Dairy cattle breeds
What are dairy cattle breeds?
Dairy cattle are the breeds of cattle reared for dairy farming. These cattles are used for the production of milk and milk products for commercial purpose. The quantity of milk yield is the primary aspect the dairy framers look in selecting the dairy breeds for farming. India has a diverse milking cow breeds with different features and milk production capacities. More than 30 indigenous cow breeds are domesticated for dairy or drought purposes in India. The population of cows in India is about 120 million and India has been recognized as the largest milk producer in the world. Adding to this, the establishment of the nutritional superiority of the A2 milk and the fact that the Indian cow breeds produce this type of milk, have transformed dairy farming into a fortunate trade during the recent years. Food, shelter, hygiene, and care for the cows are the key elements which determine the success of dairy farming.
New trends in dairy cattle breeding
Unlike the conventional dairy cattle breeding which depends entirely on high milk yielding hybrid cows, the marginal and the hobby farmers are finding dwarf breeds of cows yielding small quantities of milk as better alternatives for dairy farming. This trend has evolved during recent years to exploit the growing demand for pure and organic A2 milk, especially for feeding the infants and children. As the breeding and maintenance of small cow breeds are less labour-intensive and less expensive, the low milk yield by these cows can be compensated in commercial terms. As the demand for the milk of mini cow breeds like the Kapila, Malnadu gidda, and vechur is very high, these farmers get good returns with less effort on marketing the milk.
Types of dairy cattle breeds
In India, the domestic cow breeds are categorized into dairy, draught, and dual-purpose breeds conventionally. Gir, Tharparkar, Sahiwal, Kankrej, Red Sindhi and Rathi have been identified as indigenous dairy cattle breeds. Besides these, a lot of hybrid cows have been developed for the dairy purpose. They are high milk producing breeds with an average of 1600kg of milk yield per lactation. But the current trends in dairy farming demands the addition of another set of cow breeds to the category of dairy cattle breeds. These include Kapila, Malnadu gidda, and vechur breeds known for their pasture grazing habits. Pasture grazing is proved as the best diet for cows for protecting their health and also improving the quality of their milk. The milk produced by pasture grazing cows has been proved to contain omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). These compounds are highly important for the functioning human cardiovascular system and the brain. Kapila, Vechur and Malnad gidda breeds are mostly raised through open grazing as the primary fodder. This may be the reason why these cows produce nutritionally and therapeutically rich milk. These facts strongly favour the inclusion of the dwarf breeds to the group of dairy cattle breeds.
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