Pankaj Biradar, Narendra V. Khode and Sharad Avhad
Dept. of Veterinary & AH Extension Education, COVAS, Udgir Dist Latur
The present ex-post facto cross-sectional research study was conducted purposively in Southern districts of the Marathwada region in Maharashtra state, including three districts viz. Latur, Dharashiv, and Beed. The study aimed to identify homogenous clusters and assess animal husbandry practices use and dairy herd productivity across different identified clusters. The data was collected from 240 milk-producing households through personal contact using a pre-tested interview schedule. The respondent was - a person belonging to such milk-producing households- who had control over decision-related dairy farms and operations. Two multivariate techniques, i.e., Principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA), were used and identified four distinct clusters with significant heterogeneity in their socio-personal and farm-specific attributes. More land-owning, high employment, and high income, and large-sized households with young and educated farmers in cluster 1 were using more animal husbandry practices and had high herd milk productivity. Resource-poor, low-income generating large-sized households with old farmers in cluster 2 had low use of animal husbandry practices and fetch low productivity. The use of animal husbandry practices was low in large herds and less land-owning high-income households with trained farmers in cluster 3, which had medium-level milk productivity. Resource-poor, low-employment, and low-income, small-sized households with few earners in cluster 4 had low use of animal husbandry practices with medium to low-level milk productivity. Extension agencies and policymakers should consider the heterogeneity among milk-producing households while planning and delivering extension interventions. The study also suggests more inclusive and impactful training to enhance the use of animal husbandry practices.