Navigating Climate Challenges: Dairy Farmers’ Perspective

Having spent some time engaging with large and small dairy farmers in North India, penning down their unique challenges posed by climate change that directly impact our livelihoods and operations as stated by them. Erratic weather patterns, water scarcity, and extreme events like droughts and excessive water have become increasingly common, threatening the stability of dairy farms.

In response, some have adopted a proactive approach focused on climate-resilient crops, sustainable farming practices, and integrated systems to navigate these challenges effectively, however, a long way to go.

Ensuring Resilience Through Crop Selection: One of the key strategies employed to combat climate variability is the selection of climate-resilient crops. Fodder sorghum, maize, and cowpea, have proven to be reliable choices, capable of withstanding fluctuations in temperature and rainfall. By diversifying crop portfolio, the dairy farmers ensure a stable source of feed for our livestock throughout the year, safeguarding their health and productivity even amidst changing environmental conditions.

Sustainable Practices for Long-Term Resilience: In addition to crop selection, they have prioritize the adoption of sustainable farming practices aimed at preserving soil health and conserving water resources. Conservation agriculture techniques such as zero tillage (very rare indeed) and mulching help retain soil moisture and prevent erosion, preserving the fertility of the land. Furthermore, integrating dairy farming with agroforestry and horticulture not only enhances their resilience but also provides additional income streams and ecological benefits, ensuring the long-term sustainability of operations.

Building Community Resilience: The farmers recognize the importance of collective action in building resilience to climate change. Sharing knowledge, resources, and experiences with fellow farmers, collaborating on disaster preparedness measures, and advocating for supportive policies at the local and national levels are integral aspects of resilience-building efforts.

The significant changes that is sweeping the plains of North India is the village level milk collection centres run by cooperatives. This is bringing about confidence in milk offtakes and fair & transparent pricing.

In this scenario, the introduction of hydroponic fresh fodder by Shunya will go a long way in addressing the key concerns of dairy farmers and provide long term sustainability of the dairy business.