Inspite of its vast potential, dairy farming in this land of milk - Punjab, continues to remain unprofitable. Though dairy is yielding good profits for the dairy-processing companies, dairy farming is by and large considered economically non-viable.

But all this could soon be a thing of the past as Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation today launched an ambitious Ovulation Synchronisation (Ovasynch) Programme in this non-descript village near Kurali. This programme, which will reduce the open days and improve fertility of buffaloes, has been started as a pilot project at the Grewal Buffalo Dairy Farm here.

The pilot project is being initiated under the guidance of international dairy management consultant and reproductive expert, Dr Arun Purshottam Phatak. “We administer a concoction of hormone injections to the buffaloes for speeding up the ovulation process. This would mean frequent pregnancies, and hence more milk production,” he said.

With shrinking land holdings in this largely agrarian state, dairy farming could have been the best possible option for farmers. But because of long open days, poor fertility and low milk yield, dairy farmers in the state are resorting to distress sale of buffaloes, thus incurring heavy losses. The trend has been more noticeable in Punjab during the recent months, where the organised herds of buffaloes have been unable to produce enough replacements in a three-year time period, resulting in reduction of cash flow and forcing the farmers to close down the dairy farms.

It is to solve this programme that the Ovasynch programme is being launched. “This will begin 60 days after giving birth to a calf, and after the cows have been checked for their uterine health. The nutrition of the animals, too, will be monitored, following which injections of prostaglandin and GNRH hormones will be given,” said Dr Phatak.

Added Mr Hardev Singh, owner of the farm, where 17 of his 36 buffaloes have been taken in for the Ovasynch Programme, “Each dairy farm has some productive and some dry animals. The farmers do not want to sell off the dry animals and these eat into the profit earned through the productive animals. This will help increase the milk produce of productive animals and ensure better profits”.

Mr Jagdeep Cheema, Chairman of Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust, said that the success pilot project being established here will be assessed after about six months. “We have reports of a 35 per cent success rate. Here, we will not only administer hormones to the productive, but also to the dry buffaloes. Depending on the success, this programme will then be launched in various farms across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh,” he added.

The Animal Husbandry Minister, Punjab, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Financial Commissioner, Dairy Development and Vice-Chancellor of Guru Angad Dev University of Veterinary Science, Mr D S Bains, General Manager, Local Head Office, Punjab and Sind Bank, Mr M. S. Sarang were also present on the occasion. The programme is being supported by the Punjab Government, Punjab and Sind Bank, Pfizer Limited., and Intervet India.