for the rural subsistence farming to take care of heifers and dry cows. Under fed cows result in very poor health and productivity of household cows. It is possible by innovative technological interventions, to provide alternative locally available and affordable cattle feed strategies.
Cow care resource Centers
A sustainable stand alone community -public private partnership model for Rural Dry Cow Care Center is proposed here to address these problems.
Main Activities of the cow Care centers:
1. Care of Dry Cows and Heifers of the area.
2. Pre partum and post partum services for the local cows.
3. Implementation of cost effective locally grown Green Forage feed strategies by
modern innovative technological interventions.
4. Provide good breeding facilities for the community cattle.
5. Demonstrate and train local women and youth in modern veterinary care.
6. Provide Crèche/ Nursery school with Milk breakfast/midday meal facility for
their accompanying children.
7. Provide women with adult literacy and mother child nutrition care, by
integrating Angan Wari schemes with the resource center.
8. Day care center for neighborhood cows.
These centers can each have local community area specific, multiple roles. Local women and youth can bring their own as well as their neighbor's cows to the day care center. These centers can also provide a crèche and nursery school to facilitate the day stay of young mothers.
Rural ladies will not have to eke out their life by arduous back breaking work of surreptitiously visiting forest lands to rummage for fodder and fire wood. Ladies can be given training in better cow care and mother child nutrition and literacy help also while they devote time in helping to run these centers while doing Go Sewa in looking after their own cows. In this manner these centers can also be an integral part of 'Angan Wari" Central Govt. scheme, and an excellent platform for the Women Self Help Groups. Training of the Youth in animal husbandry and dairy practices can be also be made a part of the activities of the center. With distance learning open school schemes these centers can thus enhance self employment capability of the rural youth.
Normally in a Cow population under good managed conditions at least one third cows should be wet- giving milk. Maximum one third cows could be dry and needing pre-parturition and post-parturition care. In a village cluster area, having a total population of say 500 cows, a resource center to provide extension services. The number of heifers in a herd of 500 cows could also be about 100. Thus a total care of about 250 cows should be considered. All dry cows of the area can also be accepted for care in the proposed Cow Centers. These cows will be provided with subcutaneous RFID (radio frequency identification devices) for follow up and linkage with the original owners.
These cow centers can be considered for being set up by providing a minimum ten years lease of the available waste lands .
Sustainability/ Support Services
Cow owners will have the first option to redeem their cows after calving from the cow center. These centers should strategically operate as self sustainable stand alone institutions. The commercial working terms can be decided by the individual community leadership.
Govt. establishments and knowledge institutions, will provide initial setting up help, and on regular basis, expert knowledge, training and Veterinary care help as community service.
Initially on about 4 to 5 hectares of waste land sites in a few selected districts such cow care centers can be set up to serve as models. The local rural community leadership, area KVK, Uttaranchal Animal husbandry department, Knowledge institutions like Pant Nagar University, UCOST (Uttaranchal Council of Science and Technology), as they have already shown their interest in these projects, can all play a big role in the successful operation to show a model cow care policy for the entire country to emulate.
Improving Milk Yield of Indian Breeds of Cows and improving the quality of milk of India cows.
Productivity of the Indian breeds of cows has declined progressively in the past mainly due to endemic poverty and inadequate resources in the rural areas. The results have been :-
1. Loss of Pasture lands, due to inadequate care, management and overgrazing.
2. Inappropriate housing and environments, Sanitation, Lack of fresh air,
Inadequate attention to Sunshine, Proper Ventilation, Heat stress, Improper
3. Lack of local availability of good Veterinary health care facilities
4. Inbreeding due to lack of knowledge about ill effects of inbreeding in Cows.
5. No cattle marking and identifications being practiced.
6. Inadequate attention /availability of good breeding bulls,
7. Lack of awareness and availability of Clean/good appropriate quantity of feed
and drinking water,
8. Neglect of adequate feed and care of dry pregnant cows,- Pre partum-post
9. Neglect of weaning calves by not providing them with adequate mother's feed.
10. Loving and sensitive comfort care by staff, trained in good cow keeping
Better attention to these areas along with better breeding practices can in just two to three generations of cows ie. in a span of less than ten years, can show very significant improvements in health and milk productivity of cows even without exotic cross breeding practices.
Improving the Quality of Milk
TMR being replaced with GREEN FORAGE
Dairy practices involving concentrated formulated feeds, TMR (Total Mixed Rations) are now considered to produce poorer quality of milk that is admitted to be the leading cause of many modern diseases. It is now accepted world wide that only Green Forage/ Pasture fed cows provide healthy milk.
CLA& Omega 3
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acids) and high Omega3 ALA (Alpha linoleic Acids) contents, are present only in Grass Fed Cows' milk. CLA9 ( Conjugated Linoleic Acids), Omega 3 ALA (Alpha linoleic Acid) rich milk is now regarded as the only natural food, which is a preventive as well as a medicine for all the self degenerating diseases in human body namely Obesity, Breast Cancer, Diabetes, Blood pressure, Alzheimer, Osteoporosis etc.
Only natural Vitamin D enabling milk is obtained from grass fed cow by the exposure of cows to sunshine. Vitamins A, D, E and K being fat soluble, only when accompanied with CLA and Omega 3 lipids, provide the nutritive functions for the human body in natural form.
Minerals in human diets, also depend on the presence of these high quality lipids for best nutritive assimilation in human body. For instance it is now being recognized that Calcium can not be metabolized in human body in absence of minimum quantity of lipids. Calcium tablets with synthetic Vitamin D are a very big business, but of doubtful utility.
This type of good milk has been found in cows which move about in the open Sunshine and feed on Green Forage, and Algae. New Zealand earns 40% of its foreign trade revenue by selling such milk only.
NZ scientists have discovered that milk of most of Bos Taurus breeds designated as A1 milk, undergoing human digestive process, fractures in to a 7 element peptide designated, BCM7 (Beta Casomorphin 7). BCM7 is an opioid linked to many human diseases from Autism and Diabetes type 1 in infants to Heart troubles, Cancer, Diabetes Alzheimer etc in adults. Only milk of Bos Indicus cows designated as A2 milk is found to be benign.
For India, which has the world's largest population of Bos Indicus cows, this is a very significant finding. This also confirms the ancient Indian views, about importance of milk from Indian breeds of cows.
NZ scientists have by promoting A2 milk designated milk and have added one more dimension to 'good' milk concept. In coming days all good milk will be milk of 'A2 type' and from Green Forage fed Bos Indicus Cows. ( Jersey, Guernsey and Icelandic Cows are also known to have A2 milk)
In a way this suggests a very promising future for the cows of rural India, as more than 80% of Indian cows are Bos Indicus. Thus it becomes very important for us in India to find ways to provide Green Forage to cows in our country to increase both the productivity and the quality of their milk.
The world dairies are aiming at shifting, all their milk production to high quality Organic, Probiotic Milk and milk products. We need to remind ourselves here that the entire original Indian Cow's milk was based on free Pasture feeding and was the best product. Modern dairy science is gradually only now, waking up to this fact. Even the importance of consuming Raw Unpasteurized milk which we in India used to call Dharoshna is now being reestablished.
These are the commercial aspects of challenge; we in India should visualize in the future world milk market.
Alternatives to Pasture Lands
Only well managed Pasture lands can ensure supply of such good quality healthy milk. India has little chance of generating adequate pastures for producing good quality milk. In India, with growing population pressure, there is little possibility of developing any Pastures. Fodder growing on farm land is also considered an uneconomical land use. Innovative technological interventions and some lateral thinking on cattle feed strategies, suggest a starting point..
Growing of Hydroponics fodder ( Soil less controlled environment) 1000Kg per day requires just 30 sq meters of space, which means 300 times higher productivity from land. Irrigation water needs for hydroponics fodder growing are similarly very small being only 4% of water required in conventional fodder growing. All coarse grains/ grasses can be sprouted and fed along with their root mass as sprouted grains and about 200 cms long green grass. Hydroponics feed is considered three times more nutritive than just conventional green fodder. The sprouted grains as an alternative enhance the nutritive value of dry concentrated feeds. This practice has been very well researched and used since 1960s by the pioneering work Dr Murray Smith of Lambert Canada for race horse keepers.
Hydroponics for cattle, is now a very well established strategy in Australia, New Zealand, Israel and USA etc.
By modern innovative technology, Hydroponic Fodder can be considered to bring Pastures to our cows instead of our cows going to Pastures. A Green Forage Feed mix can be designed for Indian conditions. Hydroponics Fodder can be planned to provide say up to 12/15 Kg or more of sprouted coarse grain, about 200 cms high Green fodder as feed for a cow.
Hydroponic Fodder is Organic
Hydroponics fodder is Organic, pesticide/disease free. Hydroponics fodder consisting of sprouted grains, is also of very high digestibility, is rich in minerals and vitamins. Live fresh green feed also provides metabolically high energy instead of cut dead dry silage and solid/coarse grounded grain feeds. Hydroponics Fodder has extremely high digestibility also as compared to other feed formulations.
Hydroponics Fodder in Uttaranchal
A Hydroponics chamber to suit Uttaranchal working can be very easily placed in our proposed cow care centers in Uttaranchal. In fact UCOST and Swami ji at Parmarth Niketan have been in the past many years showing their interest in Hydroponics Fodder for Uttaranchal. It may not be out of place to mention that an imported Hydroponics Fodder unit 'FOMETA' was obtained for cattle breeding farm at Gopeshwar Chamoli in May 1988. This unit had very successfully produced 1000 kg on daily basis of Green fodder for nearly three years, till for legal considerations the operation of this chamber had to be discontinued on an all India basis.
Today after twenty years the technology has made great progress. The Uttaranchal climate is extremely suitable for Hydroponics Fodder production. There is no need to import any Hydroponics Devices for India.
The operation of the Hydroponics Chamber requires a relatively more skill full handling. In these Cow Care Centers, it will be quite feasible to successfully operate and demonstrate the usefulness of Hydroponics Fodder as a cost effective modern cow nutrition technology intervention.
2.Moringa Oleifera, Leucaena, Mulberry, Oak : Use of leaves of such perennial trees are known to provide very good nutrition for cows. No effort has been made in India for harvesting the leaves of these perennial trees by intensive cultivation and coppicing of these trees. Green fodder harvest of 650 tons/hectare has been reported from Moringa plantations. ( Dr Martin L Price, Echo technical notes The Moringa Tree 2007) This is nearly three times higher than the best managed fodder production from land by intensive technical inputs.( Fodder and fodder grasses of India by Dr Punjab Singh). About 6 to 10 Kg of these green leaves can be added to supplement the green forage feed of our cows. Suitability and palatability of Moringa leaf fodder is well researched documented and established. (Effect of feeding different levels of Moringa Oleifera to creole dairy cows on intake, digestibility, milk production and composition, Nadir Reyes Sanchez, Eva Sporndly, Inger Lesdin)
3. Marine source feed. For ALA Omega3 in Milk, a Marine source feeds are also considered desirable. Fish meal additives to cow feed, have been suggested by cattle nutritionists. Cow is a herbivore and the long term effects of fish meal additives to cow feed may not be very different than the previously experienced strategies which resulted in Mad Cow Disease. As a herbal alternative Azolla and similar algae should be given a consideration. In south India Azolla has been found easy, more productive and efficient to produce as a fodder crop in shallow ponds. Algae Marine plants about two to three kg per cow as supplementary feed has been tried on cows in South India and is known to improve milk yields. Azolla and similar BGA ( Blue Green Algae) have shown very high yield potentials. According to South Indian users it is reported that 770 tons/year of Azolla can be harvested in one hectare space.
4.Roughage Bhoosa feed : Bhoosa up to about 2 to 3 kg per cow, with above green forage can become a complete balanced feed for our cows.