A case study from Sindh Dairy Farm (SDF), Karachi-Hyderabad Highway Karachi
This study is based on the information provided by the owner (Jameel Memon) and many workers at the farm.
Overview of Dairying in Karachi: Karachi is the hub of semi-commercial dairy in the country. There almost one million lactating animals (60:40 ratio of buffalo and cattle) while producing approximately 8 thousand tons milk per day (average 8 liters/animal/day). There are almost 22,500 milk outlets in the city. The milk is sold as fresh without pasteurization or other treatment. The consumers prefer to buffalo milk.
Dairy Animal Composition
The ration among dairy animal is 60:40 of buffalo and cows respectively. The total animals at the farm are 9000 including beef cattle. About 3000 are lactating (33% in milk) animal, 500 beef animal and rest are comprised of all ages including heifers, dry animals, youngsters, and calves etc. Buffalo has mainly comprised of Kundi breed followed by Nili-Ravi. According to the respondent, the best buffalo at their farm is Kundi with Badeeni strain (type). Such type of Kundi breed is called as Kundi chorrh. Following Badeeni strain, Nili-Ravi with its appealing characteristics of wide cylindrical body and white patches (forehead, muzzle, foot and switch of tail) is one of the best buffalo at the farm. Other salient features of Bedeeni and Nili Ravi are the easy milkings, longer lactation length, thick milk and friendly behavior of the animal.
The dairy cows are comprised of pure Holstein Friesian and its crosses with the native cattle breeds, especially, Cholistani, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Thari. According to the performance records and respondents at the farm, the F1 cross of Cholistani and HF is one of the best choices both for milk yield and adaptation to the climatic conditions.
Identification and Ethnoterminology
There is no special identification system, especially for beef animals. The beef animals are mostly identified on the basis of their colors and ethnoterminology. Some interesting ethnic names are given below.
Badel, Nukra, Nchi, Reema, Malang, etc
Some are tagged with factory made plastic tags. The tags are imported from New Zealand with laser technology printing. The name of the company is Zee Tag. There is no software for identification, tracing etc. Two separate types of identification are use for cattle and buffalo. The tag system is useful for data about dead, culled, sick, dry, pregnant, lactating etc animals. The treatment is then easy. They identify the animal with long lactation and short lactation period are being differentiated. Common word of the tag was SDF (abbreviation for Sindh Dairy Farm).
Milk Production Potential at Farm Level
According to the farm statistics and other findings, the cow produces more milk than buffalo. The cow produces 14 liters/day (305-day lactation), while buffalo produces 8 liters/day in the same period. The farm has remarkable achievement and experience with the crossing of HF with Cholistani (HFXC) F1 and other native cattle as mentioned above. The best performance is proved by HFXC F1 with a production record of 54 liters per day as the maximum. The owner also praised the performance of Red Swedish with a yield of 80 liters per day.
They practice test day milk recording system at the interval of 18 and 19 days. The test day method for milk recording is an easy and handy approach for such a large herd like SDF. The good dairy characteristics are alertness, pearl eyes, slim and smart body, clear cut head and friendly behavior.
The milk is sold on a daily basis and sent to the city outlets in big tanks. Moreover, the farm has 4 chillers with a capacity 1000 liter each. Hand milking is practiced and 12 animals are milked by a milker daily. Almost 250 milkers work at the farm, which is probably the unique of its kind throughout the world.
Selection and Management of Future Dairy Animal
Future heifers are selected on the basis of their parental performance (pedigree record). They simply select female calves with good health; alertness and pedigree performance (milk production of 20-22 liter/daily). Also, some other traits like udder structure (of their mother), teats placement, easy milking etc are also considered. Bull is only selected for crossbred cows with the criteria discussed above. For pure breeds, semen is imported from the companies within the country and abroad.
Housing and adaptation
Wide paddock with open barns is the major housing facility at farms. Some big barns with double row tail to the tail system are also constructed for HF and other exotic breeds. It was noticed that HF and other exotic breeds are feeling more heat than the other and some were found with labor breathing. They do not feel good when temperature crosses 40 °C. The weather of the region is hot and humid in summer.
Calf care and feeding;
They offer colostrums just after birth. If they do not take it, it is offered then through canola orally. They do not practice milk replacer or other supplementary feed to the calves. They keep calves on whole milk for 60 days. According to them, such practice is security to the calf health and vigorous future crop. They do not inject booster or other stimulating hormones except that of Oxytocin.
Feed and feeding
A mixture of green roughages with wheat straw is offered throughout the year. Total Mix Ration (TMR) is also offered to the dairy animals according to the milk yield. TMR is formulated and prepared at nutrition section of the farm. They use maize, pulses, soya meal, rice noodles (expired), canola meal, palm cake, cotton seed cake, wheat bran, rice polish, molasses etc for TMR production. They offer salt stone in the manger. Fresh water is provided ad lib and round the clock.
Unique Style of Good transport at Farm
They use bull/steer Cart for traction on the farm. Thari breed is considered as best for traction with a traction power of 3.6 ton. There are about 10 traction bulls at the farm.
Manure Management and Traditional Knowledge
The manure is dried in the open paddock and use for bedding of the animals. The extra manure is being sold to the garden farmers of banana and mango @ 500 PKR per truck. Such price is very minimal if compare to the prices in other parts of the country.
As a traditional practice, manure use for fumigation, fly repletion, ticks and other external parasites control at the farm. The ashes of the manure are spread in the barns to control ticks and other parasites. Manure act as the biological control. They seldom use the chemical for fly and insects control. Chickens are also used for tick control and also are used as game birds by the employees residing over there.
Prophylaxes and Health Care
A veterinarian with Para-veterinary Staff is available to treat animals systematically. Febrile and respiratory diseases are the major ailments at the farm. Only vaccination for FMD and Pneumonia are practiced.
Pakistan is one of the largest milk producing country in the world. The demand for milk is ever increasing because of many reasons. The gap between demand and supply of milk is widening. Also, efficiency gap between potential and production is very wide. To fulfill such gaps, modernization is on its way in the dairy husbandry of the country. Commercial, semi-industrial and industrial enterprises are being introduced to replace rural based subsistence dairying. SDF is a unique example of its kind about semi-industrial dairy production. There are many challenges and gaps in such systems, need to fulfill for the abundant and secure supply of country’s masses.