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Efficient Water Management in a Dairy Farm-A Case Study of Middle Gujarat

Shakti Ranjan Panigrahy Arpita Mohapatra Dilip Vahoniya
Vol 8(4), 303-310

Water is a vital ingredient that is required for drinking, bathing, cleaning, washing and irrigation purpose in a dairy farm. About 6-7 liters of water is wasted in daily basis in a farm. This study has been carried out to find best utilization of water in ten different dairy farms of entrepreneurs of each district of Anand and Dahod of middle Gujarat but only four has been screened out for generating new and innovative way of water management practices. Overall data have been gathered through observational methods and were depicted through photographs. From all the photographs, it has been observed that ad libtum water may be provided to a dairy animal through water trough for drinking and sprinkler for bathing. Waste water collected from cleaning of shed may be best utilized through biogas production and organic manure formation. Water can efficiently be utilized if managed at entry and exit level.

Keywords : Biogas Organic Manure Sprinkler Irrigation Water Trough


India is number one in milk production in spite of its poor productivity of milk in comparison to developed nations. The average yield per milch animal is 25 L globally while it is just 4 L in India; it may be due to 70% of the dairy animal owners in the country own one or two animals for their self-sustenance. Again here farming has been under the clout of 85.01% of small and marginal farmers who have collectively contribute 75% of the livestock (Anonymous, 2016). In this situation productivity of milk only can be enhanced though judicious use of inputs whether it is feed or water. To use feed at its full efficiency, water should be used properly, effectively and accountably at very approachable distance from the livestock. No doubt in changing climatic scenario and competitive trade as a whole, water should be used, reused and recycled judiciously for getting any competitive edge in both national and international arena.

Water is one of the critical factors for animal production, playing pivotal role directly in animal physiology and indirectly in the production of feed and fodder to sustain the animal. 70 percent of animal body and 85 percent of milk is water. The demand for animal products is increasing day by day in a geometric fashion due to increase in the purchasing power of people along with diversification in food basket, which is likely to put pressure on the world’s freshwater resources. Most Indian family traditionally rear livestock, utilizing the freely available by-products of crops and community water resources but commercialization and industrialization in dairy sector put pressure on limited resources like water. Dairying is a water intensive activity. About 100 animals consume 4000 liters in a day and 8000 liters is required for washing and cleaning (Suruchi Consultant, 2012). Brugger (2007) highlighted that about 6-7 liters of water got wasted in daily basis per cow irrespective of month in a year. Reduction in waste during farm washing procedures has been identified as one opportunity for water saving as this makes up some 21% of water used for dairy cows, and further savings can be made through good management practices at the farm scale (Thompson et al., 2007). A lactating cow needs nearly double drinking water compared to a non-lactating cow (Gabel, 2000). Singh et al. (2014) reported that total water used for a liter of milk production from buffalo, crossbred cow and indigenous cow was 3.27m3, 2.18m3 and 2.30m3 respectively in Gujarat, whereas, in Punjab it was 5.49m3, 3.01m3 and 4.86m3 respectively and in Kerala was 3.90m3, 2.51m3 and 3.45m3 respectively. It shows Gujarat farmers might be more aware of efficient management of dairy animals.

The water to milk ratio generally ranged from 3 to 4 lbs. of water per lb. of milk. Peak water intake for cows occurs during the hours when feed intake is greatest. When given the opportunity, cows tend to alternately consume feed and drink water. Ideally, fresh, clean water should be available within 50-60 ft. of the feeding area whenever the cows consume feed (Harner et al., March 6-8 Reno). This highlights the importance of both feed and water in animal diet at simultaneously. Similarly in another study by Sharif & Dixit (2015) highlighted that Daily water depleted by the animals in the process of milk production was highest by crossbred cows (7.79 to 13.71 m3/day/animal) followed by buffaloes (4.89 to 12.07 m3/day/animal) and local cows (3.61 to 5.96 m3/day/animal). It means cross bred animals need more water and if we produce more milk then we should give more emphasis on water management practices for dairies.

Materials and Methods

A case study on efficient water management practices in dairy farming in middle Gujarat has been carried out purposively due to presence of international recognized AMUL brand in this region that has significant impact on dairy development and its product marketing. It was basically an explorative research and data have been gathered only though observational methods, photographs and videos. In prima facie, ten dairy entrepreneurs from Anand district and ten from Dahod district have been selected purposively on the basis of their cattle rearing position, key marketing aptitude and impact on others for cattle development and product marketing. But only four has been selected purposively out of twenty due to peculiar practices of water management in their cattle shed. Anand district from middle Gujarat has been selected purposively due to its charotar (land of Prosperity) significance and Dahod is a district in middle Gujarat that demands backward development fund from Government. That means one district is developed and another is underdeveloped comparatively in the selected region of middle Gujarat. Water management has been demarcated as drinking, bathing, cleaning and washing of shed. The selections of entrepreneurs have been taken in to consideration on the basis of the strategy that has been perceived by the researchers from their exposure and experience which has been shown below here.

Table 1: Water Management Strategy framed by the researcher for selection of dairy entrepreneur


Prevent Water Wastage


Follow Water Conservation Strategies

1.      Prevent water logging

(concrete flooring)

2.      Judicial use of water

  • use of sprinkler for bathing instead of bucket and pipe system
  • Provide drinking water in individual watering trough rather than providing water from community water resources like ponds and canals


1.      Harvesting the waste water

(sloppy flooring equipped with water retention system)

2.      Increase livestock water productivity (reuse of water)

Livestock Water Productivity=∑( Beneficial Output)/(Depleted Water)

Use the leftover drinking water for cleaning of shed

Use the shed cleaning water for preparation of manure


Result and Discussion

Water Management through Drinking Way

One liter of drinking water provided in areas of surplus feed effectively makes available an additional 100 liters of otherwise unusable agricultural water evaporated from rangeland vegetation and greatly increases livestock water productivity (Peden et al., 2007). The importance of drinking water cannot be ignored as it decides the efficiency with which feed is converted to animal product. So there must be provision of sufficient quality drinking water to dairy cows without wastage. The entrepreneurs of our study used plastic and plastered water troughs which save water and prevent its contamination. The one who prepared plastic water trough for his animals incurred Rs5000/- per 3-4 animals and the one who prepared plastered trough structure costs around 12000/- for his 3-4 animals which has been highlighted in the Fig. 1 and 2.

Fig. 1: Shows plastic drinking water trough arrangement Fig. 2: Shows plastered water trough arrangement

But the mechanism of utilization of water was similar in both the cases which has been shown in Fig. 3, 4 and 5. There was a larger water reservoir/tank which was quiet large than the water trough near by the dairy animals. The water tanks are here maintained at a higher level. So as the animal drinks water from water trough; water level declines, which get filled up immediately due to pressure gradient (Fig. 3).  It was channelized through pipes from source to sink (Fig. 4). There was a stopper which was switched off when entrepreneur was thinking to clean the water trough which usually gets dirty due to spilling of feed from animal’s mouth or any other reasons.

Fig.3 Fig.4 Fig.5

Fig. 3, 4& 5: Water channelization process from source to sink

There was water tank which was quiet large than the water trough near by the dairy animals (Fig. 3). When animals drunk the water, it was filled up due to pressure difference of water which was channelized through pipes from source to sink (Fig. 4). There was a stopper which was switched off when entrepreneur was thinking for cleaning of water trough which was dirty due mixing of feed with water or any reasons.




Water Management during Bathing through Bathing Way

Dairying through sprinkler irrigation is quite innovative and one entrepreneur has been captured in this process. The sprinkler pipe was 32 mm in thickness which was placed at a separation of 12-15 ft. and water after sprinkle covered a radius of 12 ft. According to entrepreneur one sprinkler was sufficient for two animals. The entrepreneur invested about Rs9500/- for setting an overhead sprinkler system for its eight animals (Fig. 6). There was a motor (Fig. 7) which lifted water from water tank nearby it (Fig. 8) and sprinkled it on to the animals. Water has been channelized from the larger tank that has an attached water tap in it (Fig. 9).

Fig.6 Fig.7
Fig.8 Fig. 9


Fig. 6, 7, 8& 9: Water channelization process from source to sink trough sprinkler method

Water Management during Cleaning and Washing Way

First two case studies were based on drinking and bathing of dairy animals; but the last one was based on cleaning and washing of the cattle shed. This is very much important as it is maintain overall sanitation and hygienic of the shed. But many a times, a large chunk of water is wasted in this process either through evapotranspiration or due to faulty structure of the cattle shed; that propels problems like teak infestation, foul odour and many more. Here one entrepreneur channelized all its cleaned and washed water through a pipe to a tank which was filled with cow dung before (Fig. 10). Then it has been churned by a motor fitted machine (Fig. 11) which produces biogas, both liquid and dry organic fertilizer. The cow dung as then channelized for fuel purpose (Fig. 13) and the rest are utilized in field as organic manure in field.

Fig.10 Fig.11
Fig.12 Fig.13

Fig. 10, 11, 12 & 13: Water channelization process through cleaning and washing and subsequent product formation


Drinking does not cause water depletion. More than 80% of milk is water. So there must be provision of sufficient quality drinking water to dairy cows. Water is best utilized in a farm if both entry and exit can be handled efficiently in a farm. It is best to utilize water in a plastered shed than muddy one. Innovative concepts of water management are essential at initial level. Water is complementary to feed of animals. For getting more productivity, it is used efficiently.


The three case studies that have been highlighted here can be summarized in the following model. The replica model may be applied for small dairy farm which suits more to the small and marginal farmer.


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  2. Brugger M.2007. Water use on Ohio Dairy Farms. The Ohio State University. 1-3.
  3. Consultants S. 2012. Commercial Dairy Farming from 100 to 500 Cattle Heads. 1-4.
  4. Gabel G. 2000. Comparision of non-lactating and lactating cows.
  5. Harner J P, Brouk M J, Potts J, Bradford B & Smith J F. March 6-8 Reno, NV. Scientific Data for Developing Water Budgets on a Dairy. Western Dairy Management Conference.90-103.
  6. Peden D, Tadesse G, Misra AK, Ahmed AF, Astatke A, Ayalneh W, Herrero M, Kiwuwa G, Kumsa T, Mati B, Mpairwe D, Wassenaar T & Yimegnuhal A.2007. Water and Livestock for Human Development. International Water Management Institute. 4(8-16):485-514.
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  9. Thomson et al. (2007). Livestock [Online]. Accessed on 15/06/2017.
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