As dairies cut down on cow milk, farmers find the cows a burden

Rajendra Hajare and Santosh Bhise
Saturday, 23 June 2018

Dairies like the Kolhapur Dudh Utpadak Sangh operated Gokul milk and others have either reduced the rates for cow milk or have completely stopped procuring cow milk. This has completely stopped procurement on 1,30,000 litres of milk in the areas near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border and pushed farmers to try and sell their cows.

Pune: As dairies are increasingly avoiding the less fatty cow’s milk, cattle markets in southern Maharashtra are seeing the rates of cows falling to almost half their earlier values. Farmers are avoiding the purchase of cows as milch animals, so are butchers due to the beef ban in the State. Both factors are affecting the cattle market adversely.

Milch animals are considered one of the most important subsidiary businesses of farmers, providing them with a regular cash flow and additional income. While the dairy sector in the State is already undergoing a struggle to sustain rates of milk per litre, the cattle trade has been highly affected by the cow slaughter ban and farmers are finding it more difficult to sustain cows as their preferred milch animals.

Dairies like the Kolhapur Dudh Utpadak Sangh operated Gokul Milk and others have either reduced the rates for cow milk or have completely stopped procuring cow milk. This has completely stopped procurement on 1,30,000 litres of milk in the areas near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border and pushed farmers to try and sell their cows.

In the cattle markets at Nipani, more than 700 cows were sold in the weekly market due to the decision of the dairies. A cow which usually earns them more than Rs 50,000, is being sold at rates as low as Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000, causing losses to dairy farmers. Of the 11,00,000 litres of milk procured by Gokul, 6,50,000 litres of milk comes from cows. 

“Gokul has decided to procure only 30 per cent of cow milk from the border areas. We are left hapless in thinking what to do with the rest of the milk. We want the dairies to take into consideration the dairy farmers in this region and then decide,” said Sachin Patil, a dairy farmer from Nipani. “Gokul has issued letters to procurement agencies saying that it will face immense losses if it procures cow milk as there is an excess production of cow milk in the State,” said Arun Deshinge, milk procurement agent from Benadi.

“Hybrid cows are facing even worse situation. There is a lot of incoming but no demand. As rains begin, we were expecting a rise in demand, but customers are not even visiting the cattle markets,” said DT Patil, Senior Clerk at Miraj Market Committee. 

Sagar Jadhav, a farmer, said, “I have been trying to sell my cow in all markets but the rates are too low. The rates of fodder have risen and milk sales have fallen, making cow rearing a loss-making proposition.”

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