Under Operation Flood and the World Bank-aided dairy development programmes, much emphasis was given on organising milk procurement on the famous Anand Pattern. This pattern paid a solid foundation on which the mammoth infrastructure of village Dairy Cooperative Societies (DCS), District Milk Unions and State Milk Federations has been built. This was done over forty years ago but the infrastructure is sustained even today mainly due to adequate milk procurement which is the real lifeline of dairying.

With the liberalisation of the Indian economy in 1990, many dairies have been set up in the private sector which have organised milk procurement in competition with the cooperative set-up. This has not been always successful since it lacked some or many of the features of the Anand Pattern. Even now if any dairy organisation has to be successful, it has to imbibe the features of the Anand Pattern and then make an attempt. What are these features of milk procurement on the Anand Pattern?

Is milk procurement an art? Is it a science or a technology? Has it got anything to do with philosophy? All these questions can be answered in affirmative, if milk procurement has to be organised successfully. Let us see how milk procurement — a subject often considered non-technical — is in reality a grand mix of all the faculties mentioned above.

Milk Procurement – an Art

By definition art is a human creative skill and its application. In this context, milk procurement is nothing short of creation which requires skill and its application. Organising Milk Collection Centres (MCC), under a cooperative system or otherwise, in a skillful manner is a basic requirement for milk procurement. This has to be done by a team of dedicated workers whether called as supervisors or officers. They have to be properly selected — whether undergraduates or graduates (in Animal Husbandry, Veterinary Science, Agriculture, Dairy Science, Commerce or Arts); they should be young, preferably bachelors, energetic, bright, talkative and most importantly willing to work in villages day and night.

The recruitment should take place at least six months ahead of the commissioning of the dairy plant. After selection, these persons have to be given at least two months’ training depending on their educational background. Once trained, they can be put on the job under the leadership of one experienced person.

Depending on the area of operation and the quantity of milk to be procured, the procurement team should organize their work in a phased manner. It should be properly realised that organising MCCs and/or Milk Collection Routes (MCR) requires lot of patience and perseverance since it involves innumerable visits to the villages to collect information, meet farmers, organize meetings etc. It should be understood that the farmers do have their priorities of farming operations and the team has to overcome these hurdles and make visits even at odd hours to get its ideas through.

A systematic approach starts with a village survey to estimate marketable surplus milk and find out the potential for future growth in milk production apart from connectivity, road conditions, etc.

The information collected in the survey form is to be properly analysed before taking a decision to start MCC. It is difficult to lay down any criterion for minimum quantity of milk collection for MCC. However, it is more likely that a MCC likely to collect less than 150 litres per day will be unviable. Similar surveys are conducted in all potential villages falling on all the main and secondary roads across the length and breadth of the operational area. After establishing viability in a series of villages, a MCR is designed while taking into account number of villages, quantity of milk available per shift, distance from dairy, distance from village to village, road condition, time taken for milk transportation from first pickup point to the time of reaching the dairy plant, which should be less than four and half hours.

Simultaneously, arrangements are made to hire a suitable vehicle to carry maximum quantity of milk per haulage. The dairy organisation should never own the fleet of procurement vehicles since the hired vehicles ensure timely running and allows fixing of responsibility of milk sourage due to late arrival on the contractor. Needless to say, vehicle maintenance by the contractor ensures efficiency. A typical legal contract with the transport contractor incorporates the duties and responsibilities, terms of billing and payment, the dairy’s prerogative to send employees, mail, any material like acid/alcohol/cattle feed etc to the MCCs on the MCR.

Before actually starting any MCC, other arrangements are required to be made at village level. A couple of meetings with the farmers/village women will help in confidence building. During these meetings only such assurances be given which are possible to fulfil. Any tall talk may not help in the long run. For each MCC a time schedule is fixed for milk collection apart from selecting a convenient place. At the selected place the MCC will collect and test milk, and keep the records. Each MCC has to be provided with a set of equipment and registers. Each MCC shall have to be supplied chemicals for milk testing, and washing. At every MCC a local person has to be appointed and trained in milk collection, testing, record keeping and in ensuring the MCC is neat and clean. The training programme shall be tailor-made as per the background of the persons appointed to run the MCCs. While taking a decision about starting a MCC, the entire cost of running may be worked out on per litre basis. It is recommended that the procurement exercise may be taken up under some guidance or by recruiting a key person with experience.



A scientific approach is required in milk procurement at every stage. Before starting a MCC, the information collected in the survey form has to be analysed to understand the pattern of dairying in that village. The breeds of cows and buffaloes, the number of animals in milk and dry, the level of animal husbandry practices, lactation length, available green and dry fodder, artificial insemination etc will help to guess the potential of milk production and futuristic calculation. While organising MCR, the perishable nature of milk, its microbiology, biochemistry shall have to be kept in mind. At each MCC certain discipline shall have to be enforced by organoleptic testing wherein stale, sour, adulterated milk shall be rejected. Also, the time schedule fixed for milk collection has to be strictly adhered so as to assure milk utility.

The dairy organisation should always procure milk in both the shifts (morning and evening). Unless cooled in bulk cooler at the MCC, milk should be transported to the dairy in each shift. These days the farmers are accustomed to bring milk in plastic kettle, or buckets made of aluminum or stainless steel. It would be good, if the MCC provides clean (and hot) water so that the farmers can rinse and clean the empty vessels before taking them home. The farmers should be trained to bring milk in clean vessels, and the milk cans at the MCC should be washed with liquid cleaner or washing soda.

At MCC, the milk samples should be tested for fat content and SNF calculations. A person has to be trained for this function which further needs constant supervision. Mere supply of milk testing chemicals or even their sale to the MCC does not guarantee that the milk samples will be tested, and the same holds good for washing chemicals which calls for constant supervision. All the glassware used for milk testing along with sample bottles needs to be washed after every shift.

The milk collection routes have to be given a time schedule so that the route vehicle reaches the dairy dock at the interval of every twenty minutes. All the vehicles should report in such a fashion that the milk reception is over within the stipulated time.

At the Raw Milk Reception Dock, the milk cans are loaded on conveyor in a particular sequence and each can is inspected for abnormal taste, smell, colour etc. A sample is immediately checked for Clot on Boiling test (COB) and then the milk is received MCC-wise and samples are drawn for further testing in the laboratory. These samples are checked for acidity, MBRT, and for adulterants like sugar, starch, urea, soda, water and preservatives, etc.

The results of milk weighment, fat and SNF percentage are communicated to the MCCs through the transport vehicles on a truck sheet which is a two-way communication. It brings in information filled in by the MCCs regarding the vehicle arrival and departure time, number of milk cans sent and complaints if any. To respond to such complaints, the dairy makes arrangement to preserve the milk samples by addition of potassium dichromate and under cold storage.

If acidity in the collected milk is more than 0.15% of lactic acid, it should be treated as sour milk. MBRT at the time of reception should be minimum 30 minutes. Milk failing in organoleptic acceptance is to be treated as sour milk.

The dairy organisation has to adopt a milk pricing policy, which should have scientific and economic base. A pricing system ascribing price for both fat and SNF portions in milk on the basis of relative prices of ghee and skim milk powder respectively in the market, called as two-axis pricing, is perhaps the best solution. It rationally evaluates cow milk and buffalo milk and gives justice to the cow farmer and the buffalo farmer.

Similarly, the dairy plant has to make arrangements to receive milk which is sour or even curdled and make suitable deductions from the payment. Generally sour milk is levied penalty per litre and curdled milk could be bought for one-fourth rate of good milk. However, it is imperative for the dairy to have arrangements to convert sour milk into ghee and casein. Such a payment system also ensures that the farmers supply good milk and proper care is taken at MCC.

As per the pricing policy, milk purchase rates have to be decided from time to time while taking into account the production season (lean/flush), milk available, prices paid by the competitors, and the dairy organisation’s ability to pay the best prices.. The milk payment charts are prepared in the form of a ready reckoner giving slabs of fat percentage on the horizontal axis and the quantity of milk on the vertical axis. The prices per litre, a part in decimal, and in multiple of litre can be read by correlating the volume and the actual fat%.

It is clarified here that although the pricing is based on both fat and SNF, in actual practice the rates per litre are worked out on the basis of assuming 8.5% SNF in cow milk and 9% SNF in buffalo milk. This arrangement is quite practical since the percentage of SNF is not widely variable whereas for percentage of fat there is a wide variation. Secondly, it is highly cumbersome to calculate SNF percentage in each case unless the MCC has any specialised instrument to do it instantly. In contrast, the testing for fat is easier and demonstrable. The pricing policy and the milk payment chart also consider the commission payable to the MCC on per litre basis or kg fat basis.

The choice of milk cans and use of ice in milk procurement should have scientific basis. These days milk cans are available in stainless steel, aluminium alloy and mild steel. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. The mild steel milk cans should be avoided in milk procurement since they are very heavy to handle, get rusted, dented and damaged and require maintenance (welding, tin plating) which may be costly.

Use of ice in milk procurement should be reduced as a matter of policy. This is because it is a very inefficient way of cooling milk from outside the cans. If the use of ice is coupled with use of cylindrical ice cones then it amounts to adding insult to injury. The metallic cones holding ice lead to contamination of milk with the dirt sitting on outside apart from entry of ice water due to leaky cones, lesser capacity use of each milk can and loss of milk while handling the cones at the dairy dock. All these aspects have been studied minutely at a cooperative dairy and it was concluded that the use of ice cones has more problems than solutions. Therefore, a dairy organisation may as well decide to start a milk-chilling centre at a far off place (60 km beyond) and bring chilled milk in a milk tanker, rather than using ice in the field.

Milk procurement for a specialised dairy product like cheese requires a high level scientific approach. For this, the milk procurement team should be experienced and properly trained. Milk required here has to be wholesome, with its entire natural contents (fat, proteins, minerals) present in a particular species’ milk (cow/buffalo).

The abnormal milk due to mastitis, colostrum, late lactation is not acceptable here. The high somatic cell count due to mastitis (clinical/subclinical) leads to quality problems in cheese. Similarly the milk has to be free from off flavors, free fatty acids, residual antibiotics, traces of detergents, sanitisers, pesticides, insecticides, aflatoxins, mycotoxins and heavy metals. All these requirements call for specialised approach in dairy extension and milk procurement involving lot of care in animal health, feeding and milking practices apart from proper handling of milk and equipment at production and collection points.



The milk collection system at MCC under the Anand Pattern is quite simple in design as it is meant for rural folks. Even today when any new dairy organisation decides to start milk procurement, it has to think about this user-friendly system in a simple form as explained above. However, during the last 25 years several new technologies have been developed/adopted which have simplified various operations/steps involved in milk collection, testing and cooling apart from bringing efficiency and reliability. These have been tested over time and can be regarded as dependable. But, these technologies require larger capital investment, recurring costs, and good service back-up and can become affordable for a dairy organisation with a product mix that gives value addition. Some technologies, which can be directly applied, are mentioned below:

Electronic Milk Tester: This is an instrument for measurement of fat percentage, which is displayed quickly and accurately on a digital readout. It follows the system of dilution, mixing, homogenisation and photometric measurement and runs on mains or battery. It requires small volume of milk sample and can perform 120-150 tests per hour with auto zero facility. Its fat measuring range is 0 to 13%.

Electronic SNF Tester: This instrument is designed to perform 100 tests per hour and it has instant digital display without the help of a chart or table. It does not require any chemical and is microprocessor-based. Its SNF measuring range is 0 to 12%. It can be used in conjunction with Electronic Milk Fat Tester.

Ultrasonic SNF Tester: This instrument is portable with a measuring range of 0 to 20% SNF and is therefore suitable for all types of milk. It can test 80 samples per hour and give digital display. It operates on AC power supply 100-250 volts.

Portable Milk Analyzer: This instrument is designed to measure fat (0.5 to 12%), SNF (6 to12%), protein (2 to 5%), density/corrected lactometer reading (20-35) and added water (0-60%) in a milk sample in about a minute. It does not require chemicals and it is suitable for cow milk, buffalo milk and mixed milk. It works on ultra sound technology and is useful in field as well as in a laboratory. It operates on AC power supply of 220 volts.

Electronic Weighing Scales: These weighing scales are available in various capacities from 2 kg to 500 kg. These are microprocessor-based and the reading is given in green/red display. It has inbuilt battery backup and a memory for recording 200 weighments. The scale is protected from overloading and it has litre-conversion facility.

Automatic Milk Collection Unit: It is a specially developed integrated unit combining several units. It includes Electronic Milk Tester, CLR measuring instrument, Electronic Weighing Scale, a personal computer with 80 column printer, Digital Display Unit on farmer side and operator side and Uninterrupted Power Supply unit with MCC Accounting & Management software. This maintains complete records and all transactions of MCC. This system can perform up to 150 operations in an hour. The sequence of operations requires pouring of milk in a weighing container, collection of sample at the time of pouring, entering the member code through the keyboard, measuring of fat, CLR and calculation of payment and printing of payment slip. For a typical Anand Pattern DCS there is society accounting & management software, which covers all financial procedures like ledgering, profit & loss account and balance sheet. The package has been developed in various regional languages including Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi and Gurumukhi.

Bulk Milk Cooling Tanks (BMCT): These tanks when loaded with milk can cool it down from 30oC to 4oC in three hours. The tanks are available in 250 lit, 500 lit, and 2, 3, 4 and 5 KL capacity. The integral condensing unit is hermetically sealed and uses R22 refrigerant. These are built in stainless steel and with agitator assembly, on/off switches for Agitator and Cooling and digital display of temperature. A model is available which claims that it senses the quantity of milk in tank and proportionately switches on the required refrigeration system and saves energy. However, those desirous to install BMCT should note that often the farmers get a wrong signal and feel than now they can bring milk anytime and the milk collection hours get extended. Thus, there is more time lost between milking and the milk received at BMCT leading quality deterioration.

Raw Milk Reception Dock (RMRD) Automation System: This system takes care of reception of milk brought in cans from several villages on various MCRs. The system is modular in nature, flexible and is adapted to upgradation. It works in humid climate inside the RMRD. It draws a milk sample and premixes it automatically and collects it in a bottle, which is sent to laboratory. On weighment the milk is drained automatically into dump tank and the drain valve gets closed automatically. The weighment and milk testing data are displayed with single key operation. The system involves Windows Server, Nodes for Milk Testing Station and Weighing Station, Milko Scan or Electronic Milk Tester and networking accessories. The system provides various outputs like truck sheet, milk collection report, time management report, analysis report and a summary report.

Over the years many dairies in the cooperative/private sector have incorporated some or many technologies mentioned above to modernize their milk procurement system. Schreiber Dynamix Dairies Ltd at Baramati in Maharashtra has implemented a complete system at village level incorporating Bulk Milk Coolers and various automatic milk collection, testing and accounting systems — all under one roof. These stations are owned by the (private) dairy but the operations are managed by the DCSs (affiliates of the milk union). Milk collected in the bulk coolers is carried in milk tanker to the main dairy, thereby eliminating the use of milk cans and there are no milk chilling centres either.

One innovative idea in milk procurement has been the use of milking parlours (automatic/semi-automatic) on community basis where the farmers bring their milch animals at appointed time and the animals are milked by following hygienic practices before, during and after milking. This also ensures identification of mastitis, clean milking without the touch of human hand and elimination of all milk vessels since milk is passed to the milk tank for chilling.

Table: Procurement price of liquid milk in selected States, October 2014 and April 2015.

Rs. per litre



It is widely accepted that the Anand Pattern of milk procurement is ideal not only for milk but also for other commodities. It has been practiced all over India quite successfully over the last few decades. What are the reasons for the remarkable success of this pattern? These are perhaps philosophical.

It is well known that the Anand Pattern emerged as a result of the agitation by farmers against their exploitation by middlemen and the not-so-friendly attitude of the then government. So a dairy organisation has to understand that the farmers would resist exploitative practices and the policies which are not friendly to them. In fact, it is to be underlined that in extreme cases, the farmers would overthrow such a regime.

The Anand Pattern started as a movement. It had good leadership which did not allow politics to enter the organisation. This may sound very utopian these days but it is a fact that political interference can ruin good work which has taken years to build.

In the Anand Pattern, milk producers have been made not only business partners but also owners of the dairy. Their elected representatives are in a position to take policy decisions. With the same analogy if the private dairy organisations create a situation whereby the milk producers are made direct or indirect partners by offering them a part of equity, milk procurement would be assured and a good foundation laid for future growth.

Employees working in an Anand Pattern organisation have to keep in mind that they are employees of the farmers. This understanding makes a lot of difference in providing smooth delivery of any service which is perceivable by the farmer. Employees of any private dairy have to inculcate similar trait while dealing with milk producers.

The dairy organisation has to design systems and subsystems keeping milk producers in focus. The milk producers may be encouraged to organize themselves as groups or associations work on democratic lines and allow them to manage their MCC. If any agent is appointed, it should be ensured that the milk producers are properly served and there are no complaints. In any case it would be deplorable if milk producers were kept at the mercy of an agent/vendor and such a set-up would not last long. In other words, even if a cooperative society is not formed, the milk procurement should be organised by eliminating middlemen or by banishing their exploitative practices. This alone can build the confidence of milk producers in the system.

Milk pricing policy is very important for both the dairy organisation and the milk producer. While the dairy organisation should see its economics, it should not let the milk producer suffer in his business. In fact, it is better to realize that more the milk producer gets margins, the more would he be inclined to stay in the business. Therefore, any pricing policy, which reduces his margin, will one day boomerang and the producer will either go to the competitor or will close down his business. For deciding remunerative pricing from time to time, a dairy owner could actually rear a couple of milch animals to understand the milk production economics.

While receiving milk at the dairy dock, the dairy organisation should practice high degree of ethics in weighment and quality decisions. It should use standard equipment and procedures and direct the laboratory to practice professionalism and integrity. The automatic systems mentioned above can help in this respect provided there is an honest approach. Needless to say, the guilty should not escape and the innocent should not be punished. It is good practice if the dairy maintains MCC-wise milk samples with added preservatives and in cold room for three days so as to entertain and solve amicably complaints, if any.

A very important feature of the Anand Pattern is timely payment for milk which is very relevant for any dairy anywhere. In fact, it is very astonishing that payment for milk is made on twice-a-day basis and there is no parallel example for any other commodity. Here it is to be noted that the DCS is committed to make the payment should the milk producer approach for it. No way it is binding on a milk producer to take his money twice a day by standing in a queue! The crux of the issue is that the milk producer is given a written commitment in his passbook about the amount due to him. This automatically means that he is no way responsible for any further loss.

The dairy organisation should give topmost priority to release milk payment to the MCCs. At most dairies, the frequency is once in a week or in ten days. Let this be followed like religion so that MCCs are also in a position to pay the farmers accordingly. It should be noted that the Anand Pattern does not have place for any advance or loan to a farmer but at the same time places great emphasis on paying the farmer promptly.

Many dairy organisations in the cooperative sector and some in the private sector are providing various input services to improve productivity and lower the production cost. This arrangement is mutually beneficial to the farmer as well as the dairy as it ensures increased milk flow round the year and from year to year.

One reason for replicating the Anand Pattern all over India was to create a flood of milk. At the same time, planners had recognised the potential of dairying as an instrument to bring about socio-economic changes. If all dairy organisations set their mission around this philosophy, they would be more than rewarded. In other words, you organize the farmers and you have organised milk procurement.