Sunday, April 20, 2014

The cattle breeds of Gujarat

There are 3.2 million people working in milk production in Gujarat.
The animal with the big upright U-curved horns is the Kankrej. Kankrej cattle are very well adapted to the geo-climatic conditions of Saurashtra and Kachchh. They have immense draught power, and yield good quantities of milk and good fat content even under stress conditions.

The Kankrej is renowned for its “Sawai Chaal”, i.e. the back leg reaches further than where the front leg landed, which helps ploughing of fields faster. If you have seen the bull seals of Mohenjodaro, you will recognize the Kankrej horns.

The brown one with the downward sloping horns is the Gir breed, a milch cow. The Gir is a very gentle breed, and they spend time in social groups. They lick and nudge each other and are very loving. The group protects calves together. In the photo you can see how they are sitting together in a group.

Buffaloes also are reared in Gujarat. Cooperatives in Gujarat pay Rs 455 per kg fat on an average to the farmers, which comes to around Rs 32 per litre of average buffalo milk. Due to the high income received, buffaloes have become so popular that the population of indigenous Gir breed has shrunk enormously. Pure bred Gir stock is not available these days, although there are now private as well as government initiatives to breed and develop Gir cattle.

The Banni Pashu Mela in January at Hodka is a cattle fair with competitions and displays.

The milk producers of Gujarat are organised into nearly 17,000 Village Dairy Cooperative societies. Gujarat produces 13 million litres of milk each day.

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