ERODE: The buffaloes of Bargur Hills in Erode district have been recognized as a specific breed by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) in Karnal, Haryana, which is the nodal agency for the registration of newly identified germplasm of livestock and poultry in the country.
The Accession Number for the Bargur buffalo breed is INDIA-BUFFALO-1800-BARGUR-01015, said a release from Prof Dr N Kumaravelu of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS).
The breed registration committee, at a September-5 meeting at New Delhi, approved 14 new breeds of livestock and poultry. They include two breeds of cattle, two of buffalo, six of goat and one each of sheep, pig, donkey and chicken.
The Bargur buffaloes, adapted for grazing in the hilly terrain, are small in size, with an average height of 102 cm. The coat colour varies from black to brownish black and light brown. Females have greyish white stockings from carpal/tarsal joint to fetlock. The milk yield ranges from 1.5 to 2 litres per day. They are mainly reared for milk and manure by farmers of the Lingayat and Solagar communities.
The breed was registered by Dr K N Raja, Scientist, NBAGR and Dr N Kumaravelu and Dr P Ganapathi, who are professors at TANUVAS.
The NBAGR has recognised five breeds of cattle from Tamil Nadu. However, only the Toda buffalo of the Nilgiris was recognised as a specific breed till now. After the Bargur Hills buffalo being recognised, Tamil Nadu has two recognised buffalo breeds.
NBAGR has already recognised Bargur cattle as a draught breed. Its population has fallen drastically over the last three decades. The number of Bargur cattle in the native tract was estimated at 95,400 in 1977, 46,600 in 1982 and 10,102 in 2003. A 2007 enumeration of pure-bred Bargur cattle in the entire native tract found about 2,500 heads, with only 1,100 breedable females. From 1977 to 2009, the fall in the breedable female population is more than 93 percent.
Being in the ‘endangered category’ according to conservation norms, by TANUVAS opened the Bargur Cattle Research Station (BCRS) in Thurusanampalayam in the region, with the aim of conserving the breed. The station, which has 50 acres, is breeding Bargur cattle calves and distributing them farmers in the area.