Cattle Farming

Cattle farm upgrading

The size of the farm has expanded in recent years but the staff and infrastructure facilities sanctioned way back in 1982 for 90 cows are not enough to manage around 500 animal heads. The existing under-paid staff works round the clock at the farm to handle the hectic job, says a an official at the farm.

There is no clinical laboratory and the farm needs at least three multi-purpose sheds. The animal’s paddocks, hostel and other residential buildings.

In the farm are in dilapidated condition and need immediate repair, he claims. The farm does not have any internet facility, computer operator or a stock of agricultural inputs and machinery. The water channels are not lined which results in wastage of water and labour.

Farm experts say that arrival of Achay and goats has led to a difficult situation for the already over-burdened farm employees and the limited feed meant for imported precious breeds. Instead of jumbling them up with precious breeds, there should be small and separate breed farms for Achay and goats in hilly areas or in other districts, experts say. These even can be opened here as a lot of space is available inside the farm. But of course, these should have separate staff and budget for them.

The farm works to increase milk and meat yield of indigenous animals though cross-breeding with exotic animals, transfer dairy technology, propagation of high yielding fodder crops. It also acts as model farm for progressive farmer and has a teaching/training centre for veterinary graduates.

The artificial insemination centres (AICs) of the province and FATA are dependent on this farm for supply of semen. Young cross-bred male animals are also sold to farmers here on subsidised rates that give them an opportunity for natural insemination in places where AICs are not available.

“Farmers have learnt a lot from us and their income has increased by following advice of experts on how to modernise farms and increase milk and beef yield,” said another official at the farm.

“The cross-bred Friesian cows at the farm are high-milk yielding species that give up to 40 litres a day as compared to an average 4-6 litres yield by common breeds. This can substantially increase the income of farmers and bring prosperity to them,” he said.

“The original imported Friesian cows were highly susceptible to warm climate. Out of the 90 imported Friesian cows, 14 died in the first year. But now their cross-breeding with Sahiwali bulls have produced a breed that has adapted to local weather,” the official said.

The SPU at the farm prepares about 0.21 million doses of AI annually and earns over Rs10 million.

The official said that by importing more bulls for SPU, increasing the standard and amount of feed for the existing 31 bulls, and expanding the coverage of AI services, the income may go up substantially.

“This can save millions of rupees on import of foreign semen doses. We provide the locally produced semen straw to farmers for Rs50 while the imported one costs over Rs7,000,” he added.

“We have to import the technology that separates male and female semen for obtaining a calf of one’s choice. The SPU also should have a single machine for filling, sealing and printing the semen straws which will save time and increase its production,” he emphasised.

Another innovative technogy is that of the bio-gas plant in which dung is utilised for production of gas. “Any farmer having at least three animals can establish this plant with a one-time investment of Rs40,000. The gas produced is sufficient for two to three households. While the residue of the plant makes up the best fertiliser,” said the official.

The farm also has introduced various fodder varieties in the province. “One of the varieties named Mott grass has the potential to meet the fodder needs of farmers of the province. It has a per-acre yield of around 120 tons of grass per annum. It is liked by animals and can be sown on leftover places such as banks of water channel and other unattended places,” he added.

The Harichand farm has a total area of 561 acres but only 27 acres are under farm building and paddocks. The rest is under crops or fodder cultivation. There is a great potential for opening more specific farms for different animals here but of course with separate staff, management, budget and fenced buildings.

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