GIS for Milk Unions

GIS for Milk Unions

What is GIS for Milk Unions?

The quantity of milk procured by the co-operative Milk Union is one of the most critical factors in its overall planning of activities. Milk procurement activities are spread over large geographical areas and it involves a large number of village level independent dairy co-operative societies (DCS) and thousands of farmers who are members of these societies. The Milk Union can influence the procurement levels through the price it pays to its associated societies and the price and availability of the major technical inputs it provides to them viz. cattle feed supplies, artificial insemination services & veterinary services.

Geographical Information System (GIS) is an information technology programme which includes a set of GIS tools with a strong visualization impact, for monitoring these aforesaid activities, diagnosing the problem areas quickly, deciding on interventions necessary to overcome the problems faced and for business planning. GIS for Milk Unionshas been conceived, designed & developed exclusively for use of the co-operative Milk Unions of the country.

Why do you need GIS?

  • Do you operate in a large geographical area with multiple locations?
  • Do you need to have an information system with analytical capabilities, which also shows your operating locations geographically with respect to each other?
  • Do you want to discover underlying trends/patterns & performance efficiencies from a huge set of regular data, which you are already collecting from these field locations? 
  • Can you possibly predict events in another location or at another point in time?

If answers to these questions are in the affirmative then it may be worthwhile for you to explore the benefits of the GIS!

What are the computer/system requirements to use GIS ?

Software: There are many open source GIS software available for free download from internet. One of them is QGIS which we recommend to use to perform GIS related analysis and can be downloaded from internet (

Hardware: GIS at the Milk Union level requires a desktop/laptop with  minimum 2GB RAM and 50 GB free hard disk space to accommodate the required GIS database, master files and archives of  transaction files from Milk union’s MIS. Further, for accessing the online databases, it would require broadband connection of at least 512 KBPS internet connectivity. 

How much does it cost? Are there any recurring cost/maintenance charges to be borne by the Milk Union?

GIS Database for the operational area of the Milk Unions would be provided free of cost by signing of the MOU with NDDB.  This database contains the map layers of district/taluka/village boundaries, town locations, major roads, rivers, railway line/stations as per the data published by Census of India 2011.  There are no recurring cost/maintenance charges to be borne by the Milk Union for this GIS database.

Which work group in the Milk Union are likely to benefit most by using GIS?

Work Groups like Milk Procurement and Marketing operations which are field based are likely to benefit most by using this GIS database.

Which are the major focus areas in the proposed GIS application?

The following are the major focus areas:

I. Management of milk procurement from the village Dairy Co-operative Societies(DCSs) Most of the Milk Unions have in place a computerised milk billing system for processing milk procurement data for making payment to DCSs. These data can also be used effectively for quickly identifying problematic societies or for deciding interventions or for planning business strategies. In the proposed GIS application, these data can be attached to the Milk Union map, which locates the villages in a geographical perspective. 

Thereafter, most of the procurement related activities can be visually planned and monitored with ease. For example, it would be possible to identify the routewise or regionwise DCSs, which are supplying lesser quantity of milk or poor quality of  milk  with respect of Fat & SNF%, which are buying lesser cattlefeed than stipulated for per litre of milk procurement, etc.

The information gathered needs to be translated into monthly database files. These may be most easily done by compiling the normal 3 milk bill cycles in a month as a single file, wherever the computerised Milk Billing System is in existence.

II. Management of milk transportation/fleet operation from the DCSs to the Chilling Centre/Dairy Plant

The milk procurement routes of the Milk Union are normally planned with the twin objectives that the volume of milk procured/Km is maximised and at the same time the cost of milk procurement/litre is minimised, under the given set of its current constraints. Further, seasonal or economic constraints may lead to variation in these milk routes. In the proposed GIS application, it will be possible to depict these milk routes on digitised maps and the process of visualising alternative milk routes would be made easier in comparison to the manual processes.

The Milk Union may use the available information to create a Milk Routes map based upon its existing Milk Routes between the DCSs and the Chilling Centre/Dairy Plant, which needs to be changed as & when corresponding changes are made on the ground.

III. Live contact & interfaces with DCSs

Data on society activities such as number and distribution of membership according to cast, landholding pattern, sex, etc , quantity of milk collected from producer members/non-members, milk sold locally, milk sent to Union, businesses that society undertakes such as Ghee Sale, Cattlefeed Sale etc, details of finance, investment and expenditure/income, amenities and facilities available at DCSs, details of Board Members/employees etc. may be collected once a year viz. as of   31st March, at the end of the financial year. In the proposed GIS application, these data can be attached to the milkshed map and visually analysed. It would be possible to classify societies on different variables, e.g. societies with different audit class, routes, % of women membership, % of landless membership, quantity of milk collected at the DCSs level, expenditure incurred per litre of milk procured at the DCSs level, various facilities available, etc.

The information gathered   needs to be translated into yearly database files. These may be most easily done by compiling most of the information found from the statutory annual financial statements [Balance Sheet/P&L Statements] of the DCSs. It will also be easy for Milk Unions, which have a monthly DCSs MIS Reporting system, to compile the data annually and provide the database to the GIS application. Other Milk Unions, which do not have these systems in place, may be interested to initiate collection and compilation activities as stated above. 

IV. Arranging/Managing Veterinary Services for the animals of DCSs members

The main purpose of developing a disease recording system is the need to know disease status in the Milk Union’s operational area so that arrangements for more effective veterinary services could be provided. The disease data thus collected can be periodically analysed and reviewed for epidemiological information on the dimension of spread area and time. Further analysis can be done on vulnerability of animals with respect to species, breed, age, sex, physiological status. The GIS application can be used for analysis of diseases data and deciding intervention necessary for management and control of diseases.

Veterinary doctors may record all treatments carried out by them on a case to case basis. It will also be easy for Milk Unions, which have a monthly MIS Reporting system on these veterinary cases, to compile the monthly data and provide the database to the GIS application.  Other Milk Unions, which do not have these systems in place, may be interested to initiate collection and compilation activities as stated above. 

V. Arranging/Managing Artificial Insemination (AI) Services for the animals of DCSs members

Systematic recording of AI done and its regular analysis is the key to planning and monitoring of any effective AI services, whether directly being provided to the DCSs members by the Milk Union or through Govt./NGOs. For this purpose the existing systems of data collection needs to be studied, standardised and authenticated, wherever  this has not been done already. Special care has to be taken for proper recording of animal and animal owner identity and historical data on AI done, pregnancy diagnosis and calving relevant to the same.

An "AI Card" can be used in the Single/Cluster AI Centres/Mobile AI facilities, which has a common data entry format to record AI done on animal-to-animal  basis. Further, a register can be maintained in these AI Centres/facilities incorporating the details on a monthly basis to record the history of the animals with regard to AI, Pregnancy Diagnosis and Calves Born. Based on these monthly recordings at various centres/mobile facilities, overall data of the Milk Union can be compiled on a monthly basis and a database can be developed for use of the GIS system.

VI. Estimation of the milk production potential in the milkshed

Estimation of the milk production potential in various parts of its milkshed  is a crucial element in the overall planning of activities of the Milk Union. If any Village Enumeration report is available then the same file/table may be utilised by the software to provide villagewise milk production potential.

What to do, if you want GIS to be implemented in your Milk Union?

The Milk Union may send a request letter to Group Head, Sectorial Analysis & Studies, NDDB, Anand.


Some illustrative examples of the usage of the QGIS application and the GIS database :