Milch Breeds of Cattle

There are 30 well-defined indigenous cattle breeds. These breeds can be classified into three categories based on their utility. These are (1) Milch breeds, (2) Dual purpose breeds and (3) Draft purpose breeds. The cows of milch breeds are relatively high milk producer, but their bullocks are generally of poor quality draft.

The animals of dairy breeds are generally heavy built with capacious udder, pendulous dewlap, sheath and loose skin. The important breeds of this group are Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Gir, Tharparkar, and Rathi.

i. Indigenous Milch and Dual-purpose Breeds

i. Sahiwal: This is one of the best indigenous dairy cattle breeds. The Sahiwal cows have their native home tract in Montgomery district and adjoining places in Pakistan. The Sahiwal cows are also found in Ferozepur, Amritsar, Gurdaspur districts of Punjab in India. There are quite a good number of breeding herds in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The cows are red and light brown in colour, but some animals with white patches are also found.

The animals have long head with medium sized forehead. The horns are short and thick emerging laterally from the polls. The cows are with long, deep, fleshy and symmetrical body with short legs, loose skin, medium sized ears, heavy and large dewlap, straight hump and capacious udder. The cows are good milk yielders and cows under village conditions yield about 1350 kg in a lactation of 305 days. Well-bred cows on institutional farms yield an average of 2000-2500 Kg/lactation. The average age at first calving is about 36.0 months which ranges from 29 to 52 months. The average calving interval, service period and dry period of Sahiwal cow are 415, 148 and 156 days, respectively. The average fat and SNF content of the milk is around 5.0 and 9.2 per cent.

ii. Red Sindhi: The Red Sindhi cattle have somewhat similarity in breed characteristics to that of Sahiwal but are smaller in size with compact body frame.The native habitat of this breed is Karachi and Hyderabad districts of Sindh province of Pakistan. It is an important dairy cattle breed in Indian sub-continent. Red Sindhi cattle are maintained on few organized Government farms in India. The breed has red colour, which has shades from dark to dim yellow, with white patches on some animals. Head is well proportioned with an occasional bulge on the forehead. The horns are thick at the base and emerge laterally and curve upwards. The ears are of moderate size and drooping. Dewlap and sheath are pendulous. Udder is capacious and pendulous. The cows are high milk yielders and produce milk on an average 1800 kg ranging from 1500 to 2200 kg. in a lactation of 305 days. The average age at first calving is 42 months and ranges from 32 to 50 months. The calving interval,service period and dry period ranges from 425 to 540 days, 105 to 293 days and 112 to 179 days, respectively.

iii. Gir: The cattle are found in Junagarh, Bhavnagar, and Amreli districts of Gujarat. This is one of best Indian dairy cattle breed. The Gir cattle are also widely distributed in adjoining states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and northern parts of Maharashtra. There are quite a large number of organized farms and gaushalas maintaining the Gir cattle. Most of the Gir cattle are purely red in colour and some are with patches of red, black and red & black on white skin. The Gir cattle have medium size and well-proportioned body with massive heads, extremely bulging foreheads, long pendulous, curling and drooping ears with notches at the tips. The Gir horns are thick, medium size, curve backwards, upwards and forward ending in an inward sweep. The cows have good-shaped udder with well-placed teats. The cows are very good milk yielders with an average of 1400 kg ranging from 1200 to 2000 kg in lactation. Certain outstanding cows with 26-27 kg peak milk yield in a day and lactation milk yield more than 4500 kg indicate high genetic potential for milk production. The age at first calving varies from 40 to 60 months and inter calving period from 430 to 490 days.

iv. Tharparkar: An important cattle breed raised primarily for its milking potential.The home tract of this breed is in the Tharparkar district of southeast Sind in Pakistan. In India, these animals are now found along the Indo-Pak border covering western Rajasthan and up to Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Animals with typical characteristic of breed are found in Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan and Kutch region of Gujarat. Animals are white or light grey. Face and extremities are of a darker shade than the body. In bulls neck, hump and fore and hind-quarters are also dark. Head is of medium size. Forehead is broad and flat or slightly convex above eyes. Face is lean, fine and slightly dished to muzzle. Ears are somewhat long, broad and slightly pendulous. Horns are set well apart curving gradually upward and outward. Dewlap is loose and flexible but not voluminous. Tail is thin and hangs loosely with black switch. Udder is large and well developed with prominent veins. Teats are long, uniform in thickness and set at even distances.

Tharparkar cows calve for the first time at an average age of about 41 months(range 37 to 52 months). The average milk yield is 1,750 kg (range 900 to 2,150 kg), lactation length is 285 days (range 240 to 380 days), dry period is 140 days(range 115 to 190 days), service period is 128 days (range 108 to 190 days) and calving interval of 430 days (range 408 to 572 days). Milk fat is about 4.88 % (range 4.72 to 4.90%) and SNF 9.2 % (range 8.9 to 9.7%).

v. Rathi: The cattle take their name from a pastoral tribe of Rajasthan called Raths. Rathi cattle have been developed as a result of admixture of inheritance of Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Tharparkar cattle breeds with high proportion of blood from Sahiwal breed. These are concentrated in the Bikaner district of Rajasthan.

This is a medium sized breed with symmetrical body. The animals have brown colour with white patches and some animals with complete brown or black coalcolour with white patches are also found in the tract. Horns are short to medium curving outwards, upwards and inwards, ears are of medium size, voluminous dewlap and large naval flap. Skin is loose with fine short hair. Udder and teat are well developed. The cows are docile in nature. The average lactation milk yield of Rathi cows is 1500 kg, which ranges from 1050 kg to 2000 kg. The average age at first calving ranges from 36 to 52 months and inter calving period ranges from 450 to 620 day.

vi. Deoni: This is a very popular dual-purpose breed in Marathwada region of Maharashtra state and adjoining parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh states. It is also found in Parbhani, Nanded and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra and Bidar district of Karnataka. The body colour is usually white and animals are also black and white spotted. The ears are grey-white or complete white with black pinna. The ears are drooping and the forehead is prominent and slightly bulged similar to that of the Gir cattle. This breed is considered to have admixture of Gir,Dangi and local cattle blood. The horns emerge from the side of the poll in outwards and upwards direction, slightly backward and again curving upward. The dewlap and sheath are of medium size. The switch of the tail is black and white reaching below hock joint. Udder is moderately developed. The animals are docile and calm. The Deoni bullocks are preferred for heavy work. The age at first calving ranges from 30 to 51 months with an average of 45.5 months. The milk yield in Deoni cows ranges from 650 to 1,250 kg with an average of 950 kg. Lactation length ranges from 170 to 475 days with an average of 300 days. Calving interval averages 450 days. Milk contains 4.3% fat, 9.7% SNF and 14.0% total solids.

vii. Haryana: The Haryana is a prominent dual-purpose breed of northern India.Its native breeding tract encompasses parts of Rohtak, Sonepat, Bhiwani, Hisar,Jind and Gurgaon districts of Haryana. These animals are also reared in Jodhpur,Alwar, and Bharatpur districts of Rajasthan and Meerut, Bulandshahr and Aligarh districts of Western Uttar Pradesh. The Haryana cattle are white or light grey in colour. They have compact and proportionately built body. A long and narrow face,flat forehead and a well-marked bony prominence at the centre of the poll characterize them. They have small stumpy horns. Muzzle is usually black. Eyes are large and prominent. The legs are moderately long and lean with small, hard and well shaped feet. The udder is capacious with well-developed milk vein. The teats are well developed, proportionate and medium sized. The tail is short, thin and tapering with black switch. The age at first calving ranges from 35 to 60 months with an average of 52 months. Average milk yield is around 1000 kg with a range of 690 to 1750 kg. Lactation length is about 270 days ranging from 240 to 330 days.Average service period is 230 days (range 125 to 305 days), dry period is 255 days(range 135 to 270 days) and calving interval is 480 days (range 415 to 560 days).Milk fat ranges from 4.3 to 5.3%, with an average of about 4.5% and SNF is around 9.1%.

viii. Kankrej: The Kankrej is one of the heaviest breeds of cattle in India and is found in southeast Rann of Kutch comprising Mehsana, Kutch, Ahmedabad, Kaira,Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts of Gujarat, and Barmer and Jodhpur districts of Rajasthan. The colour of the animal varies from silver-grey to iron-grey or steel-black. The forequarters, hindquarters and hump are slightly darker than the rest of the body in males. The forehead is broad and slightly dished in the centre. The face is short and nose slightly upturned. Ears are large, pendulous and open. The horns are large, strong, and curved outwards and upwards in a lyre-shaped fashion. The polls, forequarters and hindquarters are rusty red in newborn calves, but the colour disappears later on. The hump is well developed. The dewlap is thin and pendulous.

The average age at first calving is 47.3 months (range 34 to 56 months). The average milk yield is around 1750 kg (range 1100 to 3200 kg.). The lactation length averages 295 days (range 275 to 350 days) and calving interval is around 490 days(range 410 to 640 days). The milk fat is around 4.8% (range 4.66 to 4.99%).

ix. Ongole: The home tract of Ongole breed is Ongole region in Andhra Pradesh which extends all along the coast from Nellore to Vizianagaram and Chittoor,Ongole Kurnool, Cuddapah, Anantapur, Nalgonda, Mehbubnagar and Khammam districts of Andhra Pradesh. The Ongole cattle have a glossy white coat. These cattle are large and heavy animals with loosely knit frames, great muscularity and long limbs.

They have a majestic gait. The forehead is broad between eyes and slightly prominent. The face moderately long and coffin shaped. The horns are short and stumpy, growing outward and backward from the outer angles of the poll. The dewlap is large and slightly pendulous, and hanging in folds. The switch is black.

The udder is well-placed with well-developed teats. The age at first calving ranges from 35 to 60 months (average 48 months). The average milk yield is 690 kg (range 475 to 1,000 kg) in a lactation period of about 230 days (range 160 to 270 days).The average dry period is 260 days (range 145 to 400 days), average service period of 190 days (range 128 to 310 days), average calving interval is 500 days (range 420 to 720 days) and average milk fat is 4.2% (range 4.1 to 4.8%).

ii. Exotic Dairy Cattle Breeds

Military dairy farms were the first to introduce crossbreeding in the country using high milk producing exotic cattle breeds like Holstein Friesian, Jersey, Brown Swiss and Red Dane for improving the milk production potential of indigenous cows. The breed characteristics of some important exotic cattle breeds have been described below.

i. Holstein Friesian: This breed was developed in the province of Friesland in Netherlands. This is the best dairy breed and is most widely distributed breed of dairy cattle in the world. Holstein cattle are heavily built and possess large udders.They are the largest dairy breed and mature cows body weight are as much as 700 kg. They have typical markings of black and white that make them easily distinguishable. The average milk production of cow is 8,000 to 10,000 kg per lactation in developed countries. However, the fat content (3.0 - 3.5 per cent) in their milk is low.

ii. Jersey: This breed originated in the Island of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands between France and England. Jersey breed is also widely distributed in Europe and America. The typical body colour of Jersey cattle is reddish brown. In India, this breed has acclimatized well and is widely used in cross-breeding with indigenouscows in hilly areas. Jersey is relatively a smaller dairy breed and hence is more suited for cross-breeding with zebu cattle. Mature Jersey cows weigh around 450 kg. Heifers grow rapidly and mature early and calve at the age of 26 - 30 months.They have compact and angular body. The average milk production of Jersey cows is 5,000 to 8,000 kg with a fat content of 5.0 per cent.

iii. Brown Swiss: This breed originated in the mountainous region of Switzerland.The animals are quite docile and easily manageable. The colour of Brown Swiss varies from light to dark brown. Brown Swiss heifers are rather slow maturing. In India, crossbred cattle have been developed by crossing this breed with recognized Indian breeds of cattle and non-descript cattle on institutional farms and village conditions. The average production per cow is about 6000-8000 litres with an average fat content of 4 per cent.

iv. Red Dane: This breed has its home tract in Denmark. The typical body colour of this breed is red, reddish brown or even dark brown. It is also a heavy breed.The mature males weigh up to 950 kg and mature females to 600 kg. Lactation yield varies from 5,000 to 7,000 kg with a fat content of about 4 per cent.

iii. Synthetic Crossbred Cattle Strains

For bringing rapid improvement, particularly in non-descript zebu cattle, the crossbreeding of indigenous cattle using frozen semen of bulls of exotic dairy cattle breeds (Holstein Friesian, Brown Swiss, Jersey, Red Dane and Ayrshire) resulted in developing various synthetic crossbred cattle strains. Karan Swiss, Karan Fries,Frieswal, Sunandini are some of high producing synthetic crossbred cattle strains developed at organized farms and under village conditions in India.

i. Karan Swiss: A crossbred cattle strain has been developed at NDRI, Karnal by crossing Brown Swiss bulls with Sahiwal and Red Sindhi zebu cows. The frozen semen of superior Brown Swiss Bulls used for crossbreeding was imported from USA. The average age at first calving of Karan Swiss cows is 32 to 34 months(2 to 3 months less than that of Sahiwal/Red Sindhi cows). Average lactation milk yield in 305 days or less was about 3350 kg and outstanding cows with record of 305 day best lactation milk yield of 7096 kg. The average service period, dry period and inter-calving period are 117, 85 and 404 days, respectively. The average fat and SNF content in milk is 4.16% and 9.20%

ii. Karan Fries: Crossbred cattle have been developed at NDRI Karnal by crossing Tharparkar cows with the frozen semen of superior Holstein Friesian bulls. The Karan Fries cows calve for the first time at the age of 30 to 32 months and yield 3400 to 3600 kg milk in 305 days lactation. The average service period, dry period and inter-calving period are 123, 104 and 401 days, respectively. Outstanding cows yield up to peak milk yield of 46.5 kg in a day and 8338 kg in 305 days best lactation milk yield have been recorded and used for production of bulls for future breeding on institutional farms and farmers’ animals. The average fat and SNF content of milk is 4.10% and 8.92%.

Karan Fries Cowiii. Frieswal: This cattle breed is developed by crossing Holstein Friesian with Sahiwal cows at Military Dairy Farms in technical collaboration with Project Directorate on Cattle (ICAR), Meerut (UP). The breeding programme using imported semen of superior Holstein Friesian bulls and crossbred bulls has been designed in such a way that the cows are produced with 62.5 per cent inheritance of Holstein Friesian. The average age at first calving of Frieswal cows is 30 to 33 months.Average lactation milk yield in 300 days lactation ranges from 3000 to 3400 kg. The average service period, dry period and inter-calving period are 160, 115 and 425 days respectively. The fat content of milk ranges from 3.5 to 4.5%.

iv. Sunandini: As a result of crossbreeding programme launched under Indo-Swiss Project using frozen semen of Brown Swiss bulls on non-descript local or graded Red Sindhi or Sahiwal cows of rural households in Kerala, a high yielding crossbred cattle strain named Sunandini was developed. The crossbred cattle strain was further improved through introduction of exotic inheritance of Jersey and Holstein Friesian cattle breeds. Attempts were made to retain 50 to 62.5% of exotic cattle inheritance. The average production performance of recorded crossbreds in the village herds has been ranging from 1400 to 1800 kg depending upon managemental and agro-climatic condition. Age at first calving is around 35 months and calving interval averages about 450 days. Inter-se mated Sunandini crossbred cows are further being improved through selective breeding using superior breeding Sunandini bulls identified on the basis of their daughters’ performance under field conditions.

iv. Breed Improvement in Cattle

The genetic improvement in dairy and dual purpose breeds of cattle for improving milk production can be brought about by selective breeding. Selective breeding means mating of the best males with best females. The best female means the cows yielding higher milk than the average of the population. The best male means the bull which has higher dam’s milk yield, paternal grand dam’s milk yield and daughters’ yield compared to other bulls. Initially, the young male calves with better growth, true breed characteristics and reproductive performance can be selected as superior progenies of elite dams. The young bulls subsequently are evaluated on the basis of performance of their progenies. The females should be selected on the basis of their own growth, reproductive and productive performance.

The low producing non-descript cattle constituting about seventy-five percent (3⁄4) of the total cattle population can be improved through grading up. Grading up means breeding of the non-descript females with the semen of the bulls belonging to high producing, superior indigenous dairy breeds like Sahiwal, Tharparkar, Gir,Deoni, etc. In 5-6 generations of grading up, the non-descript animals become like pure-bred indigenous breed. The grading up can be practiced in the regions with scarce availability of feed and fodder resources particularly in rain-fed conditions.

The non-descript cattle under irrigated regions with adequate feed and fodder resources can be improved through crossbreeding with exotic dairy cattle breeds like Holstein-Friesian and Jersey. Subsequently, the crossbred cattle can be improved using progeny- tested high genetic merit crossbred bulls from different farms maintaining synthetic crossbred cattle strains.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Most Reading