CHANDIGARH: Animal Husbandry sector in India contributes about 4.1% of the total Gross Domestic Project (GDP) with Punjab contributing 8.36% and ranking 5th in all India milk production. A rise in temperature by 2-4oC by 2050s will negatively impact milk production by more than 15 million tons by 2050 with respect to current levels of production. As per the scientific studies, milk production is severely affected by Temperature-Humidity Index (THI), it decreases in crossbred cows by 35-40% when THI increases by 72. Further, during summer, indigenous dairy animals also suspend their breeding activity and hence affecting milk production. Increased incidences of animal diseases have also been seen in the state with the rising temperature and humidity. The loss in their productivity adds to the population of stray cattle which damages crops and cause accidents.
Satnam Singh, additional director, Chandigarh climate change department says, “ Considering the foreseeable challenges of sustainability of livestock production system of the state due to changing climatic conditions a project “Towards Climate Resilient Livestock Production System in Punjab” of 5 years duration is being implemented in three districts of Punjab i.e. Ludhiana, Bhatinda and Tarn Taran for last two and half years.”
The project is being implemented through multi-departmental coordination where Pune based Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University(GADVASU), Punjab Agricultural University, Dept. of animal husbandry, dairy development board, Punjab energy development agency and Punjab state council on science and technology are involved.
The project had set objectives which are to ensure sustainable levels of livestock production in small and marginal farmer households (HHs) in heat stress conditions through activities like artificial insemination, ester synchronisation, heat resistant sheds, fodder availability and disease forecasting system.
Sarvpreet Singh Ghuman, professor in GADVASU says, “ Though this project was envisioned for Punjab but for the first time in India , this project also proposes to develop and demonstrate weather linked insurance product for indigenous and crossbred cattle to compensate farmers across the country for loss in milk yield, which is expected to revolutionise the milk economy by encouraging farmers for adopting indigenous dairy animals, as their livelihoods will be ensured under climate stress periods. By the end of the project, the full package for insurance will be prepared and concerned insurance agencies will be hired. This way, this project will not only farmers of Punjab but others across the country.”
He says that around three decades before our indigenous cattle was cross bred to increase the milk production from 5 liters to 30 liters. But these exotic crossbreeds are less likely to adapt to soaring temperature under the climatic variation like local breed who lived for centuries in the country so the emphasis is now being paid to propagate local cows and buffalos with improved germplasm to give milk production as well.
JPS Gill, director, GADVASU further adds, “ This project has various innovative and sustainable practices for integrating climate change adaptation in the animal husbandry sector. The project proposes for sustained livestock productivity throughout the year through technologies such as Artificial insemination and Estrus management. This project also provides an opportunity for making the best use of stray cattle by housing them in a large climate resilient sheds so that at least 10% of them breed while making good use of available resources in the shed, such as dung for biogas plant for renewable energy, rainwater harvesting etc”
He says that Dairy Development Board is constructing around 300 such sheds which maintain less temperature with use of fans, water sprinklers, ventilation etc which will be given to farmers on 75% subsidy costing around 1.5 lakh each. Three thousand farmers and livestock owners have been trained in other related activities such as preparing silage fodder in the winter months to make up for the shortage of fodder in summer for which they have been distributed airtight silage bags free of cost
Date: 16 Jan 2019