Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mela serves as eye-opener on dwindling Kangayam cattle population

This year, nearly 14,700 Kangayam cattle, which include 3,400 cows and remaining bulls/ oxen/ calves, were traded at the fair.

Dwindling population and sale of genetically pure Kangayam cattle are becoming a cause for worry. —Photo: R. VIMAL KUMAR
Dwindling population and sale of genetically pure Kangayam cattle are becoming a cause for worry. —Photo: R. VIMAL KUMAR

The 1,000-odd years old cattle mela at Kannapuram, near Kangayam, featuring genetically pure Kangayam cattle, which came to a close this week, is yet another wake up call for the different stakeholders to reformulate the strategies to save the breed from extinction.

This year, nearly 14,700 Kangayam cattle, which include 3,400 cows and remaining bulls/ oxen/ calves, were traded at the fair.
“It is a bit disappointing to hear the figures as nearly 1,00,000 cattle used to be traded about 15 years ago at this same event. It shows that the breeding has come down. However, a good sign is that the farmers who brought the cattle got prices as high as Rs. 1.37 lakh for a pair of oxen showing that the breed still has the potential to fetch premium value,” K.S.M. Karthikeya, managing trustee of Senapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation, which is involved in in-situ breeding of Kangayam cattle for six decades, told The Hindu .
According to Mr. Karthikeya, the ban on jallikattu and rekla race brought down the demand for Kangayam cattle.
“On the breeding front, the decrease in the acreage of ‘Korangadu’, a typical grazing area of Kangayam cattle, which contain about 29 species of trees and shrubs, and lack of adequate incentives to breed the native cattle species are causing the population to come down,” some of the cattle farmers opined.
Conservationists like Mr. Karthikeya were of the opinion that the government should try to support marketing of milk from Kangayam cows separately through the network of Aavin and encourage zero budget farming using dung and urine of the cattle which could act as organic manure. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mela-serves-as-eyeopener-on-dwindling-kangayam-cattle-population/article7156316.ece

Sunday, November 15, 2015

An app to conserve Kangeyam cattle

In an effort to protect native breeds of cattle, especially the Kangeyam cattle known to be an asset of the Chera dynasty, a mobile application, Konga Madu , was launched in the city on Saturday.
Konga Gosalai and Shri Sakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology have come up with this app, aimed at providing the required information to farmers possessing Kangeyam bulls and cows. The app was launched by H. Raja, national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party, at a function held at the college.

According to the organisers, Konga Desam or Chera kingdom has been producing the best breeds of Indian Zebu cattle (bos indicus) and is well documented in Tamil Sangam literature. The recent archaeological excavations at Porunthai and numismatic evidence from Amaravathi river in Karur corroborate the Sangam texts in confirming the cattle propagation during the time of the Chera kingdom. After the advent of exotic breeds such as Jersey to augment milk production, native breeds have lost its charm and are on the verge of extinction.

Erstwhile Pattagar of Palaykottai, Shree Uthamakaminda Rao Bahadur Nallathambi Sarkarai Mandradiar sustained and brought the Kangeyam under international limelight by the end of the colonial era. The present Pattagar Rajkumar Mandradiar had recently formed the Palayakottai Pattagar Cattle Farm and Research Centre to help conserve the Kangeyam breed. The Konga Gosalai has been rescuing Kangeyam cattle from being sold at local shandies and giving them to farmers for rearing. In the last two years, more than 800 cows have been rescued. With a wider view to produce pure progeny, Konga Gosalai along with faculty members Selvakumar, Arun Stalin of Shri Sakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology and a team of Katpas Technologies Coimbatore developed this app. Using the app, the farmers having Kangeyam bulls could look for Kangeyam cows or those with cows could look for bulls and locate the nearest veterinary care centre. The app is designed to make information available on hand to ensure the health of Kangeyam cattle.

The farmer will be able to buy or sell a Kangeyam cow to another farmer with the help of this app.
The app also helps in getting expert advice from doctors on ailments affecting the cattle. The app , Konga Madu , is available in Android mobile play stores as a free download.
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/an-app-to-conserve-kangeyam-cattle/article7882836.ece

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Need to rear more indigenous cattle breeds: Pejawar seer

Need to rear more indigenous cattle breeds: Pejawar seer

Udupi, Oct 07, 2015, DHNS
The Pejawar Mutt Seer Vishwesha Theertha Swami said that people should take a decision to safeguard the livestock treasure of the country, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion.

Speaking after inaugurating four-day mega cattle convention, ‘Gau Sammelan,’ at Rajangana, he said the sacred ancient culture of the nation, advocates respect for the cattle.

The seer added that people should stop killing the cattle and respect the animals for their sacredness and also for the benefits that humans get from them.

He said there was a need to create awareness among the people with regard to the importance of cows.

Asserting that farmers and cattle are the backbone of the nation’s progress, the seer said that organic farming, which was extensively practiced prior to 1960s, was indeed beneficial in terms of  value addition to the lives of the cattle.

The cow dung was the main component of the organic farming. The importance of organic farming has been once again realised by the people now. There is  need for rearing more and more indigenous cattle breeds, he stressed. He also urged the governments to take interest in protecting the cows, he added.

The seer said lakhs of cows were being slaughtered in India. The seer also questioned the silence of those people who raised their voice for the right to life of every insect and creature, but opt to be insensitive with regard to the killing of cows.

The cow is revered as Mother Goddess among Indians and no one dares to speak to conserve the cattle treasure, which is a big irony. The seer added that the Constitution of India itself mentions about the protection given to the cattle.

Paryaya Kaniyur Mutt Seer Vidyavallabhatheertha  Swami said the programme should not be misunderstood by the people. He added the main purpose of the programme was to conserve the cattle treasure.

Krishnapura Mutt Seer Sri Vidyasagaratheertha Swami opined that at least each household should have a cattle. There used to be a 'Gomala' (grazing land) in every village in India, he added.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/504918/need-rear-more-indigenous-cattle.html

In the name of the cow

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/in-the-name-of-the-cow/
In the name of the cow
In the name of the cow

Punjab Dairy farmers see no economic benefits in switching from Holsteins to Sahiwal

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/punjab-dairy-farmers-see-no-economic-benefits-in-switching-from-holsteins-to-sahiwal/
Punjab’s dairy farmers seem lukewarm to the idea of rearing indigenous cow breeds such as Sahiwal and Gir, despite the state government launching a subsidy-cum-training scheme encouraging them to start desi cattle units.
“An average Holstein Friesian (HF) cow gives 10,000-12,000 litres of milk in a 10-month lactation cycle, whereas the yields from a desi cow are only 3,000-3,600 litres. Also, an HF calf takes just two years to mature and start producing milk, while it is three years for desi breeds,” notes Daljit Singh, who rears over 400 animals at Sardarpura village in Ludhiana’s Jagraon tehsil and is also president of Punjab’s Progressive Dairy Farmers’ Association (PDFA). Balbir Singh, a 50-cow dairy farmer from Udhowal in Nawanshahr district and general secretary of PDFA, believes it is economical to keep desi cattle only if their milk can be sold at Rs 100 per litre and the government also subsidises feed costs.
According to the last Livestock Census for 2012, Punjab had 18.24 lakh female exotic/cross-bred cattle, of which 11.34 lakh were adult milch cows. As against this, there were only 1.7 lakh female indigenous cattle, including 1.03 lakh milch animals. State animal husbandry department officials estimate the current count of desi cows in Punjab in the 40,000-50,000 range.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/punjab-dairy-farmers-see-no-economic-benefits-in-switching-from-holsteins-to-sahiwal/#sthash.Rd1FhJhk.dpufhttp://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/punjab-dairy-farmers-see-no-economic-benefits-in-switching-from-holsteins-to-sahiwal/
Punjab’s dairy farmers seem lukewarm to the idea of rearing indigenous cow breeds such as Sahiwal and Gir, despite the state government launching a subsidy-cum-training scheme encouraging them to start desi cattle units.
“An average Holstein Friesian (HF) cow gives 10,000-12,000 litres of milk in a 10-month lactation cycle, whereas the yields from a desi cow are only 3,000-3,600 litres. Also, an HF calf takes just two years to mature and start producing milk, while it is three years for desi breeds,” notes Daljit Singh, who rears over 400 animals at Sardarpura village in Ludhiana’s Jagraon tehsil and is also president of Punjab’s Progressive Dairy Farmers’ Association (PDFA). Balbir Singh, a 50-cow dairy farmer from Udhowal in Nawanshahr district and general secretary of PDFA, believes it is economical to keep desi cattle only if their milk can be sold at Rs 100 per litre and the government also subsidises feed costs.
According to the last Livestock Census for 2012, Punjab had 18.24 lakh female exotic/cross-bred cattle, of which 11.34 lakh were adult milch cows. As against this, there were only 1.7 lakh female indigenous cattle, including 1.03 lakh milch animals. State animal husbandry department officials estimate the current count of desi cows in Punjab in the 40,000-50,000 range.

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The state government, of late though, has sought to revive the tradition of rearing indigenous cows by providing 50 per cent subsidy on the cost of cattle and also three years free insurance. “Our target is to open 200 desi cattle units (farms) in 2015-16, with each having between two to 10 cows,” says HS Sandha, director of Punjab’s animal husbandry department.
Farmers are further being given free-of-cost training for rearing of indigenous cattle by the Punjab Dairy Development Board (PDDB). “We have trained around 200 farmers till date at our various centres, including in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Patiala and Firozpur. They have been made aware about the merits of desi cows. We are receiving several queries now from farmers across the state for opening units,” claims Inderjit Singh, additional chief executive officer, PDDB.
Sahiwal cow milk, he points out, have fat content of 4 to 4.5 per cent, compared to only 3 to 3.5 per cent for the same from cross-breds. Besides, indigenous animals are relatively drought and disease-resistant, unlike the exotic cows that are very delicate. “You need to put fans and coolers on during summers to save HFs from heat stroke and other induced diseases, whereas the Sahiwals can tolerate high temperatures without any such problems,” adds Ram Lubhaya, training inspector at PDDB’s Phagwara centre.
Farmers, however, don’t appear fully convinced about these advantages. So far, only two desi cow units, both in Firozpur district, have come up under the Punjab government’s new scheme. Among them that is of Buta Singh, a farmer from Dheera Patra village of Firozpur district, who has opened a unit of 11 desi cows and two bulls. He has also founded a ‘Dheera farmer help society’, which is selling desi cow milk at Rs 50 per litre and ghee at Rs 1,000 per kg. But PDFA’s Daljit Singh feels that selling cow milk at more than Rs 25-26 per litre is not easy. While it is possible to keep one or two Sahiwal cows for self-consumption, commercial dairying can be feasible only with high-yielding animals that allow more milk to be the produced per farm, bringing down overall marketing and logistics costs per litre.
There is another significant factor: The bulk of dairy farmers are involved not just in producing milk from cows, but also in the business of commercial rearing of HF and crossbred calves. Singh reckons that around three lakh exotic/crossbred cows from Punjab worth over Rs 2,000 crore are transported annually to other states, of which one lakh is to Gujarat alone. High-milking HF cattle fetch anywhere between Rs 70,000 for a one-and-a-half year old calf and over Rs one lakh for a cow. It is a common sight to see these animals being bought in Gujarat by farmers, who then sell the milk from them at high prices paid by cooperative dairies. Being a significant crossbred cow breeding state is seen as a reason why the desi cattle revival may be a non-starter in Punjab. Even if farmers were to breed Sahiwal cows, the low milk yields would mean their rates will not be more than Rs 60,000-70,000.
Finally, HF cows can be easily disposed of after 4-5 lactation cycles, when milk yields start dropping. This option is ruled out in desi cattle, thanks to the growing activity of gau-rakshaks or so-called cow protectors. In recent times, Punjab’s dairy farmers have been facing problems from gau-rakshaks looting even trucks carrying cross-bred cows that are transported to other states. This harassment has reduced somewhat now, but it still makes disposal of desi cows difficult. “Once their milk yields fall, we would be left with no choice but leave these animals at the gau shalas. This is not so with HF cows, which can be sold to outsiders,” says a farmer.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/punjab-dairy-farmers-see-no-economic-benefits-in-switching-from-holsteins-to-sahiwal/#sthash.Rd1FhJhk.dpuf

Fall in indigenous cattle population cause for concern

The steep fall in the population of indigenous cattle needs immediate attention of scientists and policy makers. This was said by Dr DK Sadana, retired head of the animal genetic resources division of the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), who had worked for 20 years on indigenous livestock. At the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) today to take part in the 12th Agricultural Science Congress, he said: “At present, there are only 39 breeds of indigenous cattle, out of which some are at the brink of extinction and need immediate attention to be conserved.”

Highlighting the importance of indigenous cattle as compared to the crossbreed, he said the milk of the former was superior to that of the latter besides being locally adapted and contributing to the marginal people’s livelihood.


Dr Sadana said the indigenous cattle milk carries A2 protein, which was superior to A1 protein that was found in the milk of crossbreed cattle. “A small compound of A1 protein known as Beta Caso Morphin-7 (BCM7) causes diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and cardiac problems, while A2 is safe to consume,” he said.


He said: “Indian cow milk also has higher proportion of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is a good anti-oxidant and very useful for the human body. It also has good quantity of omega-3 fatty acid, which is also beneficial for human metabolism.” He said dung of the Indian cow had around 50 times more useful bacteria, which helped in soil fertility, while the dung of crossbreed was of inferior quality.


The importance of the urine of the Indian cow for human health and soil was also acknowledged as it has received four US patents.


“It is important that all products from indigenous cows are properly utilised and so the farmers can earn sufficiently for their own survival as well as get quality milk for their families,” he said. Comparing the lactations of both the breeds, he said Indian cattle continued to produce for more than 15 lactations, whereas the crossbreeds in the best farms in the country produced, on an average, for only 3.4 lactations.


“The major advantage is that the indigenous cattle can survive in all types of adverse conditions, while crossbreed faces lot of challenges,” he added.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/expert-fall-in-indigenous-cattle-population-cause-for-concern/38501.html

Bargur Cattle Research Station sanctioned Rs. 6 crore

The Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) have started works on construction of a research station for indigenous Bargur breed cattle in the district.
Levelling work is in progress on a 50-acre site provided to the University for establishing the Centre at a cost of Rs. 6 crore over a five-year period. The initial instalment of Rs. 1.37 crore has already been provided, Babu, Director of Animal Production Studies, TANUVAS, who would be inspecting the site on Thursday, said.
The Centre will focus on propagating population of the indigenous breed on Bargur hills and increasing their milk yield through selective breeding, official sources said.
At present, the cows of this breed yield only around two litres of milk a day. Aavin has initiated a milk society to source the milk, which at a later stage could be sold as a premium product, sources said.
According to the rearers, there is a niche market for ghee, butter and other products made out of milk sourced from Bargur cows.
Start of the Centre has been necessitated by a drastic fall in the numbers of the cows due to restrictions on grazing imposed by the Forest Department. Until the last decade, rearing of this breed of the cows did not entail any expenditure as the cattle used to graze in the forest land in herds and return by themselves.
Bargur cattle breeders are hopeful that the Research Centre would prompt many among them to revive cattle-rearing for income generation.
The oxen are deployed by farmers for ploughing and are known for their running speed. The dung is used as natural manure.
For the last two years, the Animal Husbandry Department has been conducting annual exhibition on the breed at Thurasanampalayam village on the hills. There were many takers for Bargur breed at the cattle air conducted in connection with the Gurunathaswamy Temple festival at Anthiyur earlier this year.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/bargur-cattle-research-station-sanctioned-rs-6-crore/article7768070.ece