India's soaring feed prices hit milk production profits

Publish time: 21st February, 2013      Source:
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February 21, 2013



India''s soaring feed prices hit milk production profits




Following the effect of drought in India, steep rise in prices of cattle feed has significantly lowered profits from milk production.



Farmers across the State reported that drought had severely affected cattle rearing, an important allied activity that kept the community floating in times of farming stress. The primary reason was the steep rise in prices of feed that touched "unprecedented" levels.



Farmers told the newspapers that in a span of 12 months, price of cattle fodder increased by 30-40%. "In the same time last year, a 50-kilogramme bag cost us about INR600 (US$11.1). Today, it has crossed INR1,000 (US$18.5), severely stressing our finances," said Vydeeshwaran, who rears seven cows in Iyankoilpattu, Villupuram.



Shivaji, secretary of Tamil Nadu Milk Producers'' Association in Vellore, said for a cow that provides 10 litres of milk a day, as much as four kilogrammes feed is recommended, apart from the regular hay and oil cake.



Farmers also found it extremely difficult to get supply of hay. "The cost is about INR2,000 (US$37) for a small vehicle of hay," claimed Sundaramurthy, of Tiruvarur district. Oil cake touched INR50 (US$1) per kilogramme in certain markets, steadily rising from Rs 35 in the preceding years. On an average, the total cost of production of a litre of milk in the current scenario is estimated at INR26-28 (US$0.48-0.52).



Farmers said both quantity and quality have taken a beating. One reason, cattle owners alleged, was the scarcity of feed produced by the state milk cooperative, Aavin.



These farmers are now pinning their hopes on the relief package announced by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, which had a component to boost fodder production. They urged the government to look at a higher procurement price of `25 per litre of milk.