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Uttarakhand goes for US technology to boost milk output

With an aim to augment farmers’ income the state government has introduced a project under which it has started replicating the “sexed semen” technology developed by the US that helps produce high milk yielding varieties of cows

dehradun Updated: Jan 22, 2018 22:07 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,milk output,sexed semen
Adoption of “sexed semen” technology is one of the initiatives the state government has taken to double the farmers’ income by 2022 in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision.(HT File Photo)

With an aim to augment farmers’ income the state government has introduced a project under which it has started replicating the “sexed semen” technology developed by the US that helps produce high milk yielding varieties of cows.

“The sexed semen technology through which only high milk yielding variety of cows can be produced has been developed by the US… We have engaged them to help us implement it in the state,” animal husbandry secretary R Meenakshi Sundarm said.

“The step will enhance milk yield in the state, which will help boost the farmers’ income and check forced migration from the state.”

Sundaram said adoption of sexed semen technology “is one of the initiatives the state government has taken” to double the farmers’ income by 2022 in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision.

“The other initiative pertains to the recently launched dedicated project aimed to improve the breed of ‘Badri cow’ through artificial insemination,” he said adding that “low milk yielding variety of cow is endemic” to Uttarakhand.

The official, however, said the project would be introduced only in the hills where Badri cow is “mostly” found.

He said “this initiative too” was aimed to check distress migration from the state by enhancing milk productivity of ‘Badri cow’ through artificial insemination.

“Both these initiatives are part of our plan to ensure productivity enhancement in the indigenous breeds of cattle through selective breeding,” Sundaram said clarifying that the scheme was a part of the National Plan for Bovine Breeding.

“Under that plan the Centre recently approved our proposal for improving the breed of ‘Badri cow’,” he said.

The step had been initiated countrywide to improve the breeds of the indigenous varieties of cows as they “are more suitable” to the local conditions besides being hardy species and disease resistant.

Conversely, “the breeds of imported varieties of cows when propagated also bring” with them a number of diseases and viruses.

“We have introduced the project to improve the breed of Badri cow because besides being disease resistant it is the most suitable to local conditions,” Sundaram said.

As part of the initiative some male calves of selected Badri cows that provide 8-10 litres of milk have been kept at Pashu Loke, a state run cowshed in Rishikesh.

When these male calves would mature into bulls their semen would be kept in the lab in freezing conditions.

“Later that semen of the high genetic merit bulls would be inseminated into the low genetic merit cows, which would help produce high milk yielding varieties of female cow progeny.”

“This process will be replicated in villages falling in blocks where Badri cows are found to improve their breed so that farmers have high mild yielding varieties of cows,” Sundaram said.

Referring to the sexed semen technology, he said it was a “far improved” version of the artificial insemination.

“It is a far improved practice because the sexed semen technology helps produce only the high yielding varieties of female caves,” Sundram said.

“That happens because the sexed semen technology can clinically separate X and Y chromosomes,” he said, adding the sexed semen technology being very costly it would be gradually replicated in the state.

“This (sexed semen) technology is already being used to improve a number of species of cows,” Sundarm said. “It will also be used in improving the breed of Badri cow.”

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 22:07 IST