What is Animal Husbandry
A majority of the Indian population is primarily dependent on the agriculture sector with around half of the population being involved in this. Apart from the mainstream cash-cropping exercise, a majority of this sector is involved with Animal Husbandry. In India, a large number of farmers are dependent on animals for their livelihood. In addition to milk, meat, eggs, wool, and hide(skin), animals like bullock are still considered as the backbone of agriculture and serve as a major source of power and transportation for the rural population. A gross value of this sector is nearly about 25% of the total agricultural output of India. India had approximately 25 percent of the world’s cattle, with a collective herd of 193 million head. India also had 110 million goats, 75 million water buffaloes, 44 million sheep, and 10 million pigs. Milk production in FY 1990 was estimated to have reached 53.5 million tons, and egg production had reached a level of 23.3 billion eggs. Today, India has the world’s largest dairy herd (composed of cows and buffaloes), at over 304 million strong, and stands first in milk production, with 112.5 million tons of milk produced in 2009-2010.
Problems Faced by Animals During Extreme Heat
Animals naturally tend to face a lot of problems during the summer season, mainly because of the intolerable heat. Extreme heat causes significant stress for all animals and as a reason, it results in low production rate, a decrease in output and quality products, and risk of falling ill. Farmers of all type have shades to prevent their livestock from extreme weather condition, but these shades are sometimes inadequate in providing a suitable and cool environment. Further, these shelters are built on small patches of land with a high density of livestock, that is responsible for further degradation of output in production. For instance, dark skinned animals, dairy cattle, and young animals are at a higher risk of heat stress and these types of animals should be watched more closely for signs of heat stress during days of high temperature. These problems cannot be neglected in a long run and often farmers rely upon temporary solutions to resolve them. Another way to avoid the heat is to take the animals to a water body like a pond or any other large water source and leave them (like buffaloes) in water for at least 4 hours a day. The problem with this approach is that not all dairy farmers have access to a pond or a river and this method is not practical for big dairy farms.
Solar Powered Foggers: A Revolutionary Innovation for Dairy Farms
A solar powred fogger is a simple device that takes a mixture of water and fresh air as input. These flow under pressure, through a pipe which has multiple nozzles. The resultant mixture, which is developed in a pressurized condition, is then released as mist/fog (this setup is also known as misters or mist systems). The water droplets developed by the system evaporate before they can reach to the ground. This mist form helps in reducing the overall temperature of the animal’s shed. Thus, Foggers are used to maintain humidity and control temperature in a closed environment. This helps in maintaining a suitable and comfortable environment for animals, and keeping them safe from heat strokes and other heat related issues. Overall, this helps in increased output.
Apart from serving the need of dairy farmers, these foggers have other applications as well. These include:
- Watering plants in Greenhouses and Poly houses.
- Sprinkling the pesticides.
The Solar Fogging Solution
Electricity is still inaccessible across many villages in India. Even if the villages with a proper electrical network, power is not available as per the requirement. Presently, the rural population is largely dependent on diesel for electrical needs and the same applies in the case of foggers. These foggers are primarily being run with the help of diesel as grid electricity is not available in abundance to the farmers. Solar powered foggers have a very low or negligible maintenance cost. Switching from diesel to solar is considered infeasible by many farmers as the solar systems require a high cost for initial setup. Also, during the summer season, when the requirement of these foggers is at peak, these solar powered foggers tend to work at the highest efficiency. Further, emission of smoke from diesel powered foggers can have a dangerous effect on the livestock. Solar powered foggers are safe to use with no carbon emission.
Claro Energy-ICAR Collaboration on Solar Fogger systems
Claro Energy undertook a project in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Claro Energy deployed a solar fogger system at the Patna campus of ICAR. ICAR had been looking for a sustainable solution to keep the temperature of their buffalo shed in control. The project site had a shortage of continuous grid electricity supply and hence deploying a fogger that runs on Grid power wasn’t helpful. Therefore, Claro Energy undertook this project of designing a solar powered fogger for ICAR. This project helped ICAR by providing a desired solution to maintain a suitable temperature in Buffalo shed. This step will result in higher milk production as compared to the past and will provide with a suitable environment for breeding as well.
The System and its Working
The system consists of Solar Modules, DC Motor, Fogging Nozzles, and Pressure generation machine. Here Solar Modules serve as the primary source for energy requirement, converting Solar Energy to Electrical Energy. There is a Change Over Switch connected between the Solar Module and D.C. Motor, that provides the D.C. supply to the motor or other pumps. The D.C. motor has a two-way connection, one with the storage tank, where water is stored for fogging purpose and other with the Fogging Nozzles. A Fogger Machine is used to pressurize the flow of water that serves the purpose of fogging. It combines fresh air with water supply to create mist/fog. Fogging Nozzles generate water droplets that evaporate and helps in maintaining a lower temperature in the shed.
Thus, like any other agricultural necessity, a fogger is the demand of the hour and will significantly boost up the output from Animal Husbandry. Also, due to the lack of grid electricity, or to avoid the high maintenance and running cost of diesel pumps, Solar Powered foggers are the best possible solution that supports economic feasibility in a long run.
Written by: Abhishek
Edited by: Priyanka