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Lumpy skin disease had marginal impact on India’s milk output in FY23

India’s liquid milk production this year has been marginally impacted by the outbreak of the Lumpy Skin Disease in some parts of the country.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has lowered milk output for 2022 by 0.5 per cent, or about one million tonnes, at 202.5 million tonnes (mt), against the earlier estimate of 203.5 mt.

This is the result of lower milk yield in cattle and water buffalo herds affected by the LSD outbreak in Maharashtra and the northern parts of India, the FAS report, released on October 26, said.

It said the rising cost of fodder and grain prices contributed to lower milk yield per animal. The uneven 2022 monsoon, which was characterised by prolonged dry spells, coupled with abnormally high rains, affected availability of fodder throughout 2022, the report said.

However, the projected production at 202.5 mt for 2022 is about 1.75 per cent higher than output of 199 mt in 2021.

Further, the US agency said liquid milk output in 2023, starting January, will be 2.2 per cent higher at 207 mt, from 202.5 mt estimated for 2022. This is far lower than theestimated 6 per cent growth recorded in milk output during the past eight years.

SMP output

The FAS has forecast skimmed milk powder (SMP) production in 2023 at 740,000 mt, up 6 per cent from the previous year, following higher milk production and increased export demand.

According to the report, factors limiting dairy cow productivity include the low genetic potential of Indian bovines, limited nutritious and balanced feed rations, and inadequate veterinary care. India’s average milk yield per animal per day has been recorded lower than that in the US at over 30 kg/day and in the United Kingdom at 22 kg/day. However, India’s per capita milk consumption is recorded at 427 grams (g)/ day (2020-2021), higher than the world average of 305 g/day.

The report noted that due to a rise in input costs in 2022, cow milk procurement prices ranged between Rs 32-36/litre and buffalo milk procurement prices between Rs 55-57/litre. The average consumer retail price of milk stood at Rs 54/litre.

On the wholesale price index (WPI), beginning April 2022, the index for milk, ghee, butter, and powdered milk (SMP) steadily increased from about 140-145 in 2019 to 165-170 in the quarter ended September 2022. But the WPI for fodder price index rose at a faster clip, from around 140 in 2019 to 220 in September 2022. This put an additional burden on the cost of production for dairy farmers.

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