Dairying Linked to Healthy Beef Prospects13 November 2012
INDIA - According to a USDA report, India's Buffalo exports have risen from 609,000 tonnes in 2009 to a projected 2,160,000 tonnes in 2013. This is partly attributed to the growing dairying sector which, since 2003, has grown three to four per cent annually.
At 2,160,000 tonnes, India would become the world's biggest beef exporter. This amount, if taken out of global figures, would result in a net drop in production.
High beef prices have stimulated India's beef sector and farmers have been slaughtering previously unproductive animals. Many of these animals are now taken from the dairy herds.
Growth is aided through the country's buffalo herd due to the animal's ability to utilise coarse feeds such as straw and other crop residues and convert them into lean meat.
Another benefit of the buffalo herd is the residual value. They can be culled for meat after becoming unproductive for dairy purposes. This is not the case for cows which can't be legally slaughtered. Indian farmers sell non milking buffalo for $150 -250 per head.
Able to withstand more extreme weather patterns and requiring less maintenance, the buffalo has caused some dairy farmers to convert to buffalo beef. It is seen as a good way to combat fodder shortage.
Other dairying is thought to have helped the beef sector develop by improving the health of the cattle. To harness the growth potential and gain access to new markets, investments in the mid and downstream of the supply chain will be required, writes Rabobannk Agri-business. The issue of Foot and Mouth Disease specifically requires further attention.
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