A car porch is more than enough to start cattle farming, says Thottoli Ayoob, a young farmer from Wayanad. His testimony is based on the experience of maintaining a dairy farm near Edavaka in Mananthavady. He raises two breeds, Vechur cow and Kasargod Dwarf cow, in his farm. These indigenous breeds can be raised in limited space and time.
Organic farmers can easily include these breeds in their farm. Apart from milk, cow dung and urine from these cows are useful for making high quality Jaivamritham. It is a type of slurry that can be used as a bio manure. All plants will flourish if a diluted form of this slurry is given at regular intervals. These indigenous breeds are ideal for those engaged in zero budget farming. But majority of the farmers are after the expensive hybrid dairy breeds, considering the high quantity of milk they provide.
Ayoob depends on his four cows to produce the bio manure required for his organic farm. Thus the once barren hill top turned into a fruitful farm. Proper irrigation, rain water harvesting and alternate use of bio manure were the key to success in his case.
Shortness, better survival, low demand for feed and care are the best features of the indigenous dairy breeds. They have high immunity and easily adapt to the climate. The climate of Wayanad is characterised with high humidity and temperature, which is ideal for Vechur cows. They are only 95 cm tall, and can be reared like goats in the field. An adult cow weigh about 1.5 quintal.
Compared to Vechur cow, Kasargod dwarf is a bit taller. Milk production is also very low. About one litre milk is produced a day, which is sufficient only to feed the calf. For the farmer, the major benefit is its cow dung and urine containing high amount of organic matter. Ayoob simply corrects the general assumption that cattle farming need a lot of space. He successfully maintains the dairy farm in cow shed that is as small as a car porch.