Medium Scale Dairy Farming with Malnad gidda - Practical?

Friends, from past year we have been exploring the possibility of dairy farming with local breed - Malnad Gidda. These cattle are available close to our infrastructure. While every one we discussed this with  are of the opinion that its not practical for medium to large scale, but we are not convinced.

These cattle are available close to the 1/10 of the price of HF cow. They are disease resistant. Relatively maintenance free. The cost of acquiring the exotic breeds, transport, availability, (all the cheating by brokers), shed construction, Vet doctors need, breeding necessities seem quite a challenge and the costs seem to run in multiple lakhs.

Qquestion is :

Comparing oranges to oranges - To produce 30 Liters of milk per day, what would be the best bet in your opinion and why? Please do factor in every thing starting from buying, transport, availability, shed infrastructure, Water necessities, labour requirement and all of those extra things exotic breeds need in terms of mat, cooling etc.

We have tried searching internet for practical examples, but none seems to exits for a “Practical Dairy of medium scale with malnad Gidda.”

  1. Space for green fodder is not a constraint,
  2. Dry Fodder is available in terms of paddy straw.


What are the yields per day of this type of cow and how much is the cost?


Average yield is 1.5Lts/Day. Varies between 1 - 3 liters. Cost is around 1/10th of HF’s

This is a very interesting idea and I wish you will pursue it. A few things come to mind.

In today’s scenario if you want to farm, mechanization is very important. One major task is milking the cows, I’m not sure if the Commercial milking machines available in the market would suit Malnad Gidda. If you have to manually milk so many cows, you will be in trouble. Besides that, you may want to compare the labor needed to look after 10 HF cows vs 50 Malnad giddas. I agree there is lesser spend in terms of medicines and medical care etc., but a careful analysis of all factors should help you make up your mind. On the positive side, I do think milk yields can go up abut 4+ liters  with good management and the  fat content of the milk is way higher than wat you would get in a HF/Jersey cow. I have a friend, who keeps Poongnur another dwarf cow, and gets over 4+ liters.

Check out this dairy in Hyd which has only desi cows, they retail milk ~ 60/- per liter.

Milking Machines - Crucial - needs to be investigated further.

Labour Requirement - We reckon should be much lesser. These animals are taken out for open grazing in the  morning and bought back to the shed in the evening. (They can come back themselves as well). Sheds are cleaned randomly, probably once a month. With nutritious feed, may be the yield can increase as well. As noted in the first post green and dry fodder not being a constraint. We are told that these are resistant to foot and mouth disease as well. Many farmers reckon they don’t need the regular injections that the HF’s or exotic ones need.

We shall hold the exclusive marketing part as of now, as that may turn out to be a challenge. For the moment lets assume that we get the same price as of 22-23 per litre.

Pros and cons
1.Any Desi animal is resistant to deseases and needs little care.
2.Quality of milk from Desi animal is almost can be compares with Amruth.

  1. Commercially it is loss. Labour cost will be more than your income. ( remember desi cows cannot adjust to milking machine and labour keeps changing they will kick new labour until he befriends with it)
    2.Villagers just keep these animals because it is just a side income for them. They will have very small herd. They dont have to spend anything on labour or fodder.

but nothing is impossible if you put effort and apply brain where ever needed.

So what does the “brain” suggest as a work around to get the cattle working with random people for milking??

“Brain” suggests the barn keeper (labour or the owner) must not be changed.

Well, thats no practical solution and not brainy enough either. Needs to be person-independent to be commercial. But there should be a workaround. Isnt’it?

The injections cost very little, hence everyone uses it. The problem is that these HF cows are fragile and require more attention and there by more cost. I think you initial train of thought is interesting and you should follow it…i.e. How do I produce max cow milk at the lowest cost. That can be tried either with Desi, Videshi or Mixed breeds.

If you are planing to graze your cows rather than stall feeding them, then obviously it will reduce your labor cost but I’m not sure how it will affect your milk yield. Typically dairy farm milk the cows twice a day. In case of grazed cows, I would not know of it works. 

Any particular reason why you would want a Malnad Gidda not any other Desi cow ?

Dear CSPlantations,

You have not given your location and hence do not know where you are from.  Anyhow, check as they do have Malnad Gidda in their farm and they are in Karnataka.

Also, you should try Mr.Natarajan - 9443946600 who has enhanced the Kanyagam breed to provide 8-12 Litres of Milk.  If you contact him and get to know about the breeding method, you can enhance the milk from your cows over a period of time.

Padmanabhan Ganesan

Thanks Narsinga,

My thoughts

These cattle (Malnad Gidda) is available with every neighbor here close to the plantation. At this moment we have two of them as pilot. Plantation is in Chikmagalur. If needed for expansion, sourcing the cattle and adding to the numbers over a period of time would not be challenge (as compared to sourcing the HF’s/Jersey’s). Transportation would be minimal to nill as We could just walk them into your infrastructure. KM or less.

While the injection and medicines themselves may be very less, co-ordinating that with locally available Vet and managing all of it is where I believe it becomes time and resource intensive.

Would grazing reduce the milk yield as compared to Stall feeding them? We were thinking that it would be much healthier option to the cattle as compared to making them stand at the same place all the while. These gidda cattle are very agile and known to traverse hilly region with ease.  Stalling feeding them or grazing them are both an option. There is no constraint there. We can just pick the best solution of it. May be if the number goes beyond 30, they can be be split into two or more batches and stall fed one day and taken out for grazing other day (every alternate day’s.). Would that be practical?

The huge investment brackets that We have seen with every project report that comes with Commercial Diary Farm does not make sense to us. Again as you noted, the target is XX number of liters of milk. Whats the best method or minimalistic method.

Open Questions traversing through this thread so far:

  1. Milking Machines Compatibility.
  2. Manual labour to milk and making it person-independent.
  3. Best method - Grazing or Stall feeding.

Good luck CSP, I think your pilot will give you a lot of inputs on the direction you need to take.

Please keep us all posted.

Stay tuned Narasinga. We need you help. Please have your radar up and post any information you may find out about it. I am trying to check the use of milking machines. No one around have tried. All of em have around 2-3, 5 max.So it makes sense they do not have milking machines. But need to find out on why they are not compatible.

On Topic of Stall feeding and Grazing - does taking cattle (HF’s/Jersey’s out on regular walk ona daily basis help? or is it too much of effort for nothing?

Regarding the milking machine, there is a gentleman called  Raghava Gowda who is based out of the malnad region and  has invented a milking machine. You may contact him to see if his machine can work for Malnad gidda. I don’t think major players such as Delaval will customize their machines. If you are talking about 100 cows then you need an automated set-up otherwise you will do nothing but milking :slight_smile:

There is another thing you need to keep in mind is how do you manage the oestrous (heat) cycle in so many cows, it can be challenging.

The new trend in cattle housing is the loose house cattle sheds check out this. … ttach=7007

I think this will contribute to better comfort of the cows. I’m not a huge fan of Jersey/HF, these are high input and high output cows. As an alternate you may consider Gir/Tharparkar/Sahiwal or if you are looking for cheaper alternatives with less milk yield  (6+ Liters) then Deoni or Ongole would be a good bet. I love Ongloe cows their beauty and grace is unparalleled. With good management these cows can yield good volume of milk.

I think we need to look beyond Jersey/HFs and I do think there can be a profitable dairy ops with Desi cows its just some one needs to come with an intelligent model. I think your idea is very encouraging.


pls check if these guys can give any further information … fault.aspx


We certainly have representation from delaval on the forum.
Let me try messaging them if they have info to add.

Narasinga, the link posted does not load.

Raghava gowda invented milking machines seems quite interesting. Searching for it on internet results in pictures of the machines used with indigenous Indian Cows. This sure looks one step forward. I will have this further checked out. Yet another sleep less night of investigations.

It being a manual machine(but not highly physical) adds yet another dimension. Power being a challenge at times, this seem to fit very nicely.

I thinks that is a great idea. i am sure with better management the yield will increase though it will never reach that of the HF or Jersey breeds .But your cost inputs will be much lower and so will the maintenance costs.You could market it at a higher price by informing the customers of its benefits.
If you know a good breeder of this breed please provide me with the contact info since I wish to keep this breed to sometime in the near future.

CSP just google for “Loose housing system for dairy cattle” and you will find the link.

By the way, milk from Malnad gidda seems to have fat close to 8% which means you are better of selling ghee rather than milk.