Raising buffaloes is no longer a business that bypasses Romanians. More and more beginners in animal husbandry are turning their attention confidently to these animals with history and to the finished products obtained from buffalo milk. They are long-lived animals (they live for almost 30 years), healthy and resistant, not being demanding on food and climate.
Buffaloes, from history on the path of the dairy industry
Buffaloes have existed in the Carpathians for several hundred years. The water buffalo is probably the only one in this family adapted to the cold climate. It has been the main supplier of milk in many regions. The number of buffaloes has been declining for some time, but the special quality of buffalo milk products makes sense for the opportunity to revive the buffalo breeding sector. The history of these buffaloes is part of the very history of animal husbandry in Romania.
Buffalo-growing farmers (especially beginners) have documented this activity and manage to meet the current profit, not negligible. Buffaloes, however, require special attention in depressions, where the temperature drops significantly. A buffalo sometimes exceeds 600 kg and even if it produces less milk, its superior quality offers the market special products. Buffalo milk is dietary, indicated in the treatment of many diseases, being healthier than cow’s milk. The production per lactation is 1,600 liters of milk with a fat percentage of 7%, with high protein and vitamin content, but no butter can be prepared from it due to its consistency.
Milk production is done at the glandular level, and the origin of the elements is similar to that of cattle, but the number of cycles of each secretory cell in 24 hours occurs on average 2-4 times, their frequency being a determining factor in influencing the intensity of milk secretion. It contains all the substances necessary for the development of metabolic processes.
The organoleptic and physico-chemical properties of buffalo milk consist in: appearance (homogeneous, opalescent, without foreign bodies, without sediments, without precipitation), white color (without yellowish hue), sweet and pleasant taste, normal smell (specific, pronounced). It can easily borrow foreign odors from the environment (stable, manure, etc.).
Buffalo milk boils at 100.2 degrees Celsius (normal pressure) due to its components (salts, lactose). The freezing point is at a limit of -0.55 degrees Celsius, but with the aging of milk or the addition of certain substances, this limit can be changed. The density of buffalo milk is between 1.031 and 1.034 (at 20 degrees), varying depending on the season and diet. Acidity is one of the most important properties of this product. It is due to lactic acid that is formed in milk by the fermentation of lactose by organisms and is between 17 and 21 degrees Thorner.
Whole buffalo raw milk has the following physical and chemical properties:
– Fat (minimum%): 6.5;
– Acidity (Thomer degrees): maximum 21;
– Density: minimum 1,031;
– Temperature: maximum 14 degrees Celsius;
– The micro – organisms in the raw milk delivered for processing must have a maximum content: NTG: 100,000 and S. Aureus: 2,000.
The other physical, chemical and biochemical properties, as well as the rules for quality verification, methods of analysis, packaging, storage and transport conditions for whole raw milk and comply with fresh milk without defects.
Although the number of individual breeders involved in the field has decreased significantly lately, the number of small farmers who have started in this profitable activity has increased. A major advantage for buffalo breeders is the non-imposition of any EU sales or milk production quota.
From a veterinary point of view, it should be noted that the buffalo is listed by specialists as the animal with the most resistant self-protection system in Romania. It is a self-protecting animal for bovine spongiform encephalitis, brucellosis, leukosis or TB.
Often criticized for failing to support buffalo breeding and buffalo milk processing, the Romanian government has approved a decision to provide first aid to dairy buffalo breeders in disadvantaged areas, up to a limit of 30 million euros. The specific aid scheme is addressed to holders of a maximum of 50 buffaloes. The amount of specific aid, calculated at 187.5 euro / head, was associated by small farmers with the emergence of several processing farms