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Origin and Breeding tract

Tarai buffalo breed is the mainly breed of Uttarakhand. This breed is found mainly in Ram Nagar, Sitarganj, Khatima, Nanakmatta areas of Kumaon of Uttarakhand. This breed is also found in Philibhit and Bareilly districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Population

As per 18th livestock census 2007, the total number of animals of this breed was recorded as 27,757 and total population of buffaloes in the state was recorded as 12-19 lacs. Tarai breed of buffalo is less known breed being maintained by farmers in Tarai part of Uttarakhand and U.P. State.

Physical Characteristics

Some of the important characteristics is described as follows: -

Body color

Grayish brown to black coat colour on black skin. Eyelids, hooves, nose ridge, face and pastern joint are mostly black in 89 to 95% cases.

Horns

Orientation of horns is mostly backward (76%) and black in color. Shape of horn is slightly curved to sickle shape (76%) measuring 44 cm with tip projecting mostly upward (72%). Horns are smaller in females (32 cm) than males (44 cm.).

Marking

Eye

Tail

Slightly lower than hock joint measuring 89 to 99 cm. Switch of the tail is mostly white.

Body

Medium, compact with small, straight and shining hair.Navel is tight and sheath is non pendulous.

Head

Short in length, convex (60%) or flat (35%) in shape

Face

Neck

Strong neck of 63 to 66 cm long in female and 70 to 71 cm long in males.

Ear

Orientation of ear is backward and comparatively small in size.

Limbs

Skin

 

Udder

Shape of udder is mostly round (56%) and rarely pendulous. Fore udder is either flat (31%) or projected (45%) when filled with milk. Rear udder is small.

Teats

46% of teats are small with pointed tips.

Morphological Characteristics

Heart girth of adult animals is 201 cm, while paunch girth is 227 cm, height of the animals is 156 cm. Navel is tight and sheath is non pendulous. Temperament of female is docile, however, that of male is aggressive as usual. 

Performance Record

Fat per cent of milk was recorded from records of the primary milk collection society where farmer was supplying the milk.

 

(a) Monthly milk yield: Milk yield on day of recording multiplied by 30 was taken as monthly milk yield. Average milk yield during first month of first lactation was 127.07±4.18kg. while during second lactation it was 125.86±3.39 kg. during second month. Milk yield progressively decline from third month to 12th month of lactation.

(b) Lactation milk yield: Average first lactation milk yield recorded as 1030.04±26.78 kg while that in second lactation it was 1080.09±28.58 kg. Thus, there was an increase in milk production by 4.86% during second lactation over first lactation. Over all average milk yield in both lactations was 1054.08±1957 kg.

(c) Fat Percent: Fat per cent recorded during first lactation was 6.35±0.11 per cent while in second lactation it was 6.67±0.14 with over all fat per cent of 6.58±0.09%. The coefficient of variation observed was between 13.71 to 16.63 per cent.

(d) SNF content: Average SNF calculated during first lactation was 8.56±0.08 per cent while 8.59±0.02 during second lactation. The overall SNF content was 8.57±0.05 based on 47 samples.

(e) Lactation length: Seventy nine per cent of buffaloes completed lactation up to 9 months while only 12.6% of buffaloes remained in lactating upto one year period. Average lactation length was 290.00±4.97 days during first and 292.48±5.32 days during second lactation. The overall lactation length was recorded as 291.19±3.63 days.

 

Reproduction Performance

(a) Service Period: Based on sample of 201 buffaloes, service period in Tarai buffalo was recorded 197.07±6.59 days with 47.45% coefficient of variation.

(b) Dry Period: Dry period was observed as 186.92±16.77 days with 46.62 per cent coefficient of variation.

(c) Calving interval: Average calving interval noted under the recording period was 470.62±18.07 days with 19.95 per cent coefficient of variation.

 

Management Practices

 

In the breeding tract of this breed, farmers rear Tarai buffaloes with other species of animals. Majority of the farmers tied their animals at night few farmers tied animals throughout the day and night. Buffaloes are allowed to graze in forest/community land during the day time while they are kept near the residence during night hours. The Van Gujjars of Uttarakhand maintained their buffaloes mainly on grazing in the forest area.

Housing System

Mostly farmers keep the animals in houses which is a part of farmers’ residence. Animals are housed both in kachha (thatch) shelters and in cemented houses. During the day time animals are kept in open houses. Animal sheds are well ventilated. The floors of most of the houses are kachha but some farmers have brick soled floors. Van Gujjar of the area keep their animals in forest area under tree or under some thatch houses. Farmers cleaned animals’ shed when their animals are out of the shed for grazing after morning milking. The dung, urine and other wastes in the sheds are cleaned daily.

 

Feeding System

Plenty of feed and fodders crops are available in the home tract region of Tarai buffaloes. Dry fodder consists of wheat straw, maize, jowar and rice straw while barseem, lucerne, maize and jowar green fodders are available as per seasonal pattern of cropping / availability. The farmers residing nearby to the forest areas also collect leaves of different plants. Farmers use mustered cake, cooked grains of barley, oat and wheat for feeding to Tarai buffaloes with better production performance. Almost all farmers provide green folder as well as dry chaffed fodder to their animals. Soaked concentrate, mixed with dry fodder is provided to the animals mostly at the time of milking. The milking of Tarai buffaloes is done twice - in the morning and evening.

 

Breeding method

 

In the breeding tract of Tarai buffaloes, most of the farmers are keeping one or two buffaloes and land holding is small. So it is not possible for each farmers to maintain a breeding bull. Thus, in the area, a few Tarai bulls are maintained by the farmers have to be used for breeding.

Calf Management

 

Farmers allowed calves to suckle their mothers throughout the lactation period. In spite of low milk yield of Tarai buffaloes, calf suckling is encouraged for milk let down. Dehorning of calves is not in practiced. Deworming of the calves is not done by most of the farmers.

Conservation of Breed

(i) Ten thousand Five hundred Ninety (10,590) doses of DFS of Tarai buffalo were prepared and supplied to NBAGR, Karnal.

(ii) Twenty Eight (28) Tarai buffalo bulls maintained under the project were transferred to U.S. Nagar Dugdha Utpadak Sahakari Sangh Ltd., Rudrapur for distribution to different milking societies for use in breeding and improvement of Tarai buffaloes.

 

Socio-economic impact

The importance of this breed is being realized by the farmers as the animals can be maintained on low input system by the marginal and small land holding farmers. This breed performs very well under unfavourable conditions of Tarai climate, the males are very good for ploughing/puddling in the rice fields. Therefore, the value of the Tarai buffalo will improve.

                                      Breeding Policy for Buffalo in Uttarakhand

Name of the Zone

Breeding Policy

Remarks

Zone A: upto 1000 m Altitude:

Tropical Zone: Plains, Terai, Bhavar, Shivalik & Vallies

Grading up with pure Murrah semen.

Policy universal for buffalo state wide

Zone B: 1000 – 1500 m Altitude:

Subtropical Zone

Grading up with pure Murrah semen.

Policy universal for buffalo state wide

Zone C: 1500 – 2400 m Altitude:

Cool Temperate Zone

Grading up with pure Murrah semen.

Policy universal for buffalo state wide

Zone D: Above 2400 m Altitude:

Sub-Alpine Zone

Grading up with pure Murrah semen.

Policy universal for buffalo state wide

contributed by CV singh and RS Barwal