India dairy: High milk output with Ayurveda therapy on-farm

04-08 | Updated on 28-09 | | |
A 50-point GEA rotary parlour is in operation where 50 cows can be milked within 7 minutes. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd
A 50-point GEA rotary parlour is in operation where 50 cows can be milked within 7 minutes. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

It is by far the best milk and the most advanced dairy farm in India! This is according to dairy brand Pride of Cows, which is entirely supplied by Bhagyalakshmi dairy farm located in the lush greenery of Manchar, close to Pune in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Its realization of 50 litres of milk per cow per day is astonishing, but not so surprising considering that the cows are treated with unwavering welfare practices.

The farm boasts being spread over 35 acres of land and is nestled between the Bheema River and the Bheemeshwari hills. Pride of Cows is one of the flagship brands that falls under the umbrella of Parag Milk Foods Ltd and its product quality is comparative to international standards. The company says that the farm is the most advanced in India, equipped with the finest international technology for feeding, milking and processing, all while conforming to international dairy practices.

A 50-point GEA rotary parlour is in operation where 50 cows can be milked within 7 minutes. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

A 50-point GEA rotary parlour is in operation where 50 cows can be milked within 7 minutes. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

The Pride of Cows is a farm-to-home concept. It delivers to customers in 4 cities, namely Mumbai, Pune (where the farm is situated), Delhi and Surat. The reason for these cities, says Ms Akshali Shah who is the Sr. VP of Strategy, sales and marketing at Parag Milk Foods Ltd, is that our brand promises to deliver within 8 to 10 hours of milking, so it is as fresh from the udder as possible.”

Ms Akshali Shah, the Sr. VP - Strategy, sales and marketing at Parag Milk Foods LtdPhoto: Parag Milk Foods Ltd. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

Ms Akshali Shah, the Sr. VP – Strategy, sales and marketing at Parag Milk Foods LtdPhoto: Parag Milk Foods Ltd. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

The consumer is the first person to expose the product to the air, as the entire process is completely airtight. Pride of Cows is not available on the retail shelves, it has its own refrigerated van which takes the product from the farm to the respected depots and from there ‘delivery boys’ deliver to the consumers’ doorsteps – delivering to more than 45,000 households across the 4 cities.

On average our cows produce 54L of milk per day, compared to the overall average in India which is just 12 – 13 litres

Best in technology

The Pride of Cows brand was established almost 9 years ago. The farm makes use of artificial insemination (AI) for breeding and a 50-point GEA rotary parlour is in operation where 50 cows can be milked within 7 minutes. They are milked 3 times per day and produce milk with 3.5% fat. Monitoring the health of the herd is made easy with collar mounted health and rumination technology. Welfare is a top priority, Shah says that “we always use technology to make the cows very comfortable, mattresses are kept dry, we clean the sheds 3 times per day and we constantly monitor the health of the animals via the collar identification tag. At the farm, there are more than 2,500 HF cows and about 75 staff members to manage the animals and the farm. Our belief is that happy cows give better and nutrient-rich milk and we take the utmost care of our cows. For the product line the entire homogenisation, pasteurisation, packaging and bottling processes takes place on-farm. Customers can order products via a mobile app and online – information on deliveries and orders all happens in real-time.

  • At the farm there and the cows’ entire meal plan is a tailor-made ration. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

    At the farm there and the cows’ entire meal plan is a tailor-made ration. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

  • “Our belief is that happy cows give better and nutrient-rich milk and we take the utmost care of our cows,” says Akshali Shah who is the Sr. VP - Strategy, sales and marketing at Parag Milk Foods Ltd. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

    “Our belief is that happy cows give better and nutrient-rich milk and we take the utmost care of our cows,” says Akshali Shah who is the Sr. VP – Strategy, sales and marketing at Parag Milk Foods Ltd. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

Welfare standards

The Bhagyalakshmi dairy farm is very different from other farms in India. Shah says that the use of a rotary parlour at the farm is very unusual, this is not the norm in India. “In terms of level of technology and our welfare practices – we get a lot of agricultural students who come to learn about best practices at our farm and we have workshops set up for them.”

Our calves on average increase 900 grammes per day in body weight and there are hardly any cases of mastitis on the farm.

She adds that on average, the cows produce 54 litres of milk per day, compared to the overall average in India which is just 12 – 13 litres. Shah comments that, “we have a nutritionist on the farm and the cows’ entire meal plan is a tailor-made ration. We make sure that our animals are happy and that they have free access within the cow shed, they have access to grooming brushes and the result of our care is tasty, aromatic milk and high production per day. The youngstock on the farm indicates just how well the animals are treated, “our calves on average increase 900 grammes per day in body weight.”

  • There are hardly any cases of mastitis on the farm, they ensure  proper care of the herd and make sure for example that there are no wet areas. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

    There are hardly any cases of mastitis on the farm, they ensure proper care of the herd and make sure for example that there are no wet areas. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

  • According to the farm, the sheds are cleaned 3 times per day. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

    According to the farm, the sheds are cleaned 3 times per day. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

Homeopathy and Ayurveda therapy

“There are hardly any cases of mastitis on the farm as we take proper care of the herd and make sure for example there are no wet areas’, Shah continues. “We are strict about having dry mattresses when they lie down. When they get ill, we take care of them with Indian Ayurveda and Homeopathy treatments.

The Pride of Cows brand was established almost 9 years ago. The farm makes use artificial insemination (AI) for breeding. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

The Pride of Cows brand was established almost 9 years ago. The farm makes use artificial insemination (AI) for breeding. Photo: Parag Milk Foods Ltd

Whenever there is a cow that is not well and we do decide to use antibiotics, we have our own veterinarians to treat them and we ensure their milk is not mixed with the rest of the animals due to the use of antibiotics.” In some cases antibiotics are used, however, Shah states that the preference is to stick to natural therapy like Ayurvedic treatments.”

Pride of Cows, a brand of Parag Milk Foods, is a first-of-its-kind, is a farm-to-home milk concept from India’s most modern dairy farm, with a production capacity of 25,000 litres a day. Bhagyalakshmi Dairy Farm supplies milk exclusively under ‘Pride of Cows’ brand is expanding its portfolio. Currently dairy products include whole cow milk, fat free milk, curd, ghee (butter oil). Future plans include setting up new farm which will be around 500 acres. Shah adds that “we will have around 15,000 cows by 2026 with the expected production of 2 lakh lit per day.” Other future plans include expanding the product portfolio, increasing consumption with current customers and their willingness to pay premium and increasing consumption of other forms of milk.

Van Dijk
Zana Van Dijk Editor Dairy Global