Sunny Side of Chitradurga Dairy Products – The New Indian Express


Express press service

CHITRADURGA: Cattle form an integral and sacred bond with the Indian farmer. Apart from their role in tillage, cattle also provide milk as a source of sustenance and income. Considering that dairy farming forms an important aspect of the country’s agro-oriented economy, a lot of time and energy is spent on milking cows and buffaloes, which is a tedious task, especially when it is done manually. Farmers often spend hours every day, early in the morning and late in the evening, collecting milk, which they hand over to cooperatives or deliver to homes.

To make milking cows and buffaloes a faster, hassle-free and profitable process, several farmers in Chitradurga district have adopted solar-powered milking machines. Thanks to the abundant sunlight in these regions, these sustainable technological marvels have not only made the milking process easier, but also reduced the milking time for each animal. Unlike the usual 30 minutes needed to milk a cow, apart from the extra work required, a machine like this with its two draw points draws milk in 8 to 12 minutes and can be operated by one person. With this machine, milk can be drawn from 20 to 30 cows in one hour.

The solar powered milking machine was introduced by ‘SELCO’, a pioneer in solar power awareness. The machine works with a DC motor, which makes it financially viable for the farmer and comfortable for the animal. Sharing his experience of using this innovation, Devaraj – a dairy farmer from Hariyabbe village of Hiriyur taluk – says, “Solar powered milking machines have helped us get good milk production. We were also able to navigate an erratic power supply, thanks to solar power, while maintaining the health of the livestock.

He continues: “I needed about four workers a day for milking, cleaning, fodder supply, etc. Now, with this machine, all these tasks are done only by me and my brother. He took up dairy farming and every day he pumps around 180 liters of milk using the solar-powered milking machine, which has boosted his fortune. “We monitor the operation of these machines. If the feedback is positive, we will try to replicate it on other dairy farms across the country,” says Manjunath Bhagwath, Project Manager at SELCO.

A solar-powered milking machine, used to efficiently draw milk from cows.

India is the largest milk producer in the world, where 80% of the milk is produced by small, marginal farmers. In addition, dairy farming provides a secondary income for 80-90 million farmers in the country and is also a good source of manure. But the quality of milk production in India is lower than other milk-producing countries, largely due to a lack of skilled labor and investment in technology.

As farmers are often dependent on electricity, which can be erratic, solar power is being promoted as a reliable replacement for the future, which will also help power machinery, resulting in good yield and improved means of subsistence. As farmers are involved in a variety of agricultural activities, it is important that the milking of cattle is done with minimum effort, for which these solar powered milking machines are essential. In addition to speeding up the milking process, these machines also provide assistance during power outages, which saves them time for other productive activities, Bhagwath explains.

Moreover, the solar powered milking machine is reasonably priced. In fact, the cost of solar panels, two lamps and milking machines cost Rs 70,000, and a farmer can milk up to 20 cows. Banks and self-help groups provide appropriate financial assistance to procure these machines, he adds.

A total of 331 solar-powered milking machines have been distributed to farmers by SELCO, not only in Karnataka, but also in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The objective is to promote the use of devices powered by unconventional and renewable energy sources to intervene in agricultural and related activities. The demand for these devices is increasing significantly, as the animals are also not harmed by their use, unlike conventional electric milking machines. The adoption of this innovation ensured good health – of the milk, of the animal and of us.

Wider range

Currently, solar powered milking machines are in use in several states including Karnataka. There are 37 such machines in use in Belthangady and Mandya, followed by Kundapura (35), Hassan (25) and Chitradurga (15). This device is also used in Munger (Bihar), Tirupati, Madurai, Anantapur, Sholapur and Erode outside Karnataka.

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