Organic Dairy Farming
What is Organic Dairy Farming?
Organic dairy farming is the concept and practice of raising farm animals on organic feed. This is a recent trend in dairy farming, as the public is cautious about the environmental and food safety issues and hence look for safe milk for children and patients.
In dairy farming, the cows and calves are fed with 100% organic feed. The feed, in turn, comprises crops, hay, and pasture grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Artificial feed additives and supplements like vitamins and minerals, if used are those which are approved for use in farming. Use of Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is strictly avoided. The pastures and land used for growing fodder plants must be free of all prohibited materials for at least three years prior to first use for dairy farming.
Use of synthetic milk replacers are strictly prohibited and the calves are fed with milk. All animals are exposed to outdoors and calves with age of more than six months are habituated for pasture grazing during their growing period. Use of healthcare products are restricted and only approved products are only used in cases of absolute necessity. Generally, use of antibiotics is not allowed in organic dairy farming. Similarly, the use of slaughter by-products, urea or manure are also prohibited.
The wellbeing of the cows and calves are taken care with utmost priority in dairy farming. It is mandatory for the dairy farmers to maintain compliance with defined standards in all parameters with sufficient records as per the guidelines of the certification authority and the farm should undergo annual auditing process very strictly.
Organic dairy farming is distinct
Even though many of the modern inputs and practices are prohibited in dairy farming, it is not exactly moving back to the pre-industrial dairy farming. There is enough scope for adopting nature-friendly advanced techniques and cultivation practices for maintaining the dairy farms. This can be applicable to various products used for healthcare and the nutritional supplements provided for the cows.
Advantages of organic dairy farming
Dairy farm products are superior to those of ordinary dairy products. The Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) content in the milk of dairy cows is much higher than that of cows reared in regular dairy farms. The CLA content is crucial for human health as it improves the immunity of the people who drink organic milk regularly. There are also few reports that the CLA helps to inhibit tumour growth. In addition, organic dairy milk avoids chances of incorporation of pesticide residues and other synthetic chemicals or their by-products into the human body.
Who regulates dairy farming in India?
In India, dairy farming is regulated by The National Programme on Organic References Production (NPOP) functioning under The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
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