Kerala eyes to tap commercial potential of rare ingenious species

The Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB) is looking to tap the commercial potential of the calves of rare ingenious species, said officers. 
Image used for representational purpose only
Image used for representational purpose only

KOCHI: The Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB) is looking to tap the commercial potential of the calves of rare ingenious species, said officers. “For instance, the Vechur cow has assumed celebrity status in India, despite it yielding an average 2.5 l of milk daily. A Vechur calf fetches `1-1.5 lakh in the current market and the farmers rearing it are mostly upper middle-class. So there is immense commercial potential for this breed,” the officers said. “The commercial potential of ‘Sahiwal’ is equally high as the local breed yields around 8 l of milk per day. In recent times, there has been a growing demand for the rare breed in the state,” they said.

‘Select best pedigree’
Sosamma Iype, a pioneer in reviving the Vechur cow breed, said the embryo transfer technology was first introduced by the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) in collaboration with Milma (Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation) in 1995.  “But KAU did not continue the work as the cows used were mostly aged and responded poorly to hormone treatment,” Sosamma Iype said. “Though the technology can be used as a tool of multiplication and genetic improvement, KLDB should ensure they select the best pedigree and give maximum care to selection along with the application of the technology. Only then will good results be available,” she said.

Better tech breed better results
KLDB adopted the direct embryo transfer method in Vechur cows as the success rates are relatively high at 60-70 per cent. In another method, ‘embryo cryopreservation’, the harvested embryo is preserved at nearly minus 200 degree Celsius and used later after the embryo is brought up to normal temperature. But the success rate in this is relatively low as a number of cells get damaged if taken after a long gap.

KLDB will buy around 50 pure-bred ‘Sahiwal’ cattle, which yield around 1,500-2,200 l of milk per lactation, to raise its base stock in Kerala. Normally, the ‘Sahiwal’ calving interval is approximately 440 days, while the gestation period is 285 days. ‘Sahiwal’ is also in great demand in several Asian and African countries.

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