Dairy industry is one of the industries which plays a dynamic role in India's agro-based economy. Dairy farming includes breeding and care of milk yielding cattle, procuring milk and processing of milk into a variety of dairy products. Dairy products is a major exporting industry and earns considerable foreign exchange for the country. In 1946, the foundation of Anand Milk Union Ltd (AMUL), led to the development of a better organised dairy industry and gave momentum to education in dairying in India.
Dairy industry, now a highly specialised field today involves production, procurement, storage, processing and distribution of dairy products. The main jobs are in production and processing. Production process includes the collection of milk, breeding of high yielding cattle and taking care of the animals. Dairy Scientists are employed to cover the production aspect of the industry. They conduct experiments to determine the effects of different kinds of feeds and environmental conditions on the quantity, quality and nutritive value of milk produced. They also research breeding to improve dairy breeds, feeding and management of dairy cattle.
Processing involves handling of milk for distribution or its conversion into dairy products. After the milk has reached the plant, processing work begins and it is converted into a variety of dairy products. Dairy Technologists mainly deal with the technical and quality control aspect of the processing industry and also work to develop improved methods in processing, production preservation and utilisation of milk and milk products.
Other professionals required in this area include Dairy engineers, who are responsible for dairy maintenance and related activities; and Marketing personnel who handle the marketing and sales of milk and milk products.
Traditionally dairy technology was a part of veterinary and animal husbandry courses. These courses were and still is offered by Agricultural Universities as a part of the B.VSc, (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry). Now there are several institutes offering exclusive diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Dairy technology. Many general universities also offer dairy science as vocational subject at the BSc level. Dairying is also available as a vocational subject for the 10+2 level education.
A dairy technology course comprises of three basic areas like Dairy Engineering which deals with only the technological aspects of the product; Dairy Chemistry which comprises the products, such as the percentage ratio of milk and cream contained in a specific dairy products and Dairy Bacteriology which maintain products standards and the role of a biotechnologist is very important.
Specialisation in the specific or related area like Veterinary Science, Dairy Technology or Engineering is a prerequisite for entry into this field.
Course Areas: Courses in dairy technology are available at the diploma, graduation, postgraduate and doctoral levels. The diploma and degree courses in dairy technology require candidates who have passed the 10 + 2 examination, with Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and English or Physics, chemistry, Biology or Agriculture with a minimum aggregate of 50 % marks.
The diploma courses of two years duration include Indian Dairy Diploma (IDD) and National Dairy Diploma (NDD). This is a base course for BSc / B.Tech dairy degree and gives basic knowledge on breeding, feeding of animals, their health care, farm management, planning a farm, milk products, dairy chemistry, bacteriology, book keeping etc. At the graduation level, the course is usually called B.Tech./B.Sc. in Dairy technology or Dairy Science. After graduating in dairying, candidates can opt for further studies and specialisation through a Master's programme in Dairying (M.Tech in Dairy Technology/ MSc Dairy Science), or related areas such as animal genetics and breeding, livestock production, Animal biochemistry, Animal bio-technology or in fields of food technology and preservation.
Duration: Dairy Diploma course is of two years duration for lower level technical positions. The B.Tech / B.Sc in Dairy Technology is a four years course after 10+2. The B.VSc, (Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry) is also a four years programme. The Master's programme in Dairying (M.Tech in Dairy Technology/ MSc Dairy Science) is of two years duration.
Selection: In most of the States, selection to the graduate course in Dairy colleges is on the basis of an All India Entrance Examination in Physics, Chemistry and Maths of plus 2 level, common to other agricultural and animal science courses OR on the basis of the entrance examination conducted by the concerned universities. Veterinary Council of India conducts an 'All India Common Entrance examination' (AICEE) for admission to first year Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) & Animal Husbandry (AH) degree course for filling up 15% of the total number of seats of each veterinary college of all states; about 36 colleges where Indian Veterinary council Act, 1984 extends. This Entrance exam is usually held in the month of May each year. For admission to masters degree programme, an All India Entrance Examination is conducted by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Personal Skills: Persons aspiring to make a career in dairy technology should have scientific temper, willingness to work hard, commitment, an enquiring mind and cleanliness. They must be prepared to live in remote areas, or far away from the comforts and conveniences of the city.
Dairy Technology is a challenging career which offers enormous prospects for trained professionals. There are now more than 400 dairy plants in the country and many Dairy equipment manufacturers.
Openings for a dairy technologist are available in both the public and the private sector. They can find job in dairy farms, cooperatives, rural banks, milk product processing and manufacturing industries. Quality control departments also recruit dairy technologists. A large number of dairy technologists also start their own business such as small-scale milk plants, creamery, ice-cream units etc or work as consultants. A consultant, however, needs several years of working experience in dairy farms to be successful. Besides there are opportunities for teaching as well as Research and development which is another growing area, crucial for the dairy industry.
In the dairy plants, dairy technology graduates are usually recruited as trainees and shift officers. The trainee receive a stipend of Rs. 2000 per month. The officers on confirmation draw between Rs. 6000 to Rs.7000 per month. General Managers receive a salary of Rs 15,000 and upwards per month. One can generally expect this after about 10 years of experience.