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Holstein-Friesian to be prime dairy cattle

Ignatius Pereira

Dairy farms of livestock development board to be source for purebred cows



PUREBRED: Holstein-Friesian cows meant for the Kulathupuzha hi-tech dairy farm grazing at the fodder fields of the Kerala Livestock Development Board's Mattupatti farm in Idukki district.

KOLLAM: The inauguration of the country's first hi-tech dairy farm in the government sector by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan at Kulathupuzha on January 21 will also mark the introduction of purebred Holstein-Friesian (HF) cows, the world's highest milk-yielding cattle breed, as the prime dairy cattle of the State for attaining self-sufficiency in milk production.

Hi-tech farms

The hi-tech dairy farm at Kulathupuzha is one among the three such farms being established by the State government under the management of the Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB). These farms are being set up on the initiative of Animal Husbandry Minister C. Divakaran.

Apart from Kulathupuzha, the other farms are being set up at Mattupatti and Kolahalamedu in Idukki district.

Ani S. Das, managing director of the KLDB, said these farms were poised to become the source for the purebred HF cows.

Female calves born at the farms would be sold to local dairy farmers.

Through this process, the purebred HF cattle population in the State would be steadily augmented.

Fifty purebred HF heifers procured from Karnataka and reared at the Dhoni farm of the KLDB at Palakkad have reached the Kulathupuzha farm.

Another 70 such cows will reach Kulathupuzha from the Mattupatti farm in the next 10 days.

The Kulathupuzha farm, which has come up at a cost of Rs.8 crore, will house 230 cows.

Dr. Das said more HF cows were being procured. For the Kulathupuzha farm, 120 pregnant HF heifers were procured from Karnataka at rates in the range of Rs.35,000-50,000 for an animal.

All the heifers have delivered and each cow yields more than 25 litres of milk a day.

Indo-German project

Karnataka has a big population of purebred HF cattle, courtesy an Indo-German dairy development programme some years ago. Selection of the purebred HF heifers for the Kulathupuzha farm was done by an expert team.

Dr. Das said that while HF male germ plasm was in use in the State for some time, it was only an upgrading effort through the existing female population.

However in Karnataka, purebred HF cows and male germ plasm were imported under the Indo-German programme.

This had created the purebred HF cow population in that State.

The HF cattle with its distinctive large black and white colour markings originate from Holland and Friesland in the Netherlands. These cattle have been in use as dairy animals for more than 2,000 years.

According to dairy statistics, the HF cattle outnumber all other dairy breeds in the United States of America and account for nine-tenths of the milk production in that country.

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