No matter where he is from, a farmer is an integral part the dairy industry. About 25% of the world’s population relies on the dairy industry for their livelihood. We should also note the staggering size of the dairy industry, which is capable of feeding 7.5 billion people worldwide. India is the world’s largest milk producer, accounting for nearly 13% of total production. India’s 2015-16 annual milk production was 155.5 MT, a 6.3% increase over the 2014-15 period of 146.3 MT. The Indian Dairy Industry must keep up with the increasing demand for milk to meet the growing consumer demand. This is supported by the use of advanced dairy technologies in various levels of dairy farm management.
The Dairy Supply Chain, or Cow-To-Consumer, is a method for procuring milk and producing various products from it, such as cheese, butter, yogurts, ghee and ice-cream.
Let’s look at the milk production process and see where the daily procurment passes through before it reaches us.
Milking cows is the first step in dairy farming. A small dairy farm is managed by a farmer. The milking process is an important activity that forms the maiden point in the business chain and contributes to overall production. The farmer extracts milk from the cows and buffaloes, traditional milch animals. He can either do this manually or by using a milking machine (dairy farm equipment). The farmer milks cattle twice a day. The first is in the morning, and the second in the evening. The farmer collects the milk during the day and takes it to the nearby Village Dairy Cooperative Society for analysis and testing.
VDCS consists of collection centers that work at the village level. The center is a group of villagers who manage it. It also includes members made up of farmers who have made deposits to VDCS. The center’s operator takes a sample from the farmer and tests it using a dairy milk collection program, generally a milk analyzer. These tests are done to assess the quality of the milk, based on key parameters such as fat content, solid not fat (SNF), density, and for adulteration (determined based upon the percentage of water residues in the milk). SNF is made up of proteins (casein, lactalbumin), carbohydrates(lactose), and minerals (calcium, phosphorus), which together maintain the milk’s required texture. The corresponding parameters are then noted down in the notes. Based on the final value, a payment amount is then calculated and paid to the farmer. Collectively, the members look after the society, maintaining transparency and trust. All milk accumulated by VDCS goes into a tanker known as Bulkmilk Cooler (BMC).
BMC stands for large storage tanks that keep milk cold until it is picked up by union tanker vans. They are available in capacities between 1 and 2 tons. BMC is used at all VDCS to maintain the quality of the milk, eliminate curdling, adulteration and prevent spillage. The BMC has a monitoring system that records and tracks the quantity. It also has a compressor that regulates the temperature inside the tank. An agitator, which rotates continuously within the tank to prevent icing of milk, is also installed. This system also monitors the power supply via a generator or direct cable. A BMC can also be used to reduce transportation costs. This allows for the avoidance of chilling milk at primary dairy, which results in higher returns for farmers.
The milk collected at VDCS goes to the union for further processing as well as to export markets. Refrigerated and insulated tanker vans transport milk. These tankers are used to empty the BMC tanks and transport them to the unions. The temperature of the milk in these tankers is maintained to prevent it from souring during transport to a union. After the haulers reach the union, they submit milk to the factory and then take on new routes to collect more.
The milk collected at the dairy plant is used to make various products. It is then tested to ensure that the quality meets the requirements. If it passes, it is sent to further processing or thrown away at the beginning stage. This is where milk pouches are used. These pouches will be distributed to all locations within 24 hours. This liquid milk is supposed to be consumed within a 24-hour period. Some pouches contain the necessary preservatives to preserve the milk’s quality and extend its shelf life. This milk is delivered to those places which are located far away from the dairy industry and it takes comparatively longer time reach there.
To make other dairy products such as cheese, cream and butter, yogurt, condensed milk powder, powdered milk, yogurt, ice creams, and chocolates, the milk’s remaining portion must be processed. Every product made from milk is unique. The pasteurized milk products and other products are then packed in durable, sterilized packaging. To preserve the product’s quality and ensure their durability, sufficient precautions are taken when packing them. These products are then marketed to retailers and wholesalers, who then sell them to consumer