In a national project that started two decades ago, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) has produced 58,454 calves through artificial insemination among cows in 112 villages (operational area) of Ludhiana district.
The project being run in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has proved to be a boon for the dairy farmers, as these genetically upgraded cows produce more milk than the average cows.
Since beginning of this project in 1994, the vet varsity has artificially inseminated 1,33,452 cows in the operational area of the project using 354 bulls with an average conception rate of 43.8%. With this genetic upgrade, milk production of a cow has increased from 3,000 kg to 3,733 kg a year.
Earlier, a calf used to reach the calving age after 1,191 days of its birth, but the genetically upgraded calves becomes fit for calving 883 days after its birth.
Dr SNS Randhawa, director of research, GADVASU, said, “The project will boost the economy of dairy farmers by increasing the milk yield. We have witnessed 25% improvement in milk yield among cows under the project since 2006.” WHAT IS DONE? The variety of cow is made better by using the semen of a high-quality bull.
Artificial insemination from 354 high-quality bulls from across the country was used to impregnate the cows to make genetically upgraded calves that have more qualities over a normal calf. GADVASU charges only `30 for semen from the farmers.
The calf thus reproduced, has better traits, including more milk yield.
The varsity plans to increase its reach to other parts as well.
Randhawa said, “Semen collected in different centres of the country under the project is distributed among farmers.”
Directorate of livestock farms, GADVASU, is one of the centres in the country to conduct All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on field progeny testing programmes of crossbred cattle.
Dr Prem Prakash Dubey, assistant professor, livestock department, GADVSAU, said, “Under the project, evaluation of bulls through progeny testing and their extensive use has been a major source of genetic improvement in dairy animals.”
“Since more than 70% of cattle population in Punjab is crossbred, it has become necessary to take immediate measures to select crossbred bulls of high-genetic potential. The 112 villages were covered by 30 artificial insemination centres in Ludhiana district,” said Dubey.
He said the project has a major contribution in changing the scenario of dairy farming in villages of the district by providing technical knowhow and germplasm (genetic material of a species or other related group of organisms, collected for use in study, conservation, and breeding) to the farmers.