Stray Cattle, Cattle Breeds (March 2021) (Download PDF)

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Stray Cattle

  • Neglect of indigenous populations to excessive focus on crossbreeding in past few decades.
  • Increased mechanization & national ban on cow slaughter
Stray Cattle
  • Stray cattle include cows, bulls or calves that are abandoned because they are unproductive. They also include low-yield cows, mostly owned by city-dwellers, that are set free to roam about in the open during the daytime. While stray cattle are a traffic nuisance in cities, they also raid crops in villages
  • Embed chips on cattles and fine ₹ 25,000 if they are abandoned.
  • This means more than 70 % of the cattle population (crossbreed and non-descript combined) are at high risk of becoming stray cattle. The first step to prevent this should be to stop cross breeding indigenous and exotic varieties. Research institutes should instead use the semen of indigenous breeds.
  • Researchers should also develop sexed semen of indigenous breeds to control the population of male calves that have lower demand. The country already has sexed semen for exotic breeds
  • Indian breeds have an advantage over the exotic ones as they naturally produce A 2 quality of milk that is beneficial to humans. The indigenous cow milk also has high levels of some useful components like conjugated linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and cerebrosides.
  • The dung of indigenous cattle, for example, has a lot of useful bacteria that can prevent diseases caused by pathogenic strains and can be used as a natural purifier
  • It adds that cow dung is a rich source of micro-flora which can be used as probiotics
  • Cow urine (of indigenous varieties) can be utilized in agriculture as bio-pesticide, yield enhancer and soil rejuvenator, besides curing diseases, controlling mosquitoes, disinfection and fish food. Likewise, cow dung is used in energy production via fermentation and gasification processes. The cow dung ash has been used in construction as a partial replacement of conventional material and as an adsorbent. Finally, cow milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung are also used in making panchgavya, which provides immunity

Cattle Breeds

  • Defined: 20 % of total cattle, region specific and adopted to local climatic conditions
  • Uniform: 10 % of total cattle, Cattle varieties yet to be recognised as a breed, even though they are widely used by the farmers
  • Crossbred: 21 % of total cattle, failed to adopt Indian condition, expensive to maintain and life span is short
  • Non-descript breeds: 49 % of total cattle, low productivity, bulk and non-identified – they can be made commercially viable with good research
  • The defined breeds include the 50 most valuable cattle indigenous varieties such as Gir, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Tharparkar, and Rathi. For example, the varieties found in northern and western states have high milk yield, while those in the southern states are ideal to be used as draft. Breeds found in the eastern states are used for both milk production and draft. They are never abandoned
  • Uniform breeds: not properly identified with crossbred lead to poorer varieties – small portion is abandoned - Alambadi, Sanchori, Jellicut, Kasargod, Krishnagiri, Manapari, Shahabadi, Tarai and Zobawng.
  • Crossbred: These are a product of various failed government-backed programmes started almost 60 years ago to crossbreed popular Indian varieties (Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, and Tharparkar) with the exotic ones such as Jersey and Holstein Friesian. Even in the best farms of the country, crossbred varieties are only able to survive for 3.4 lactations as compared to 9 - 10 lactations for the indigenous varieties at farmers՚ level

- Published/Last Modified on: June 13, 2021

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