Umblachery cattle is native of Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts of Tamil Nadu, India. This breed gets its name from the place of its origin – the Umblachery village in Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu. It is variedly known as Jathi madu/ Mottai madu/ Molai madu/ Therkathi madu.
Umblachery is a draught breed of the zebu type, similar to Kangayam but smaller, and used for agricultural work. The males generally find use in ploughing, carting, thrashing and paddling. This breed is capable of doing continuous work for six to seven hours under the hot sun and is suitable for ploughing in marshy paddy fields because of its medium size.
The practice of dehorning of bullocks is peculiar in the Umblachery cattle. Dehorning of male calves is at about 10-12 months of age. During dehorning, there is a practive of pruning of ears. Umblachery breeds by natural mating and artificial insemination in few animals.
- This is a medium-sized, docile cattle breed.
- The calves are generally red or brown at birth but change to grey during the growing period. The bullocks are dark grey with black extremities whereas the cows are grey with light dark grey colour in the face, neck and hip regions.
- They have white markings on face, limb and tail; markings on legs resemble socks.
- The forehead is slightly broad with a shallow groove in the middle and a white star.
- The ears are short and erect and horizontally placed.
- The eyelids and the muzzle are black in colour.
- The naval flap is inconspicuous and the penal sheath in males is well tucked up.
- The dewlap is short, thin and extends up to the sternum.
- The teats are small and set well apart.
- The udder is not well developed; it is bowl shaped and tucked up with the abdomen.
- The hump is fairly developed and medium in size in bullocks, well developed in bulls and small in cows.
- The hooves are strong, small, black in colour or partly or wholly white in colour.
- The horns are black in colour, medium in thickness, short and pointed.
- The tail is long and tapers gradually below the hock.
- The switch of the tail is white or partially white.
- Body weight of males vary between 268 – 297 kg and females weigh about 219 kg.
- Height at withers for males is 112.2cm to 116.8 cm and for females about 105 cm.
- Average heart girth for males is approx. 150 cm and for females approx. 135 cm.
- The age at first calving is approx. 52.4 months.
- The lactation period is about 245 days and the milk production per lactation is approx. 494 kgs and average milk fat is 4.94%.
As per the 1998 estimate, a total of 2.83 lakhs of Umblachery cattle were available in the breeding tract. However, the breeding tract has shrunken over the years. Introduction of crossbreeding and lack of concerted efforts for improvement and conservation have deteriorated the status of this breed. There has been a decline in Umblachery cattle population and also a dilution of the germplasm.
The Government of Tamilnadu had established a farm in 1954 at Orathanadu (near Thanjavur) to develop this breed. A new farm was later started in Korukkai, near Umblachery village, especially to conserve Umblachery breed in its home region. Though the Government of Tamil Nadu has launched various initiatives in the Animal Husbandary Department, further efforts to conserve this rare breed is much required.