HYDERABAD: A banned, synthetic form of the hormone oxytocin, namely pitocin, is being injected more frequently into cattle amid the lockdown owing to the lack of availability of fodder in Hyderabad city. Dairy farmers attribute the shortage to restrictions on labour and transport.
For the past one month, dairy farmers have been finding it hard to feed their buffaloes. This, in turn, has caused a dip in milk yield and an excessive use of the hormone.
“I had reduced the use of oxytocin after the veterinarian advised me against it. But due to the lack of diversity in fodder, in addition to the temperature levels, the milk yield has come down a lot,” said a dairy farmer from the city, on the condition of anonymity.
“I might have to sell my buffaloes soon because I cannot purchase the feed anymore. The cost of feed per 50 kg is around Rs 1,400- Rs 1500 now. Earlier, the same was priced at Rs 800- Rs 900 per 50 kg. This is because of the shortage of labour and difficulty in getting transport,” he added.
Interestingly, according to the farmer, the prices of synthetic oxytocin has come down. He added that several dairy farmers were using higher doses of the hormone these days.
“I cannot feed my buffaloes if I do not inject them with oxytocin twice a day. The yield this month has come down from 8 litres to 5-6 litres due to lack of variety in grass fodder. They are only eating dry grass (bhoosa) because is difficult to fetch other variety of fodder, that are brought in from villages afar,” he said. “Diversity in fodder can definitely give a better yield. But the use of oxytocin in dairy farms, even in dearth of fodder, is strictly banned. It is also difficult to identify the manufacturers and suppliers,” said the Director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department V Lakshma Reddy. “It can harm not only animals, but humans too.”