Introducing GoatSignals® in India

Almost three years ago, HollandDoor started to conduct CowSignals® training activities in India. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first sessions were held online, but for more than a year, we have been able to run them in-person on various farms. We train using the CowSignals® Diamond, a framework that combines all the important factors for cow welfare, with a particular focus on housing, feeding, reproduction, health, and milking. With the CowSignals® Diamond, we analyze feed, water, light, air, rest, and space on the dairy farm, teaching participants to answer questions, like “What do I see?”, “Why has this happened?” and “What does this mean?” We try to pick up the signals that cows are constantly giving out and use this information to maintain and improve the productivity of the herd. CowSignals® is a very popular concept all over the world, including among dairy organizations in Indian states such as Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.

 

Following the positive impact of this program, HollandDoor is developing the GoatSignals® concept with the support of the Netherlands-based CowSignals® Training Company. Meat and milk from goats are very popular in many countries around the world, in part due to how economical goat farming is. For every milking cow, you can raise and milk three to five goats, depending on the fodder position and the price of the milk. Moreover, goat milk has numerous health benefits, and goat meat, especially from young goats, is a very tasty product. There is more and more interest in keeping goats inside, as this approach leads to better results in milk and meat production. If the feeding and health of goats are well managed, the animals are a very good source of income in developing countries, such as India. The GoatSignals® concept can contribute to a better understanding of the housing of goats, by analyzing feed, water, light, air, rest, and space on the farm. Score cards and checklists are available to assess performance on feeding, reproduction, health, and milking, including Body Condition Score (BCS) and Rumen Fill Score (RFS).

 

Later this year, we will hold the first GoatSignals® workshops in the Indian states of Punjab and Maharshtra, working together with farmers’ associations and agricultural colleges. During the workshops, we will use score cards and checklists for goats and kids (young goats) and teach participants about the GoatSignals® Diamond, which is similar to the framework we use for cows. With better management, we expect that small farms will grow to medium-sized farms and increasingly keep their goats inside. Of course, we recognize the need for better fodder production, better health control, and crossing with better breeds. In the coming years, we will also have to develop the market for goat meat, milk, and cheese in Punjab and Maharashtra. Nevertheless, we strongly believe that groups of local goat farmers will join together in regional goat cooperatives to market their goat milk and meat across India.

 

For more information, please contact Ad Merks.

 



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