In a bid to increase the population of indigenous cows as a nationwide drive, Punjab will artificially inseminate 5000 desi cows in the state on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, October 2.
Punjab Livestock Development Board’s chief executive officer (CEO) HS Sandha said this was a central government initiative to encourage farmers to prefer indigenous breeds, such as Sahiwal, Tharparkar and Rathi, over exotic breeds such as Holstein Friesians (HF). “The government will carry out this mass synchronised breeding in the whole country on Gandhi Jayanti,” he said, adding that a stated aim is to increase the population of desi breeds to compensate for their low yield per cow.
As of now, a Sahiwal cow produces 7-8 litres of milk a day as compared to 25-30 by HF cows. Also, their population is just 1.5% of all cows in the state. Since the Centre decided to push for rearing indigenous cows, Punjab farmers were losing out on revenue.
How it works
It was only last month that the state government began the drive to identify desi cows and employ the estrous synchronisation technique for breeding. This is the process of targeting female mammals to come to heat at the same time period, which is achieved through the use of one or more hormones. This method is mostly used on HF breeds.
The desi cows are expected to be ready for insemination by the end of September, and, on October 2, they will be injected with the best quality of semen from a pedigree breed to produce an elite variety of indigenous cows that could compete with exotic breeds in producing milk. Though indigenous breeds produce less milk, the quality in terms of fat content is better at 5% as compared to HF cows’ 3% fat.
The identification process is over and activities like de-worming and preparation for synchronised breeding are underway. Under the project, the PLDB will also assess the success rate of synchronised breeding on desi breeds under field conditions. “After inseminating, we will check how many cows conceived and further the production of milk will be assessed,” said Gurmeet Singh, deputy director, animal husbandry, Moga.
The cows for the Gandhi Jayanti programmed were selected on the basis of their body condition, milk yield and reproductive status. Among districts, Fazilka had the highest target of 1,000 , Bathinda 800 and Faridkot 600. The targets are high in these district as desi cows are mostly reared here. Other districts got a target of 100 to 400 cows each. Each veterinary officer has been given a target to cover 20 to 25 cows.