A field survey of randomly selected 250 buffalo farmers of Murrah tract of Haryana state revealed that most of the farmers (80.8 %) vaccinated their animals against the contagious diseases; only a few farmers (28.8 %) were adopting deworming of adult animals whereas majority (56.4%) of dairy farmers were deworming their calves only after infestation. Most of the farmers (99.2 %) did not adopt disinfection of animal shed whereas 15.2 per cent of farmers used disinfectant while bathing the animals. It was observed that isolation of sick animals was done by only 23.6 per cent of the farmers and ectoparasites control measures adopted by dairy farmers were different. It was found that 66.4 per cent farmers were following recommended dose and duration of medicine for their animals and 72.4 per cent of them trimmed the horns of their animals. Only 31.2 per cent respondents were not handling the aborted foetus and discharges with bare hands and 26.8 per cent were following the withholding period of medicine treated animal’s milk before consumption. Overall about 66.8 per cent farmers were having medium level of adoption. Caste, education, land holding and knowledge of healthcare practices had highly significant relationship with the adoption of health care practices.
Animal husbandry is an important sector to supplement the income of rural masses in Haryana. The contribution of animal husbandry and dairying sector towards the state’s agricultural gross domestic product is around 35 per cent. The total annual milk production in the year 2014-15 has reached 79.01 lakh tonne. The per capita per day availability of milk in the state has increased to 805 gram, which is second highest in the country (Anonymous, 2016). The state has the pride of being the home tract of world famous breed Murrah buffaloes. The composition of bovine population in Haryana has undergone a substantial change over the years. The total buffalo population in the state is 6.08 million numbers as per livestock census 2012. There is an increase in number of buffaloes with 2.22 per cent during the inter censuses period (2007-2012). However, the female buffalo population has increased by 2.19 per cent during the inter censuses period (2007-2012). Understanding of existing livestock management practices followed by farmers is necessary to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the rearing systems (Gupta et al., 2008). Further, higher milk production can be achieved by proper implementation of the scientific dairy husbandry practices. Health management is one of the most important aspects of buffalo productivity but unfortunately it is generally ignored by the farmers of the rural areas. Animal health has a direct bearing on the productivity of the dairy animals and so on the profitability of the dairy enterprise but many research evidences revealed that the dairy farmers in Haryana are not keeping pace with the constantly changing improved technologies. Hence necessary intervention is to be made to inculcate the health care practices. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to document information regarding health care management practices followed by the farmers of Murrah tract of Haryana state.
Materials and Methods
The present study was conducted in Haryana state during 2015-16. The Haryana state comprises of 21 districts. Out of which 5 districts namely Bhiwani, Hisar, Jind, Rohtak and Jhajjar were selected purposively for the study as these are the major tract of Murrah buffalo. From each district one block was selected randomly. A comprehensive list of villages of each selected block was prepared. Two villages were then randomly chosen from each selected block using simple lottery method. Thus, a total of ten villages were selected in all. Twenty five farmers were randomly selected from each of the ten selected villages thus constituting a sample size of 250 dairy farmers. Twenty independent variables representing socio-economic, psychological and communication were selected for correlation purpose. Adoption of recommended buffalo health care practices was considered as dependent variable. Eleven important health care items were included. The data were collected personally by the researcher using the well structured and pretested interview schedule. Data were subjected to appropriate statistical analysis.
Results and Discussion
The findings are presented and discussed in terms of item-wise adoption of recommended health care practices, adoption level of buffalo farmers and relationship between independent variables with adoption of recommended health care practices.
Item-Wise Adoption of Recommended Health Care Practices
The results of item-wise healthcare management practices followed by the farmers in the study area are presented in Table 1.
Table 1: Item-wise healthcare management practices followed by the farmers of Murrah tract of Haryana
|S. No.||Items Related to Health Care Practice||Respondents (n=250)|
|1||Vaccination of animal||Followed||202||80.8|
|a) All animal||124||61.39|
|b) Except lactating||78||38.61|
|2||Deworming of buffalo||Followed||72||28.8|
|a) < twice a year||28||38.89|
|b) Twice a year||33||45.83|
|c) > twice a year||11||15.28|
|3||Deworming of calf||a) 1-2 weeks of birth||66||26.4|
|b)1 month of birth||43||17.2|
|c) after infestation only||141||56.4|
|4||Disinfection of animal shed||Followed||2||0.8|
|5||Disinfectant while bathing the animal||Followed||38||15.2|
|7||Isolation of diseased animals suffering from contagious disease||Followed||59||23.6|
|a) Only feed and water||52||88.14|
|9||Recommended dose and duration of medicine||Followed||166||66.4|
|10||Not handling of aborted foetus and discharge with bare hands||Followed||78||31.2|
|11||Holding period of milk of medicine treated animal||Followed||67||26.8|
n= number of respondents
Vaccination of Animal
The perusal of the results revealed that most of the respondents (80.8%) vaccinated their buffaloes against the contagious diseases prevalent in the area. This was suggestive of fairly high level of awareness in farmers regarding protecting the animals by vaccination. These findings are well comparable with finding of Kumar (2015) who found that almost all the farmers were adopting vaccination against the contagious diseases. Further, out of total respondents who vaccinated the animals, about 61.39 per cent vaccinated all animal but 38.61 per cent didn’t vaccinate the lactating animal. The reason given by famers for not vaccinating milk animal was that vaccination of lactating animal will result in decrease in milk yield. So there is a need to educate the famers to break the myth that decrease in milk yield is not due to vaccine but it is due to stress felt by animal during vaccination.
Deworming of Adult Animal
It was observed that very few respondents (28.8%) practiced deworming of their adult animals. Out of the 28.8 percent farmers who practiced deworming, only 45.83 per cent of them were deworming regularly as recommended. The less number of farmers practicing deworming might be due to lack of knowledge regarding the harm caused by the parasitic load. Further, there is need to educate the farmers about correct deworming schedule of adult animal. This finding is well comparable with finding of Kumar et al. (2014) who found that more than 60 per cent farmers were not using deworming practices in their animals. Deworming was done at regular interval in only 2 per cent cases in all the three blocks except Burhar block of Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh where it was 3 per cent.
Deworming of Calves
Majority (56.4%) of dairy farmers were deworming their calves only after infestation. Only 26.4 per cent dewormed within 1-2 weeks of age and the rest 17 per cent farmers dewormed after age of one month. This shows that there is need to aware the farmers about right time of deworming the calves. Maousami et al. (2013) also observed that only 2 per cent of respondents dewormed their calves within recommended time. Whereas, majority (55%) dewormed their calves after infestation and 28 per cent dewormed their calves after two weeks of birth and 15 per cent dewormed after one month of birth. These findings were also comparable with finding of Sabapara et al. (2010).
Isolation of Diseased Animals Suffering From Contagious Disease
The data given in Table 1 indicate that only 23.6 per cent of farmers, isolated contagious disease infected animals and majority did not. Out of these complete isolation was followed by only 11.86 per cent of the respondents. Similar findings were reported by Kumar et al. (2011).
Ectoparasites Control Measures
It was also observed that all the respondents were adopting ectoparasites control measures but their method of control was different. About 26 per cent were removing manually, 34 per cent through insecticides and 40 per cent by both manually and insecticides. This implies that respondents were aware of harms caused by ectoparasites. Rathore and Kachwaha (2009) observed that 39.50 per cent of the respondents used dusting of insecticides whereas 37.50 and 23 per cent did manual picking and spraying of insecticides, respectively to control of lice and ticks.
Disinfection of Animal Sheds
Almost all respondents (99.2%) did not follow the disinfection of animal sheds. The reasons behind this might have been a lack of awareness among farmers, a high disinfectant cost, and an additional burden which did not give any immediate return to the farmer. More and concentrated efforts must be done to motivate farmers to follow this practice. Kishore et al. (2013) noticed that application of disinfectants was occasional by most (88.33%) of the farmers and about 11.67 per cent of them applied disinfectants to their sheds rarely.
Disinfectant While Bathing the Animals
Only 15.2 per cent of farmers used disinfectant while bathing the animals. This indicates that these farmers were extra cautious about health of their animals.
Recommended Dose and Duration of Medicines as Directed and Advised by Veterinarian
It was found that majority (66.4%) of farmers were following recommended dose and duration of medicine for their animals but 20.4 per cent of them were not following the recommended dose and duration of medicines. About 13.2 per cent farmers sometimes followed the recommended dose and duration of medicines for their animals. This indicates that dairy farmers are managing the use of all chemicals to prevent the chemicals adversely affecting animal health and productivity, the health and safety of the user, the environment or the safety and quality of milk. Using veterinary chemicals in accordance with label directions, gives a predictable outcome whilst managing the potential risks.
Horn Trimming of Animal
More than two-third (72.4%) of farmers trimmed the horns of their animals. This indicates that farmers were taking care of their animal’s health nicely. Out of these 52.49 per cent dairy farmers followed horn trimming only when there was wound in the head. This indicates that there is need to sensitize dairy farmers about animal welfare. 27.6 per cent respondents were not trimmed their animal’s horn at all. The reason for this might be not facing the difficulty by little dairying experience.
Not Handling the Aborted Foetus and Discharges with Bare Hands
Only 31.2 per cent respondents were not handling whereas majority (68.8%) of farmers were handling the aborted foetus and discharges with bare hands. This indicates that farmers are unaware about health hazards caused by infected discharges. As the discharges and aborted foetus may pose potential health hazards to other animals as well as humans so these should be handled with care. More and concentrated efforts must be done to motivate farmers to follow this practice.
Withholding Period of Medicine Treated Animal’s Milk
About 26.8 per cent followed the withholding period of medicine treated animal’s milk before consumption whereas 73.8 per cent of them were not following this practice. A withholding period can be defined as the period during which milk can’t be sent for human consumption following the treatment of animal with a drug. Following withholding period will prevent occurrence of chemical residues in milk.
Adoption Level of Buffalo Farmers about Recommended Health Care Practices
On the basis of mean + standard deviation (17.10 + 1.98), the respondents were divided into three categories of adoption i.e. low, medium and high level of adoption. It is evident from the data presented in Table 2 that majority (66.8%) of respondents had medium level of adoption.
Table 2: Adoption level of buffalo farmers about recommended health care practices
|Aspects||Level of adoption||Respondents (n=250)|
|Health care management||Low (< 15.12)||41||16.4|
n= number of respondents
The possible reason may be that the respondents were aware about the health care of the buffalo. Singh et al. (2012) observed that majority of the dairy farmers (44.2%) had fallen in medium category of adoption of health care practices followed by 30.8 per cent in low and 25.0 per cent in high, respectively. These findings are also in accordance with the findings of Satyanarayan and Jagadeeswary (2010) and Aulakh and Singh (2015).
Relationship between Independent Variables of the Buffalo Owners with Adoption of Recommended Health Care Practices
The correlation estimates between independent variables and the adoption are presented in Table 3.
Table 3: Correlation between independent variables and adoption of healthcare management practices
|S. No.||Independent Variables||Respondents
|4||Annual income (X4)||0.207**|
|6||Family size (X6)||0.038|
|7||Type of family (X7)||-0.064|
|8||Land holding (X8)||0.329**|
|9||Social participation (X9)||0.199**|
|10||Training on dairy farming (X10)||0.162*|
|11||Information seeking behaviour (X11)||0.113|
|12||Economic motivation (X12)||0.155*|
|13||Risk orientation (X13)||0.018|
|14||Attitude towards rearing Murrah buffalo (X14)||0.120|
|15||Market orientation (X15)||-0.029|
|16||Scientific orientation (X16)||0.196**|
|18||Credit orientation (X18)||0.121|
|19||Change proneness (X19)||0.146*|
|20||Knowledge of healthcare practices (X20)||0.427**|
* P<0.05, **P<0.01, n = number of respondents
It can be concluded from the present study that dairy farmers of Murrah tract had medium level of adoption of recommended health care practices. Higher adoption rate was observed regarding the practices like vaccination of animals against the contagious diseases, recommended dose and duration of medicine for their animals and trimming of the horns whereas they had poor adoption about practices like deworming of adult animals, disinfection of animal shed, isolation of sick animals, not handling the aborted foetus and discharges with bare hands and not following the withholding period of medicine treated animal’s milk before consumption. Adoption level of the recommended health care practices showed a positive and highly significant relationship with caste, education, land holding and knowledge of health care practices. Extension functionaries of Murrah tract should update the knowledge level of buffalo owners, particularly about those health care practices in which the adoption rate was low and the practices which is incorrectly followed so that animal welfare, farmer’s socioeconomic condition and living standard could be raised.