Showing concern towards diminishing population of indigenous cow breed in the Punjab, the state animal husbandry department under the central government’s ‘Rashtriya Gokul Mission’ has started promoting Punjab’s indigenous cow breed ‘Sahiwal’ among farmers.
The statical department of state animal husbandry shows that of total 24 lakh cows in the state there are only around 39,000 of Sahiwal breed while the major chunk is of Holstein Friesians (HF) breed. Sahiwal breed is mostly concentrated and reared in Fazilka, Muktsar, Ferozepur, Bahini Sahib and Nurmahal.
To motivate farmers to rear this breed, the animal husbandry departments of the state are giving special benefits to the owners of this breed.
Benefits to farmers owning Sahiwal
The farmers having cows with higher lactation will be given incentives according to the production of milk.
The cows producing milk between 2,000-2,500 kilograms and 2,600-3,000 kilograms milk during lactation period will be given Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,500 respectively while the cow producing above 3,000 kilograms milk will be awarded Rs 5,000.
Besides, this the cow producing more than 3,000 kilograms will be purchased by the animal husbandry department for further breeding of excellent breeds.
The department will also purchase male calves of cows producing more than 3,000 kilograms milk to make hit bull and get quality semen to produce elite class cows. The other facilities to farmers owning Sahiwal breed includes first two artificial inseminations at free of cost while next will be provided at a minimum price of `50, free of cost deworming facility and mineral mixture for one year, free medical test within `200 and 25 percent subsidy on standard quality feed. With an aim that the endangered indigenous breed ‘Sahiwal’ do not get extinct, the state government has also proposed to set up the Sahiwal Traditional Centre in Patiala to preserve the original breeds.
As per the information, elite cows and bulls purchased from farmers will be kept in the centre and elite animals will be produced.
Why farmers don’t rear Sahiwal?
The only reason behind most of the farmers stopped rearing Sahiwal and other indigenous breeds were lack of milk production as compared to foreign breeds.
Experts said on an average, Sahiwal produces only 9-10 kilograms of milk as compared to 25-30 litres by HF cows.
“Farmers are now purchasing cross-breed animals of foreign and indigenous breeds to get the higher productivity of milk and earn more profits,” they said.
Experts said that though the indigenous cows produce less milk, but the quality of milk couldn’t compete with the HF cows of which milk have 3 percent fat while Sahiwal’s milk have 5 percent fat.
“Moreover, indigenous breeds are endowed with qualities of heat tolerance, resistance to diseases and the ability to thrive under extreme climatic stress,” they added.
Dr Sanjiv Kumar Khosla, deputy chief executive officer (CEO) Punjab livestock development board when contacted said that their main motive behind preserving the Sahiwal breed is that Punjab’s traditional breed would not get extinct.
“All the animal husbandry departments of the state have started promoting the Sahiwal breed among farmers and we are giving incentives to farmers to motivate them to rear indigenous breeds,” he added.