KOCHI: Last week, when Anoop Thankan, project manager of Green Grass Dairy in Cressy, Tasmania, was wandering between cows in a grassy area, he heard the 'ping' sound on his smartphone. It was an email from the Australia-India Council. When Anoop read the mail, he let out a whoop of joy.
Thanks to his presentation, the council had just given the company a $150,000 (`75 lakh) grant to help bring Australian farming expertise to dairy farmers in Kerala. On his annual visits to his home at Kottapaddy, near Kothamangalam, Anoop observed that dairy farmers were decades behind. “They used outmoded methods of production and feeding,” says Anoop, who looks after 3,000 cows.
He says 60 per cent of the daily feed should consist of different varieties of grass. Another 30 per cent should be proteins and mineral-rich legumes and shrubs such as moringa, hibiscus and mulberry leaves. “For the remaining 10 per cent, they can have tubers like jackfruit and tapioca, or grains like wheat, barley or maize,” he says.
Anoop and Green Grass director George Rigney are planning to hold one-day workshops in Kasargod, Wayanad, Kothamangalam, Chengannur and Thiruvananthapuram next month. The topics that will be discussed include farm management, forage production, soil management, animal health and infrastructure design. Of course, since Anoop is in 17 WhatsApp groups of Kerala dairy farmers, he knows about the devastation caused by the recent floods.