With the squeezing margins of profit, agriculture is no longer a profitable occupation due to which farmers have been facing a lot of problems for their basic subsistence.In such a dismal scenario, the only silver lining for the farmers is the allied farming sector, which has a huge potential in the state. In order to emerge out of the current agrarian crisis, the Punjabi farmers must take the initiative of opting for the allied farming activities like dairy farming, piggery, apiary, goatery and other such vocations. This will bail out the farmers from the crisis by supplementing their income.
Though all relative components are gaining success, obviously with varied rate of growth, dairy farming is the field, which is an everlasting and most acceptable trend in this scenario.Punjabi farmers have a major role in transforming India from a food deficit to food surplus nation and due to their hard work and dedication the state is now gaining name by rapidly inching towards the “white revolution.”Undoubtedly it is the hard work, dedication and devotion of the cattle rearers that the state is now producing 107 lakh tonnes of milk per day. The same time, we also can’t ignore the boost the mission is getting from the state government.
As Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal takes personal interest in this field, various schemes and initiatives, including the organisation of cattle fairs not only at the district or state level but also at the national level, are being introduced and implemented at different levels in Punjab. Subsidy on purchase of animals and the related infrastructure, establishing and improving veterinary health facilities are ta part of the scheme to promote the sector. Furthermore, import of highly productive costly semen meant to improve the breed of milch cattle also has a significant role in this direction.
Besides, aware of the developments taking place in this direction and keen to keep pace with the changing time by infusing new technology in dairy sector, the state is also moving towards adoption of Israel-based model of growth in the dairy sector.Among such efforts, the creation of state-of-the-art Semen Bank at Nabha and Ropar with also the Centre of Excellence on Cattle Development at Rauni in Patiala district has a major role to play as it would decrease the dependence of the state on high cost imported semen and embryo.
For collecting quality semen, the staff at Semen Bank ensures the bull is given comfortable atmosphere and once it is collected through artificial vagina, the collector tube undergoes highly sensitive digital procedure. Passing through various tests including the direct interface contrast microscope, the semen then proceeds for straw creation process in a germ-free laboratory. Within minutes, it comes down from 37 degree (at the time of ejaculation) to -196 degree Celsius, through different procedures of freezing.
Total breedable cows in state: 12.5 lakh
Total breedable buffalos in state: 26 lakh
Total production of milk: 107 lakh tonnes a day
As the state animal husbandry department wants quality results with least failures in conceptualisation only that ejaculation qualifies the process in which the sperm count ranges from 500 million to 5000 million sperms. It is learnt that each of the straws contains at least 20 million sperms. Each of the bull also undergoes morphological screening once in a yearly quarter. The mortality observation is one of the prime concerns of the lab staff.
To make it error-free system, the semen straws are formed in a breed specific colour-coding way. Once the straws are ready, these are put in goblets which are further placed in a biological storage container. As the sperm dies with each shock, the authorities have now decreased the number of straws in each of the goblets, which lie dipped in liquid nitrogen.
Taking no chance of committing mistake of accuracy, name of the animal, date of packing and the name of the centre are all printed on the straw and each goblet carries the slip attached with it for easy identification.
Semen Bank at Nabha
This 144-acre huge Semen Bank, located in Nabha city has come up as a boon for the cattle rearers. Having laced with ultra-modern facilities to keep the bulls in a comfortable zone, this centre has 120 bulls of HF, HF Cross,
Jersy, Sahiwal, Murrah and Neeli Ravi breeds of cows and buffaloes. The annual production of the semen straws of this bank is learnt to be 40 lakh. Though the whole of infrastructure meets the international standards for which it is qualifying for A-grade consistently, the most important part of this centre is that it meets all of its requirements within. It has a 110-acre chunk of land under cultivation of fodder for feeding the animals within. The structure is all equipped with monkey resistant electric wires all around and the entry of human beings is also completely controlled by bio-metric system.
The sheds for the inhabitants are also constructed with a technique to keep the temperature controlled to some extent through natural system. The authorities have also installed a special nibbling system for offering water to each of the animal that ensures no wastage and no contact of one bull with another.
Centre of Excellence on Cattle Development
This 32-acre centre located at Rauni village is the mother farm of the semen banks in the state as the bulls are born and nurtured here and also the semen collected at Rauni and Ropar is also sold here only. It is the one of the two Embryo transfer centres in the state and apart from the transferring the imported embryo it has also been working in generating the embryos within the complex. The centre also has the artificial insemination facility.
This is generally called as the cattle breeding farm, which also has the feed production plant. The objective of this farm is to produce high genetic bulls of different breeds like Holstein Fresian, Jersy, Cross bred and Sahiwal within the state, to reduce the requirement of the importing them at higher price. To produce these bulls high yielding and good breed cows and buffaloes are required and this farm has dams which give birth to such high genetic animals.
Milking parlour, modern ETT lab, scrappers for cleaning dung, bio-gas plant, feed processing centre and vet dispensary are all available in the unit. As the milk yield capacity of the cow and buffalo primarily depends upon the strength of the father, the authorities concerned ensure that only high genetic bulls are reared in the centre for purpose of semen collection.
The bulls which qualify the standards are sent to Semen Bank Nabha and Ropar. With the “White Revolution” being the ultimate objective, the authorities here have set the target of producing HF breed with 5,000-5,600 liters per lactation, HF Cross with 4,500-5,000 litters, Jersy breed with 3,700-4,000 liters and Sahiwal with 2,400-3,000 liters per lactation.
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