The Ongole breed of cattle, also known as Nellore, originated from the coastal districts of Guntur, Prakasham and Nellore of Andhra Pradesh. The districts of Kurnool, Cuddapan and part of Mahabubnagar form the rearing tracts where bull calves after weaning are taken and reared till maturity and trained for farm work. This breed has been developed in the deltas of the rivers Penna, Krishna and Godawari, under the patronage of farmers in these areas. Ongole is a dual-purpose breed. They are efficiently used in their native home for both work and milk production. The cows are docile while the bulls are very powerful and suitable for ploughing and cart pulling.
- They are large-sized animals with loosely knit frames.
- They have long bodies and short necks and their limbs are long and muscular.
- The skin is of medium thickness, mellow and elastic and often shows black mottled markings.
- The coat colour is glossy white but some males have grey markings on their hump and on their back quarters.
- The forehead is broad between the eyes and slightly prominent.
- The eyes are elliptical in shape with black eyelashes and a ring of black skin about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide around the eyes.
- The chest is deep and wide and broad between the fore arms.
- The legs are strong, clean and medium in length, set well apart, firmly and squarely, under the body, with toes pointing straight.
- The tail is short while the tail head is sloping, deeply cast and not coarse.
- Ears are moderately long and slightly drooping.
- Horns are short and stumpy, growing outwards and backwards, thick at the base and firm without cracks.
- The dewlap is large and fleshy and hangs in folds, extending to the navel flap.
- The sheath is slightly pendulous.
- The hump in the males is well-developed and erect and filled up on both sides.
- The bulls weigh approximately half a ton with 1.5 meters height, body length of 1.6 meters and girth measuring 2 meters. Weight of the female is 432 to 455 kg.
- Milk yield is 600 kg to 2518 kg with a butter-fat content of over five percent.
- Lactation period is 279 days resulting in large, well-nourished calves with considerable growth by the time of weaning.
The Ongole are known for their toughness, rapid growth rate, and natural tolerance to tropical heat and disease resistance. This was the first Indian breed of cattle to gain worldwide recognition. The animals of this breed have been transported to many tropical countries of America, West Indies, South East Asia and Australia and have earned recognition for its better survival and performance on tropical pastures. The hardy and disease-resistant Ongole breed saved the South American country when the “mad cow disease” wiped out all the other American and European breeds.
Ongole cattle have now become an international breed, spread across the Americas, a few countries in Africa, the Far East and Australia. However, on the Indian soil, the pure Ongole breed bull has become an endangered species. The majority of Indian farmers have dumped the much sought after bull in favour of the tractors. The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has therefore embarked upon a mission of conservation of pure Ongole breed bull.
We, at Surabhivana, actively support this mission of conservation of our desi cattle.