TIRUPPUR: The cotton price hike has left dairy farmers fretting as the price of cotton seed, a vital cattle feed, has gone up. Cotton seed is rich in protein and fibre. S Kanagaraj, a dairy farmer in Palladam, said, “I own 10 cows, and find it difficult to buy cotton seed as the price has risen significantly in one year.
The price of a 50-kg bag of cotton seeds has increased to Rs 2,500 from Rs 2,000. A milch cow consumes 6 kg of mixed cattle feed and yields 14-16 litres of milk, The cost of labour is Rs 600 per day, but milk is procured at Rs 22 per litre.”
Tamil Nadu Milk Producers Association (Tiruppur) President SK Kolanthaisami said, “The rising prices of cotton seeds will not just affect dairy farmers, but also small farmers who own a few cows. Dealers source the cotton seed residue from mills, but scarcity of cotton is having an impact on dairy farmers.”
P Mohanaj, owner of Gokul Mills, said, “We used to get cotton from Dindigul, Palani, Kumbakonam and other areas of Tamil Nadu. We also get it from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Since markets were closed in May-June, many farmers delayed cultivation, which hit availability of cotton seeds. This caused a rise in the price of cotton seed.”
Joint director of the animal husbandry department Dr Parivendan said, “Concentrated feed is more than enough for milch cows, where cotton seed is a key ingredient. But many farmers prefer to prepare concentrated feed on their own and buy cotton seed separately.
So, they feel the price of cotton feed is hurting them. Besides, the availability of cotton seed and prices are decided by the market forces in the cotton sector. As the cotton is a six-month crop, delay in cultivation has affected farmers.”