Hyderabad: In a bid to promote indigenous cows and also increase the bovine population in the State, Telangana State Livestock Development Agency (TSLDA) is making efforts to produce Sahiwal cows through In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in five districts on a pilot basis.
Semen of the Sahiwal breed will be injected into select cows to artificially produce Sahiwal breed cows. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) initiated work on a project this year, paving the way for producing a large number of calves of elite indigenous breeds, and benefit cattle farmers across the country. Of this, Gir and Sahiwal breeds were the first to be produced. Both the breeds are considered elite cattle breeds, with high milk yield.
In the IVF process, elite cows, which have high milk yield, are selected. Eggs collected from these cows are fertilised in a laboratory using semen of top elite bulls. After seven days of development in the laboratory, the embryos are transferred to cows (surrogate mothers) having low milk production potential. At the end of around nine months, the cow gives birth to a calf belonging to an elite breed.
The technique can be used to multiply the number of high producing cows of finest indigenous dairy breeds such as Gir, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Tharparkar.
“Sahiwal breed is best suitable for Telangana’s climatic conditions, and produces milk with good fat content. Hence, we opted for the production of this breed in select villages in five districts of Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Khammam, Karimnagar and Medak on a pilot basis. The Central government extended financial support of Rs 53.33 crore,” an official of TSLDA told Telangana Today.
Officials said as against one calf produced by a cow a year, the IVF technique allows the production of as many as 20-25 calves from an elite cow by repeating the process. “The idea is to encourage production of indigenous cows in large numbers, which will eventually benefit dairy farmers,” the official added.
A State level committee comprising senior officials and field staff is being appointed to take necessary measures for the production of Sahiwal cows. The pilot project will be implemented under the supervision of senior officials, while field staff will be trained to implement it. Training and awareness programmes will also be conducted for Gopal Mitras and dairy farmers shortly.