Indian Dairy Breeds
Dairy industry makes use of cattle for the production of milk and milk products for commercial purpose. However, the cattle farming intends to get other benefits like the yield of fertilizer, use of bulls for agricultural field work, etc. Accordingly, the Indian-dairy breeds are categorized into three distinct groups. Most of the Indian dairy breeds serve as dual or multipurpose domestic animals. Many of the breeds of Indian cows are well-known for their drought adaptation with the ability to perform mechanical work as well as milk production. Interestingly, most of the Indian dairy breeds are unique in one or the other aspect and enjoy special status. Hence the Indian-dairy industry appears to have bright future with an increasing demand for the nutritionally rich and medicinally important milk and other products of the cows.
Types of Indian dairy breeds
The milch breeds are the real contributors of milk. Usually, high milk producing cow breeds are preferred for this purpose. The Gir of Gujrat, Sahiwal, and Tharparkar from Rajasthan are considered as the top three Indian dairy breeds. The Sahiwal breed with an average milk yield of 1400 and 2500 Kg per lactation has longer milking period when compared to the Gir and hence produces more milk per lactation. Average milk production of the Gir breed is about 1600 Kg per lactation. Tharparkar cows yield an average of 1800 to 2600 Kg of milk per lactation. They are well adapted for the deserts of Rajasthan and their rearing and maintenance are economical compared to other high yield indigenous cow breeds.
Dual purpose cow breeds are the second type which can be used for both milk production and drought purpose. They can survive with minimum food and can produce milk with high nutrient contents. Some of the examples of this category of cows include Kankrej, Amrithmahal, Hallikar, Ongole, Nagori, Kankrej, and Khilari. These breeds are well adaptable to environmental stress and produce a comparatively good quantity of milk. Drought breeds are the third type of dairy breeds. They are generally poor milk producers but the bulls are good for agricultural field work. Kangayam from Tamil Nadu, Malvi from Madhya Pradesh, Siri from North East India are some of the cow breeds raised for drought purpose.
Production of medicinal milk is the new dimension in farming and this makes a turning point in dairy farming, providing much scope for using the low milk producing dwarf breeds of cows for commercial farming. This trend is catching up recently among small farmers and hobby farmers. The important cow breeds identified under this category of Indian breeds include the Malnad gidda, Kapila, and the Vechur breeds of South India.
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