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Inherent Qualities as Meat Producer

Buffaloes have a unique ability to utilize coarse feeds, straws and crop residues converting them into protein rich lean meat. Hence buffaloes fit well in poor countries having poor feed resources (Arganosa, 1973). Buffalo properly managed and fed as a meat producing animal and slaughtered at 16 to 20 months of age yields a highly satisfactory top quality meat at a much lower cost than the cattle (Ranjan and Pathak, 1979). Since buffaloes have been used as draught animals for centuries, they have evolved with exceptional muscular development. Until recently, little thought was given to use them exclusively for meat production.

Buffaloes are lean animals. The sub-cutaneous fat layer of the carcass is usually thinner than that on comparably fed cattle. Fat is low even under feed lot conditions (Desmond, 1990). More lean and less fat compared to cattle, has created a demand for it among health conscious consumers (Kondaiah, 2002). Buffaloes have higher degree of resistance and tolerance than cattle against many diseases (Ross, 1975). They are reasonably productive up to 15 years of age. At 18 years and even more may produce calves (Banerjee, 1998). Buffaloes have excellent body weight gain compared to other species. The nutrient requirements of buffalo steer include 0.24 Kg DCP, 1.8 Kg TDN, 6.6 MCal ME, 14 g Ca, and 11 g P. On adlibitum and high concentrate (75:25) based rations the growth rate is 610 g/day with feed efficiency of 7:1. On all roughage rations (Green berseem/ berseem hay) the growth rate is 370 g/day with feed efficiency of 10:1 (Ranjan and Pathak, 1979).

Source: international Journal of livestock Production vol.1(1),pp.001-005,August,2009.