Reduce milk production cost by 33.3% through
stress management – Mr Najam & Prof Qureshi

Milk production cost may be reduced by decreased by 28.58 and 33.34%, respectively by reducing stress through improvement in the feeding plan from traditional to Asian Rule of Thumb (ART) strategy and milk thistle supplementation. It may be considered as a good practice for developing a farm- based entrepreneurship model as envisioned under Dairy Science Park. This was the finding of PhD thesis research conducted by Dr Najam Saqib under supervision of Prof Dr M Subhan Qureshi, University of Agriculture
Peshawar. The presentation was attended by the senior and junior faculty members and students from various departments of the University. Prof S M Suhail concluded the session through his closing remarks.

Mr Najam has been working on the issue for his PhD degree at the Livestock Management Department of the Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences. The Supervisory Committee comprised Prof. Dr Muhammad Subhan Qureshi as Major Supervisor while Prof. Dr Syed Muhammad Sohail and Dr Riffat Ullah khan worked as members. The thesis defence was held at the videoconference room of the University. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ulas Cinar from the University of Erciyes, Turkey and Prof. Dr. Sagar M.Goyal form the University of Minnesota, USA evaluated the thesis as international experts and recommended it for award of the degree.

Pakistan is the 4th largest milk producing country in the world. About 80% milk is produced at small scale in rural areas, 15% peri-urban and 5% from the urban areas. Although Pakistan has got the best buffalo breeds (Nili Ravi and Kundi) but they are not producing according to their potential, mainly due to substandard management practises, low availability of space, shortage of feed and fodder and farming on traditional lines.

The livestock industry recently focused on stress and animal welfare along with cost effective feeding. Stress due to low availability of space per animal have an adverse effect on the endocrine & metabolic profile of the animals. Metabolic stress may occur due to an alteration in DMI and increase in energetic demand occurring at calving and at the beginning of lactation. Different antioxidants are used to reduce stress and improve economic traits. Milk Thistle extracts (Silymirin) is a pro oxidant free radical scavenger, more potent than Vitamin-E, helps in detoxification and encourages concentration of glutathione in cells. The study was completed in a series of three experiments to explore the interactions among management, metabolic and economic parameters. 

Based on the results obtained, it was concluded that increasing farm size decreased reproductive activity and milk yield by 58.49% and 29.50% respectively. The adverse effect of stress on two economic traits (milk yield and reproduction ) reduced the farm profitability. Improving the management condition will reduce the stress as evident under performance of animals at small farms, usually managed by the labourers of the farming
family. Improving the feeding plan from traditional to ART enhanced milk yield by 33.59%. This increase was associated with improved, post-partum blood metabolites and progesterone levels and reduced stress indicators cortisol and MDA. Supplementing milk thistle extracts (Silymirin, 10g/animal) increased milk yield (+76.35%) and progesterone (89.45%).

The livestock farming and processing network in the country possesses the potential to generate decent employment and exportable surpluses through good practices and innovations. This study helped in reducing the cost of milk production by 33.3% which may enhance the viability of entrepreneurship models across the food value chain. Such studies are recommended to identify the biological, management and marketing
bottlenecks and develop entrepreneurship models.

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