Housing Management Practices and Microclimate of Cattle Shed in Cauvery Delta Region of Tamil Nadu

A. Clement Ebenezer Henry1,*, T. Sivakumar1, V. Ramesh1, M. Ramachandran1, G. Rajarajan1
1Department of Livestock Production Management, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Orathanadu-614 625, Tamil Nadu, India.
Background: In India, most of the farmers are shifting towards organized dairy cattle farming system from paddy cultivation and extensive system of rearing due to scarcity of water resources and intense variance in climatic conditions. Hence, the present study provided valuable information about the existing dairy cattle housing in Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu.

Methods: The study on existing management practices of dairy cattle was conducted randomly among 90 farmers of Cauvery delta region, Tamil Nadu. A structured interview schedule was developed and pre-tested and the data on existing management practices were collected with the help of a pre-tested interview schedule. The data were collected by personal interview of the respondents individually at their animal house. The information on dairy production system and management practices were collected and the micro climate of different dairy cattle shed were recorded and analyzed.

Result: In Cauvery delta region, the majority of farmers (48.89%) engaged in rearing crossbred dairy cattle were in the middle age group and educated. Further, animal husbandry is either the primary (25.56%) or secondary (74.44%) profession of the farmers. From the study, it is understood that more than 70 per cent of farmers housed their dairy cattle in loose type of housing, adjacent to their home with east-west orientation. The most common roofing pattern adopted for their cattle sheds is gable type (54.45%), with a roofing material of galvanized iron sheet (30.00%). The black globe humidity index (BGHI) and heat load index (HLI) calculated for dairy cattle shed with different roofing structures showed significant difference (P<0.05) between thatched and tiled shed.
Livestock plays a major role in the agricultural sector in developing nations and the livestock sector contributes around 40 per cent to the total agricultural GDP. Due to the continuous growth in global demand for livestock products and the reliance of many people on livestock for their livelihoods, there is an urgent need to enhance the efficiency of natural-resource use in the sector and to reduce the environmental footprint of livestock production (FAO, 2009).

India’s livestock sector is one of the largest in the world. The total livestock population in the country is 536.76 million out of which dairy cattle alone accounts for 193.46 million, explicitly 12.5 per cent of world’s dairy cattle population. The crossbred cattle population in India is around 51.36 million, giving rise to an increase of 29.30 per cent to the pervious census (2012). In Tamil Nadu, the total dairy cattle population is 10.04 million in which crossbred dairy cattle alone contributes to 6.89 million (All India Report, 2019).

Crossbreeding programme of dairy cattle has played significant role in attaining India’s top position as highest milk producer country of the world, increasing its production from 17.0 million tonnes in 1950-1951 to about 198.40 million tonnes in 2019-2020 (Annual Report, 2021).

In India, most of the farmers are shifting towards organized dairy cattle farming system from paddy cultivation and extensive system of rearing due to scarcity of water resources and intense variance in climatic conditions. Consequently, it is high time to provide valuable information about the management practices of dairy cattle under field conditions and assist in evaluating the problems and constraints faced by dairy farmers in order to improve their livelihood. Therefore, the main objective of the present study was to analyze the current status and management practices of crossbred cattle followed in Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu.
 
The study on existing housing practices among farmers was conducted in the Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu mainly Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur and parts of Pudukkottai districts. A structured interview schedule was developed and pre-tested in a non-sampling area for exclusion and modification, if any. The data on existing management practices were collected with the help of a pre-tested interview schedule. In the Cauvery delta region, 30 farmers from each district, totaling 90 farmers were randomly selected. The data were collected by personal interview of the respondents individually at their dairy farm during February 2019 to July 2019.

The information on socio - economic status of farmers and housing management practices followed were collected in the study area. The data thus collected were coded, tabulated and analyzed. The relationship between socio - economic status of dairy farmers and their housing management practices were studied using Pearson’s correlation coefficient based on the housing infrastructure and adoption of management practices. Further, the meteorological parameters (microclimate of shed) were recorded between 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. in the dairy cattle shed of 90 farmers with different roofing structures such as thatched, tiled, asbestos and galvanized iron sheet. The meteorological parameters such as ambient temperature, relative humidity, air velocity, black globe temperature, dew point and wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) were recorded using SD card real time datalogger heat index WBGT meter (Model: WBGT - 2010SD, Lutron) and SD card real time data recorder Anemometer (Model: AM - 4237SD, Lutron). The recorded meteorological values were substituted in the corresponding index provided below to analysis the thermal comfort of the dairy cattle shed.

Temperature humidity index (THI) is calculated by applying the ambient temperature and relative humidity readings recorded in the given formula (Mader et al., 2006).
 
THI = (0.8 × AT) + {[(RH/100) × (AT - 14.4)] + 46.4}
 
Where
AT - Ambient temperature/dry bulb reading.
RH - Relative humidity.

Black globe humidity index (BGHI) is calculated by applying the black globe temperature and dew point readings recorded in different type of dairy cattle shed in the following formula (Buffington et al., 1981).
 
BGHI = Tbg + (0.36 × Tdp) + 41.5
 
Where,  
Tbg - Black globe temperature (°C).
Tdp - Dew point temperature (°C).

Heat load index (HLI) is calculated by applying the relative humidity, wind speed and black globe temperature readings recorded in the following formula (Gaughan et al., 2008).
 
HLI BG >25 = 8.62 + (0.38 × RH) + (1.55 × BG temperature) - (0.5× WS) + [e2.4- WS] and
HLI BG<25 = 10.66 + (0.28 × RH) + (1.3 × BG temperature) - WS
 
Where,
e = The base of the natural logarithm (approximate value of e = 2.71828).
RH - Relative humidity.
WS - Wind speed or air velocity.
BG - Black globe temperature.

The calculated value of THI, BGHI and HLI for different types of cattle shed in farmers field of Cauvery delta region were statistically analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics Version 20.0 by using statistical tools one-way ANOVA and the significance were tested by using Tukeys HSD test.
The socio- economic profile of farmers rearing crossbred dairy cattle in Cauvery delta region is presented in Table 1. The majority of farmers (48.89 per cent) in the Cauvery delta region, engaged in rearing crossbred dairy cattle were in the middle age group (36 - 50 years), followed by 38.89 per cent of farmers in the old age group (above 50 years) and only 12.22 per cent farmers were in the young age group (less than 35 years). The findings were in contrast with the study by Rajeev et al., (2016), which reported that a majority (46.66 per cent) of farmers in the old age group were engaged in animal husbandry practices in Shamli district of Indo-Gangetic Plain zone. Regarding the education status of farmers, nearly 28.89 per cent and 22.22 per cent of dairy farmers had completed their graduation and higher secondary studies respectively. The illiterate among dairy farmers in the present study area is only 03.33 per cent which is in accordance with the study of Senthilkumar et al., (2005) and Desai et al., (2012).

Table 1: Socio- economic profile of farmers in Cauvery delta region.



Further, in Cauvery delta region, 61.11 per cent and 25.56 per cent of farmers have agriculture and animal husbandry as their main occupation. Similarly, 74.44 per cent and 14.45 per cent farmers have animal husbandry and agriculture as subsidiary occupation. The findings were supported by the observations of Gopi et al., (2016). The majority of dairy farmers (44.44 per cent) in present study were marginal land holders and only a minimum of 1.11 per cent farmers were landless which is in contrast to the study by Nisha (1996) in Modakurichi block of Periyar district, Tamil Nadu. The variation in the land holding in Cauvery delta region compared with other findings may be due to the farmers having agriculture as either main or subsidiary occupation in addition to animal husbandry activities. The herd size of animal in the present study is nearly equal in all groups with large (above 10 animals) 35.56 per cent, small (1- 5 animals) 34.44 per cent and medium (6-10 animals) 30.00 per cent.

In this region, 42.22 per cent of farmers have more than 20 years of experience, 38.89 percent have less than 10 years of experience and just 18.89 percent have 11 to 12 years of experience, which is comparable with Rajadurai et al., (2018), who found that the majority of the farmers (40 per cent) in his study had 20-30 years of experience.

The housing management followed by farmers in Cauvery delta region for their crossbred dairy cattle is summarized in Table 2. In the study, 73.33 per cent of farmers in the Cauvery delta region practice loose type of housing, while the remaining 26.67 per cent use conventional dairy barn type of housing. However, according to the study conducted by Singh et al., (2015) among dairy farmers in Ranchi district, Jharkhand, a slightly higher proportion (95%) of farmers practice loose type of housing. Most of the farmers (76.67 per cent) rearing crossbred cattle in present study have constructed their animal house adjacent to their home and 74.44 per cent of cattle shed structure is Kutcha type. Similar findings were reported by Rathore et al., (2010) on housing pattern of crossbred cattle owners in Rajasthan who showed that majority of the farmers (65%) housed their cattle near to their homes and that 86.33 per cent of cattle shed structures in his study were kutcha type, which is slightly higher than the present study.

Table 2: Housing management practices of crossbred dairy cattle in Cauvery delta region.



Most of dairy cattle sheds in the Cauvery delta area were constructed in East-West orientation (70.00 per cent) and the remaining 30 per cent of farmers have built their animal houses in North-South orientation. However, according to Sinha et al., (2009), 56.6 percent of rural dairy animal houses in the Bareilly region of Uttar Pradesh were oriented in east-west direction. To feed and water their crossbred dairy cattle, the farmers commonly use basket type mangers (64.44%) and basin type waterers (57.78%) in Cauvery delta region. In the study area, the most common roofing pattern adopted by farmers for their cattle sheds is gable type roof (54.45 per cent), followed by lean to type roof (40.00 per cent), Gothic arch roof (3.33 per cent) and monitor type roof (2.22 per cent). However, the percentage of farmers using various roofing structure for their cattle shed were thatched (23.33 per cent), tiled (15.56 per cent), asbestos (27.78 per cent) and galvanized iron sheet (33.33 per cent), respectively which was in contrast to the findings of Sabapara et al., (2010) among tribal dairy farmers of Gujarat.

Nearly, half of the farmers selected for the study have gravel type (46.66 per cent) of flooring in their cattle shed, followed by stone flooring and cement concrete flooring (26.67 per cent) each. Large number of farmers (74.44 per cent) in the study used to collect dung from their cattle shed twice a day regularly. Most of the farmers (98.89 per cent) store the collected manure in the manure pit and around 84.44 per cent of them utilize the manure for their own farm use. Based on the score on general condition and cleanliness of the dairy cattle shed in Cauvery delta region, the housing condition for animals was fair (score-03) in 61.11 per cent cattle shed, followed by good (score-04) in 21.11 per cent cattle shed, poor (score-2) in 16.67 per cent shed and very good (score-5) in only 1.11 per cent cattle shed.

Pearson’s correlation study of socio- economic status with housing management of dairy farmers in Cauvery delta region is presented in Table 3. The age and experience of farmers had a negative and non-significant relationship with dairy housing structures for animal comfort, adoption of general condition and cleanliness of dairy cattle shed. This may be due to the fact that older people with traditional knowledge were reluctant to take up the newer ideas or changes in housing management system arising to the variation in climatic condition. Education status, land holding and herd size had a positive and significant relationship at 1 per cent level whereas occupation had a positive non-significant relationship with dairy housing infrastructure and adoption of housing management practices. The result shows that educated farmers with animal husbandry as main occupation having more land holding and rearing a greater number of dairy cattle trends to adopt suitable housing management practices to the maximum.

Table 3: Pearson’s correlation analysis of socio- economic statuswith housing management practices adopted by dairy farmers (n= 90).



The mean ± SE of microclimate of dairy cattle shed with different roofing structure in Cauvery delta region is given in Table 4. The black globe temperature of thatched (34.17±0.65°C) and tiled (37.87±1.13°C) roof structures in dairy cattle shed differs significantly (P<0.05). The overall mean of black globe temperature recorded inside different dairy cattle shed of Cauvery delta region ranges from 32.82°C to 40.32°C. The mean±SE of temperature humidity index (THI), black globe humidity index (BGHI) and Heat Load Index (HLI) of dairy cattle shed with different roofing structure in Cauvery delta region are presented in Table 5. The higher value of THI was recorded in tiled type cattle shed (83.48±0.41). The overall mean of THI value in dairy cattle shed with different roofing structure is 82.76±0.23 which falls under moderate heat stress condition (THI 79 to 88) as categorized by Armstrong (1994). In the present study, the lower THI value was noticed in thatched shed (82.06±0.49), which is in accordance with the findings of Jat et al., (2002).

Table 4: Mean ± SE of microclimate of dairy cattle shed with different roofing structure in Cauvery delta region.



Table 5: Mean ± SE of THI, BGHI and HLI in different roofing materials of dairy cattle shed in Cauvery delta region.



BGHI and HLI showed significant difference (P<0.05) between thatched cattle shed and tiled shed. The value of BGHI and HLI in thatched shed was 83.52±0.36 and 87.32±1.36 respectively, which is considered to be low among all the other roofing structures. The overall mean HLI value of different types of cattle sheds was 89.34±0.49 which is below the threshold level for Bos indicus (HLI - 96) and on par with the threshold level for white coat colour (HLI-89) developed by Gaughan et al., (2008). 
According to a study on socio- economic status and housing management practices in Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu, majority of the farmers were marginal land holders having animal husbandry activities as either main or subsidiary occupation with good experience and traditional knowledge on crossbred dairy cattle rearing. Most of the farmers in the region housed their animal in loose kutcha type of housing, close to their habitation with gable roof pattern in East - West orientation.

The relationship between dairy farmers socioeconomic status and housing management practices reveals that farmers with higher education, more land holding, a larger herd size and animal husbandry as their primary occupation had better dairy housing infrastructure for animal comfort and were more involved in the effective adoption of housing management practices. Further, it is concluded that thatched shed provides more comfort to the animal in terms of heat load index in spite of the hot and humid climatic condition prevailing in the region.
I would want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University for allowing me to undertake research for my Ph.D. on a part-time basis. Furthermore, the academics of TANUVAS and the personnel of the animal husbandry department are gratefully recognized for their assistance and facilities. Many gratitude and admiration are offered to the farmers of the Cauvery delta region for their gracious participation and assistance in carrying out this study.
None

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