Vission 2050
Project Directorate on Cattle
Indian Council of Agricultural Research

Grass Farm Road, Post Box No. 17,

Meerut Cantt.- 250 001 (U.P.), India

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Printed: March 2013
Published by
Dr. Arjava Sharma (Project Director)

Dr. Shrikant Tyagi
Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Dr. Sushil Kumar
Dr. D.K. Mandal

All Rights Reserved
2013, PDC, Meerut Cantt., Uttar Pradesh

Laser typeset and printed in India at_________________________
     1. Context
     2. Challenges
     3. Operating Environment
     4. Opportunities
     5. Goals and Targets
     6. Way Forward
Cow rearing has a long and cherished tradition in Hindu mythology and the country folklore. References in Indian scriptures from Vedas, Mahabharata, creative compositions (Samhita) of Charak and Sushruta state that cow milk and milk products have been used since ancient times not only as a source of nutrition but also as curative and prophylactic food/medicine. Because of excellent properties of cow milk, cow is honoured as ‘Go-mata’ in Indian mythologies, a provider of Amruta for good health, wealth, prosperity, fame and respect.

Cattle are one of the India’s greatest biological resource (199.1 million, Livestock Census, 2007), which constitute nearly 13% of the world’s total cattle population. The cattle population dynamics indicates that during last 10 years there had been an increase in crossbreds (184.72%) population, by replacing about 22.25% of indigenous cattle. These genetic resources are represented by 37well-recognized breeds spread over different parts of the country. Most of the cattle breeds are suitable for draught power and produce some milk for human consumption left after suckling by calf. Indigenous animals are, in general, sturdy and endowed with qualities of heat tolerance, resistance to tropical diseases and ability to thrive under extreme nutritional stress. Indian cattle breeds have been classified into three categories (a) milch breeds – Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Gir, Rathiand Tharparkar etc. (b) dual purpose breeds – Hariana, Kankrej, Rathi, Ongole, Deonietc and (c) draft breeds – Kangyam, Halliker, Khillar etc. Around 80% of the cattle population is still non-descript as due to uncontrolled breeding, this population could not be classified into distinct breeds. There are 56.36 million draft animals, which are being displaced by crossbreds at the rate of –4.3 % per annum due to increased mechanization of farm operations.

Per capita availability of milk in India (263 g per day) is less than 285 g as recommended by ICMR. Moreover, in India productivity per cow is quite less (2.14 kg /day in indigenous cows; 6.87 kg/day in crossbred cows). Thus, there is strong need to increase the milk production of the country for minimizing difference between per capita availability and the requirement. Milk production in India has increased from a modest 22 million tons during 1970-1971 to about 121.8 million tons in 2010-11 (DAHD&F, GOI, Annual Report 2011-12). However, it is only 987 Kg/lactation in India as compared to 2038 Kg/lactation of the world average. This might be attributed to low genetic potential for milk production, poor nutrition and health care of our cattle wealth. To improve the productivity of non-descript indigenous cattle, crossbreeding has been accepted as national policy for breeding of cattle for more milk production.

According to The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources, 20 percent of all breeds with reported population data are at the risk of extinction. However, since the population status of many breeds is still unknown, the problem may thus be underestimated. Some of the Indian breeds such as Vechur, Punganur, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Krishna Valley, Amritmahal, Tharparkar etc.are showing declining trend in population and require immediate conservation efforts for their improvement and sustainable utilization. Knowledge and technology-based strategies (Marker Assisted Selection, Artificial Insemination, Embryo Transfer and Nuclear Transfer etc.) can be used for both in situ and ex situ conservation of these zebu cattle breeds.

Progeny-testing schemes were initiated in the Third Five-Year Plan. The tested bulls are being used through AI for achieving higher genetic gain. There are some field progeny testing / genetic improvement programmes for indigenous breeds such as Hariana, Ongole, Rathi, Tharparkar, Gir, Sahiwal, Gir, Kankraj etc. which also help in the conservation of these breeds.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has initiated several programmes for the conservation and genetic improvement of Indigenous breeds in collaboration with various agencies viz. ICAR institutes, State Agricultural Universities, State Animal Husbandry Departments and Non-Government Organizations.

Cattle improvement schemes in India: Retrospect and Perspectives
Various schemes sponsored by Central/State Government have been implemented for genetic improvement of cattle and buffalo with a view to enhance the per capita availability of milk through increased milk production. Cattle improvement programmes have been executed run through Veterinary/Animal Husbandry department of the states. There are 3 types of programs: (i) Centrally sponsored, (ii) Central Sector (iii) State sector. All these programmes work within the framework of a breeding policy laid for the entire nation, which has a state structure. Major emphasis on breeding policies taken over the years stated that Indigenous cattle breeds would be selected and improved by utilizing improved indigenous bulls. Non-descript cattle would be bred with exotic semen to produce crossbreds, Jersey, Holstein, Brown Swiss, Red Dane and Presently, Holstein and Jersey are in common use. In some states, Red Sindhi and Hariana have also been used in grading up the non-descript cattle. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research started herd books for Red Sindhi and Sahiwal breeds in 1941. In 1942, this was expanded to cover Hariana breed, in 1945, Gir and Kankrej breeds , and in 1947, Tharparkar, Kangayam and Ongole breeds were also included. The Government of India also started herd registration centres in 1962-63 for the purpose of registration of breeds in different states.

A Central Herd Registration Scheme for identification and location of superior germ plasm of cattle and buffaloes, propagation of superior germ stock, regulating the sale and purchase, help in formation of breeders’ society and to meet requirement of superior bulls in different parts of the country is also being implemented. The Government of India has established Central Herd Registration Unit in four breeding tracts i.e. Rohtak, Ahmedabad, Ongole, Ajmer. The Royal Commission on Agriculture appointed by the Government of India during the pre-independence to improve livestock productivity recommended that Government should undertake the establishment of herds of pedigreed cattle for the production of superior bulls in large numbers. The Royal Commission also recommended the establishment of cooperative cattle breeding societies. Superior bull production programme called “Premium Bull Scheme” was started and cattle breeding farms were established. It was decided that the superior bulls produced in these farms and those purchased from reputed breeders should be distributed in selected tracts for improvement of the local cattle by grading of non-descript animals.

By the end of the Third Plan, it was felt that the Key Village scheme could not provide the expected results because of poor infrastructure. Intensive Cattle Development Project (ICDP) was started in the milk-sheds of dairy project to replace Key Village Scheme. Programmes for propagation of good variety of fodder, proper health cover, AI service and milk collection centres were incorporated in this programme. The project was a crash programme for crossbreeding non-descript cattle in the milk-shed areas around the metropolitan cities covering 126 districts. Each programme covered 0.1 million breedable population to meet the demand of milk for urban population. Exotic cattle breeding farms were established throughout the country to provide bulls for production of semen to support this scheme. Simultaneously, bilaterally aided projects were initiated to produce purebred exotic bulls of Holstein-Friesian, Brown Swiss and Jersey for crossbreeding in these project areas. Besides, distributing some of these exotic breeds to the state governments, the Government of India also established farms (HF& Jersey) for multiplying the exotic breeds.

The Indian Council of Agricultural research (ICAR) sanctioned a large crossbreeding experiment in 1955 for hilly and heavy rainfall areas for determining the optimum proportion of exotic inheritance in crossbreds, which could sustain productivity after inter-breeding under village conditions. The exotic breed used was Jersey. The project was implemented in 9 locations in the country. A number of genotype viz. ¼, ½ , ¾, and 7/8 Jersey were produced. The ¼ grades were produced by crossing local cows to ½ jersey bulls. Similarly, 5/8 was produced in the project. Genotypes with more than 50% exotic inheritance were difficult to maintain due to high mortalities. A number of bilateral aided projects were initiated during sixties and seventies in the country.

Indo-Swiss project was initiated in Kerala and Punjab using Brown-Swiss bulls on local cows. The Brown Swiss breed was selected because of its sturdiness, large size, high milk yield and better adaptability. Indo-Danishproject was stated in Karnataka in 1964. Red Dane was used on Red Sindhi cows to produce crossbreds. An exotic farm of Red Dane cattle was established at Bangalore to meet the bull requirement. Subsequently, Red Dane was also crossed with the local cattle. The project has made a great impact in the production of cross bred females in and around Bangalore. This was possible through a careful system of milk recording of crossbred cows. Crossbreeding with German Mountain Spotted bulls (German Flekvich) was taken up in Himachal Pradesh with the assistance of the German Government. The major impact of this project was the establishment of performance recording of crossbreds under field conditions. Crossbreeding of indigenous cows in India, with European dairy bulls was taken as a measure to increase milk production. The suitability of exotic breeds and levels of exotic inheritance in crossbreds was assessed under different regions for the formulation of breeding programs and development of new breeds by using crossbreds as foundation stock. The following crossbred strains have been developed in India:

• Frieswal (HF X Sahiwal)
• Sunandini (Brown Swiss X Local)
• Karan Fries (HF X Tharparkar)
• Karan Swiss (Brown Swiss X Sahiwal X Red Sindhi)
• Vrindavani (HF / BS/ Jersey X Hariana)

In late sixties, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) drew up the project Operation Flood to improve production in villages of India with funds mobilized from foreign food donations. Setting up milk producers cooperative societies was the central plank of the project linked with dairy development and marketing. Operation Flood Programme has led to significant increase in milk production, modernization of the handling, processing and marketing systems, and supply of hygienic milk to consumers in cities and towns. In milk production and marketing 9.4 million families have joined hands, forming more than 73,300 milk producers’ cooperative societies. Cooperatives are supplying cattle feed and reproduction and veterinary care required for milk production besides collecting milk and its marketing. Under the Operation Flood, 11,000 AI centres were established. Infrastructure was created in different states in the form of bull mother farms, frozen semen stations and AI outlets to meet the requirement of semen and its delivery.

Government of India initiated a major programme ‘National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding’ (NPCBB) during October 2000 for genetic improvement in bovines. The NPCBB envisages genetic up-gradation on priority basis with a focus on development and conservation of important indigenous breeds. The project envisages 100% grant-in-aid to Implementing Agencies. The objectives of the scheme are: (i) To arrange delivery of vastly improved artificial insemination (AI) service at the farmers’ doorstep; (ii) Bring all breedable females among cattle and buffalo under organized breeding through artificial insemination or natural service by high quality bulls within a period of 10 years; (iii) Undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous cattle and buffaloes so as to improve the genetic makeup as well as their availability.

Since inception of the project, 28 States and one UT have participated in the project. Semen production increased from 22 to 63 million doses & number of AI increased from 21.80 to 52 million (21 million animals under AI coverage). Semen production has increased from 50.5 million to 62 million, AI number from 50 million to 52 million and conception rate increased from 20% to 35%. Frozen semen bull stations (49) have been strengthened as per Minimum Standard Protocol (MSP) for semen production. Under the scheme, LN2 storage, transport and distribution system has been strengthened and streamlined through establishment of semen banks and silos at strategic locations and providing vehicles for distribution of LN2 up to AI centres.

National initiatives undertaken like NPCBB has focus on development and conservation of indigenous cattle breeds like Rathi, Gir, Kankrej, Tharparkar, Sahiwal, Deoni, Hallikar, Khillar Hariana etc. In addition to this, strengthening of field AI network, semen stations, establishment of private AI facilities and organization of fertility camps etc. were taken up. National Dairy Plan (NDP) has been launched recently with objectives to increase productivity of milch animals and thereby increased milk production to meet the rapidly growing demand for milk and provide rural milk producers with greater access to the organized milk processing sectors.

Project Directorate on Cattle: Present status and future scope
The Project Directorate on Cattle (PDC) was established as a nodal institution to monitor, coordinate and support all research and development projects for cattle improvement on 3rd November 1987 at Military Farms School & Research Centre, Meerut, by upgrading the status of All-India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP)on Cattle. The institute was conceived to take advantage of the achievements made in the AICRP and other crossbreeding experiments at organized farms and under field conditions for evolution of a national milch breed (Frieswal Project) from a reasonably large crossbred base (Sahiwal x Holstein-Friesian), which was a limiting factor under AICRP on Cattle. Subsequently, keeping in view the importance of indigenous breeds, known for their adaptability and disease resistance qualities, Indigenous Breeds Project (IBP) was undertaken in collaboration with the SAUs, State Govt. and Non Government Organizations. Similarly, Field Progeny Testing (FPT) project was undertaken to bring about improvement in crossbred cattle at farmers’ herd. The aim of this project is to progeny test Frieswal and other Holstein – Friesian crossbred bulls under field conditions at 4 different agro-climatic locations in India, viz. Ludhiana (GADVASU), Mannuthy (KAU), Uruli-kanchan (BAIF) and Pantnagar (GBPUAT).

So far a total of 90 Frieswal bulls have been evaluated for their genetic merit based on 1st lactation 300 days milk yield of their daughters and the top ten bulls had breeding values between 2970 and 3092 kg with their superiority over the herd average (2824 kg) from +146 to +268 kg. The herd strength of Frieswal females also increased from 2305 in 1989 to 16714 in 2011-12. The number of elite cows also increased to 1021 compared to only 685 in 2005. The age at first calving has reduced from 1120 days in 1995 to 969 days in 2011-12. Estimates of heritability for AFC (0.054±0.011), TMY (0.055±0.019), MY300 (0.053±0.010) and PY (0.056±0.011) was low. SP, DP and CI were also low heritable (0.014±0.005, 0.006±0.004 and 0.013±0.005). All the traits, in general, had low standard errors of their estimates. Estimation of milk composition of Frieswal cattle showed that the overall Fat, Protein, Lactose and SNF percentages were 4.11, 3.04, 4.56 and 8.44, respectively. Besides these long term programmes, Directorate is also working on the problem of high rejection/ wastage of crossbred bulls due to poor quality semen production. The problem is being investigated to find out the molecular basis of high wastage as well as possibilities to utilize these poor quality semen producer bulls as surrogate bulls for the transplanted sperm producing stem cells from good quality semen producer bulls. The Semen Freezing Laboratory of the Directorate is well equipped with latest gadgets and has ISO 9001:2008 certification. There had been an increase in production of frozen semen doses from 6.68 Lakh (up to 2005) to 4.19Lakh in 2012-13. Spermiogram in relation to season and age, seminal attributes and inheritance of seminal quality and sperm abnormality in Frieswal bulls has been established.

Nutritional studies for optimizing the feeding efficiency of Frieswal bull calves revealed higher growth on the diet formulated based on rumen undegradable protein (RUP) requirements. The micro-mineral profile in the fodders collected from Meerut district showed that berseem had higher iron content as compared to other fodders. The lowest iron contents were found in maize fodder (289.25 ug/g feed). Similarly the copper contents were also maximum in berseem (10.64 ug/g) as compared to other fodders. Maize and berseem were found to contain higher amount of zinc as compared to other fodders. Winter fodder crops like berseem and oat contained higher amount of Mn as compared to other fodders.

Estimation of MUN contents of Frieswal cows showed that the values ranged between 23.96 – 35.01 mg MUN/dl. The highest MUN value were observed during summer season (32.36 ± 0.23 mg/dl) followed by those in winter season (29.98 ± 0.21 mg/dl). The lowest MUN values were observed during post monsoon period (24.67 ± 0.29 mg/dl). The MUN values are on higher side as compared to reported values in the literature.

Oral feeding of combined preparation of Estrogen and progesterone along with Agrimin forte@40 g/day for 10 days emerged as most economic and convenient method to overcome the problem of anoestrus in Frieswal heifers. The Directorate also has a well-equipped Molecular Genetics laboratory.

The programme for genetic improvement of indigenous breeds of cattle has been executed in Ongole, Gir, Kankrej and Sahiwal breeds of cattle and 32 Ongole bulls have been evaluated for their genetic merit based on 1st lactation milk yield of their daughters. Draft studies of Ongole bulls using single harness plough with digital dynamometer revealed that draught power varied from 0.52 to 0.63 H.P. among the bulls.

For testing the genetic worth of various grades of crossbred cattle in field condition bulls have been tested in various agro-climatic region of the country. The milk yield showed increasing trend among the progenies of different sets.

To meet the growing demand of milk, India has opted for the high external input production systems using exotic breeds, rather than on establishing long-term genetic improvement schemes for local breeds. The use of exotic breeds is justified under proper management conditions with high input production systems, especially near urban areas, where there is growing demand for animal products, and where input supply and services can be sustained. However, in rural areas (where resource-poor small and marginal farmers and landless labourers maintain 71% of cattle), cattle keepers often face difficulties in securing the additional feed and other inputs that exotic breeds/ crossbreds require. Moreover, imported breeds have often not reproduced as per their potential and could not adapt to the local environment. On the contrary, the existing indigenous cattle breeds have been evolved over the centuries through natural selection for adoption to harsh climatic conditions and resistant to common tropical diseases. They can also survive on poor quality residual grasses and scanty drinking water. Therefore, increased attention should be given to the sustainable use and development of local breeds in low and medium external input production systems.
Livestock sector contributes to 29.7% of Agriculture GDP and about 67% of it comes from milk, which amounts to Rs. 2,62,214 crores.  In spite of India’s position as highest producer of milk (121.8 MMT in 2010-11, DAHD&F, GOI, Annual Report 2011-12), productivity per animal is very poor.  The indigenous cattle (83.4% population) contributed 22.5 million tons (47% of cow milk), while crossbreds (only 16.6%) contribute 25.3 million tons (53%) of cow milk. The average per day milk production of indigenous cattle (2.14 kg), however, if the average of recognized milch breeds is considered than average will be much higher, but would still be lower than that of crossbred cattle (6.87 kg; DAHD&F, GOI,2008).

With the advent of modern biotechnical tools such as artificial insemination, estrus synchronization, multiple ovulation embryo transfer, IVF using ovum pick up, etc. it has now become quite easy to enhance genetic potential of non-descript cattle at a rapid rate. However, the question of how the introduction of genetic potential adapted in high input system would sustain and perform in low-input production system has not been considered adequately in context of bringing about rapid changes in genetic potential of zebu cows through cross breeding by exotic dairy bulls under tropical climatic conditions. Moreover, the feed and fodder resources of the country is inadequate and scarce. According to an estimate (Ministry of Environment and Forest,1993) the country is deficit by 31% dry fodder, 23% green fodder and 47% concentrate (Kurup 2000). With gradual urbanization, deforestation, competition of land for agricultural crop production, soil degradation, shrinkage of pasture,  the availability of feed & fodder resources would likely to be less in time ahead and deficiency would further be accented with climate change and unpredictable environmental hazards/disastrous. Therefore, the important area to be explored by the Directorate are centred around the followings key issues.
    • Performance appraisal and updating of data repository of important cattle breeds.
    • Genetic improvement and conservation of important indigenous dairy cattle breeds.
    • Up-gradation of nondescript cattle using meritorious bulls of Indian dairy breeds.
    • Selection of genetically superior indigenous and crossbred bulls for large scale production of male germplasm.
    • Economic indexing of profitable cattle production system under various agro-climatic conditions.
    • Strategic feeding by nutrient balancing and use of conventional and alternate feed resources. Development of suitable feeding practices for enhanced cattle productivity.
    • Studies on thermo adaptability vis-a-vis performance evaluation of crossbred animals in tropical climate to assess their suitability in harsh tropical climate due to global warming.
    • Multiplication of elite animals using modern reproductive techniques such as MOET and cloning.
    • Identification of genetic markers for important economic traits and their incorporation in selection programmes.
    • Improvisation of shelter design and other management packages for better productivity.
    • Development of infrastructure (Animal Farm, updated laboratories, manpower etc.) facilities for execution of record programmes for cattle improvement.
   Operating Environment_________________________________
For genetic improvement of cattle and enhancement of milk production, Project Directorate on Cattle is presently working on following themes:

(a) Development of national milch breed of cattle - Studies on genetic aspects of Holstein x Sahiwal crossbreds- "Frieswal". The aim of this project is to develop a “Frieswal cattle” which produces 4000 litres of milk with 4% butter fat in a mature lactation of 300 days.  This project is being carried out in collaboration with Indian Army where Frieswal cattle are maintained at 37 Military Dairy Farms located in different agro-climatic zones of the country.

(b) Genetic improvement of indigenous cattle breeds - Genetic studies on performance of important indigenous breeds (Hariana and Ongole) of cattle and their improvement through selection – "Indigenous Breeds Project". This would improve their self sustenance and conservation in the long run. Presently the programme covers four indigenous breeds, viz. Ongole, Gir, Kankrej and Sahiwal. The programme is being executed on elite herds with State Agricultural Universities and ICAR Institutes along with associated herds kept by Government and Non-Government organizations. (c) Field Progeny Testing Project - The crossbred populations in some pockets of Uttar Pradesh, Maharasthra, Punjab and Kerala are being genetically improved by inseminating with semen of elite HF crossbred bull semen. This project is also being used for evaluating the breeding value of sires in the field conditions. Operating Environment
      The Directorate has trained scientific and technical manpower, and laboratories are equipped with advanced scientific gadgets and instruments. In addition, it is providing consultancy to the local farmers as and when they visit the Directorate with problems related to cattle breeding, feeding, management and reproduction. Besides this, the Institute is functioning as a nodal institution to monitor, coordinate and support research projects for cattle improvement. Presently, the Directorate’s campus is functioning on lush green 30 acres of land in the Meerut Cantt. area and houses the office buildings, laboratories and a Bull Rearing Unit. The Directorate has linkages with State Agricultural Universities, State AH Departments and NGOs for execution of cattle breeding, research and development programmes. Extension linkages have been developed through co-ordination of AICRP projects involving farmers’ herds maintaining both indigenous and crossbred cattle.

The demand of the milk and milk products will keep on rising with increasing development and purchasing power of the country. The consumers shall be more literate and health conscious and will demand milk and milk products of better quality as per their need. The demand for low fat milk with better fatty acid composition may come in the future. The urban population will demand more milk products in one form or the other. This will further enhance the demand of raw milk. Over the years, some part of the consumer shall be ready to pay the higher price of milk and milk products suiting to their specific needs.   With the increasing grain production in the country, the availability of dry fodders and crop residues is likely to increase in future but fodder production and concentrate availability face a different time. The land availability for production of fodder crops may further go down. So there is an urgent need to make use of all sorts of agriculture and industrial by products in the feeding of cattle in such a way that the incriminating factors are reduced or ameliorated and productivity is maintained.

The need for higher quality and quantity milk and milk products by 2050 shall further pave the way for the development of dairy industry in the country. India has enough scope to increase the milk production by adopting various technologies. The large cattle population in the country may be genetically improved through modern scientific tools i.e. Open Nucleus Breeding System, Associated Herd Testing Scheme and Embryo Transfer Technology etc. Establishment and use of molecular markers may further help in improving the cattle productivity. Production of feed and fodder can be increased by accelerated fodder development programmes, emphasis on dual purpose crops, initiation of fodder mission by developmental agencies, establishment of perennial pastures in degraded and wasteland, identification and utilization of agro-industrial by products and crop residues, ration balancing by strategic nutrient supplementation etc. Use of latest methodologies for improvement of low-grade roughages and rumen manipulation may also add to the cattle productivity. Development of comfortable dairy animal housing system and adoption of improved management practices would further enhance the cattle productivity. The production and use of quality bulls and germplasm and utilization of semen sexing technology will bring genetic improvement in the field at a faster rate. However, the following threats may be encountered during the execution of the research and development programs for improving the productivity of crossbred and indigenous cattle:
  • Genetic dilution of native breeds and their extinction due to unorganized breeding.
  • Competition for mechanized farming including transport.
  • Prevalence of various native and exotic diseases.
  • Ineffective extension programs.
  • Global warming and environmental stress.
  • Poor rapport among scientific, development and farming community
Future programmes
  • Bull production and their evaluation on large scale so that a national seed bank for cattle germplasm can be established at PDC, Meerut.
  • Up-gradation of nondescript and low producing cattle with defined indigenous breeds in resource efficient areas.
  • Development of improved cattle management practices including designing of shelter to suit the local environmental conditions and available resources.
  • Studies on adaptability of crossbred cattle in various agro-climatic conditions including under the threat of biotic and abiotic stress.
  • Development of Models for evaluating the draught animal power of important indigenous cattle breeds.
  • Validation of ITKs on indigenous cattle products and byproducts, their utilization including therapeutics.
  • Studies to evaluate and quantification of unique qualities of Indian cattle breeds viz. adaption to tropical climate, resistance to diseases, better feed conversion efficiency etc.
  • Genomic selection for improvement of production, reproduction and growth traits in crossbred and indigenous cattle.
  • Production and supply of sexed semen
  • Studies on nutritional requirements of breeding bulls, nutrition efficiency, growth and use of non-conventional feed resources
  • Improvement of fertility by nutritional, hormonal and managemental interventions.
  • Economic indexing of Indian cattle breeds vis-a-vis crossbred cattle.
  • Socio-economic status, popularization of improved cattle management practices through extension activities and development of information repository on various aspects of cattle production.
HRD and capacity building in the newer area of cattle production.

   Goals and Targets____________________________________
The long term goals of the Directorate are development of a national milch breed of cattle, ‘Frieswal’, genetic improvement of indigenous and crossbred cattle under field conditions through progeny testing programmes development of new mechanism of nutritional, physiological, biotechnological interventions for better cattle production and profitability. Besides, the Directorate will take up lead on frontier areas  to enhance the production and reproduction of cattle through cutting edge research techniques viz. sperm sexing, stem cell research, allele mining, genetic engineering, manipulation rumen micro flora etc. The Directorate also aspires to validate various indigenous technical know-how related to cattle production and devise a  mechanism to transfer modern and conventional technologies to the end users including livestock farmers.
The following framework would be adopted to accomplish the vision and goals of the Project Directorate on Cattle. Synthesis and genetic improvement of crossbred Cattle
  • Production and rearing of young male calves
  • Germplasm production and induction of bulls for performance testing
  • Production of daughters for performance evaluation
  • Recording of production and reproduction parameters
  • Computerization of records, analysis of data and ranking of bulls
  • Nominated mating with ranked bull
Improvement of Indigenous breeds for milk and draft capacity
  • Selection of potential bull calves as future sire
  • Production of frozen semen and induction of bulls for sire evaluation
  • Production of daughters for performance evaluation
  • Recording of production, reproduction and  draft parameters
  • Undertaking of draft studies on male calves
  • Computerization of records, analysis of data and ranking of bulls
  • Nominated mating with ranked bull for production of young sire
  • Establishment of elite herd of indigenous cattle.
Up-gradation of non-descript and low producing cattle with defined indigenous breeds in resource efficient areas.
  • Identification of areas of higher population density of nondescript and low producing cattle
  • Breeding by the semen of meritorious bulls of defined breeds of that area for 6-7 generations
  • Data recording and evaluation of production and reproduction performance
Performance recording and standardization of methodology for evaluation of sires in the field
  • Production and rearing of breeding bulls
  • Collection and freezing of semen and its distribution to different field units
  • Identification and registration of farmers’ animals
  • Artificial insemination at  farmers’ door
  • Production of daughters and their registration
  • Test recording of daughters’ first lactation milk yield and fat %
  • Performance recording, computerization, data analysis and ranking of bulls
  • Insemination of elite cows with ranked semen for production of male calves
Identification of suitable molecular markers for production/ reproduction/ growth/ disease resistance traits for incorporation in selection program
  • Exploration of genetic variants in targeted genes for production, reproduction and adaptability traits of crossbred and indigenous cattle
  • Association of genetic polymorphisms with breeding values of production traits and estimation of average effect of allele substitution
Quality germplasm production and fertility augmentation through modern reproductive techniques
  • Production and maintenance of meritorious crossbred/indigenous bulls.
  • Improvement of female fertility through nutritional and management interventions and efficient detection/synchronization of estrus
  • In-vitro production, cryopreservation and transfer of embryos of known genetic merit
  • Advanced andrological and endocrinological studies on crossbred and indigenous cattle
  • Production of sexed semen
  • Standardization of protocol for semen sexing
  • Validation of sorting efficiency
  • Utilization of sexed semen to produce calves of desired sex
Feeding and management practices for enhancing cattle productivity
  • Estimation of comparative feed utilization efficiency in different breeds of cattle
  • Role of nutrition affecting the expression of production linked genes in different breeds of cattle (nutrogenomics).
  • Improvement of milk quality (viz. fatty acid & amino acid composition etc) through nutritional intervention.
  • Quantitative and qualitative improvement of feed resources used for cattle feeding
  • Increased efficiency of utilization of agricultural by-products from crops and oilseeds etc.
  • Development of eco and animal friendly feeding methodologies and safety assessment of feeds.
  • Development of suitable shelter designs and management practices for rearing of crossbred and indigenous cattle
  • Economic Analysis of cattle production system
  • Socio-economic survey and analysis
  •  Economic indexing of cattle production system
Transfer of technology and capacity building
  • Supply of genetically elite germplasm to livestock farmers
  • Demonstration of improved package of practices in villages
  • Organization of training programs for farmers/inseminators
  • Development of linkages with the sister organizations and national/international agencies
Human resource development in the frontier areas of cattle production

   Way Forward_____________________________________
Improvement in AI services and health care need much attention to support the present production system. The country has 48 semen stations, 3300 bulls, producing 62 million frozen semen doses and covering 21 million breedable female bovine populations through AI. Breeding policies are executed and supported by State AH Deptt. But today no single agency is responsible for the production of progeny tested bulls. To achieve national target of 50% AI coverage by 2021-22, we require high number of meritorious exotic, crossbred and indigenous bulls. The quality semen production must be enhanced to 140 million doses to meet the projected demand by 2021-22 (Patel 2008). At present, nearly 60 % of crossbred bull calves born from nominated mating (Potential sire x high yielding dams) are rejected from germplasm production stations due to poor semen quality and freezability. Problems of inferior semen quality produced by crossbred bulls have to be addressed properly at this juncture. Inadequacy in supply of good quality bulls should be accelerated through MOET, ovum pick up and IVF.  Use of sexed semen is one of the most promising ventures for customized production of progenies according to breeders’ choice and requirement. At least at institutional level semen sexing experiments must be undertaken.

Besides policy on culling of unproductive crossbred cows, scrub bulls/bull calves and effective use of cattle product/by product other than milk (dung, urine, draft etc) has to be formulated to make the system economically viable.

For indigenous cattle population, identification of genetically superior individuals within a breed is necessary for further multiplication. Similarly, within crossbred population a cluster of high yielding thermo-tolerant, disease resistant and adaptive to tropical input system animals also exist. Such population, which can be identified using molecular and other biological markers, should be targeted as future crossbreds.
Normal sex ratio (50: 50) can be manipulated through production of sexed semen. Females are used for milk production, whereas, males are used mainly for traction forces in agriculture. However, with advancement of farm mechanization, the utility of bullocks for carting purpose and agricultural operations is being gradually reduced. Alteration of sex ratio through use of sexed semen will benefit the production of desired males, propagation of elite females and reduction of undesired male calf production. Sexed semen production technology is gaining popularity in developed countries, however, sincere efforts are yet to be made in India.

In the past 25 years, research efforts of PDC were mostly confined to the development of a crossbred strain “ Frieswal”  in association with Military Farms, progeny testing and selection of crossbred cattle under farmers conditions and improvement of only Ongole Hariana and Sahiwal breeds of Indigenous cattle. Current research efforts for improvement do not cover all the important indigenous breeds of cattle. The present coordination system of research on different aspects of cattle improvement is also not strong enough to provide direction and coordination. None of the institute of the ICAR except PDC, has major mandate to undertake research on all aspects of improvement of cattle. For example, the major mandate of NDRI is on the processing aspects of milk to meet the technology needs of the organized dairy industry and that of the IVRI is to undertake research on animal health, disease diagnosis, vaccine production and immunodiagnostics for important livestock and poultry diseases.    

Cattle improvement programmes can never express their full potentials if the cattle feeding aspects are not properly addressed. There is vast scope of utilizing existing information on animal nutrition for development of area specific cost effective feeding practice, establishment of community grazing lands, area specific micro and macro nutrient fortified   feed supplements, utilization of non-conventional feed resources etc.  Research may be focused on increasing efficiency of low grade roughage utilization through genetic and non-genetic tools, minimization of methane and green house gases production and development of efficient by pass diets for high producing animals. Climatic stress mitigation through proper housing of animals, especially crossbreds is also essential to minimize stress on the animals, which in turn will help in improving productivity of cattle. The most important economic livestock species i.e. Cattle, which contribute the maximum as compared to other species to food, work and rural economics has not been given due emphasis in research and development.

These activities, however, are not possible under present mandate of PDC. It is therefore, proposed that the PDC should be upgraded to Central Cattle Research Institute by creating additional infrastructural and manpower facilities with expended mandate so that it can take up research and development programmes for overall development of cattle at national level . PDC would like to have the following programmes in future. Action points for achieving Goals & Targets
  1. Development of  ‘Frieswal’ and other crossbred cattle
Approach: Production of young calves, Collection and freezing of semen, Induction of sets for progeny testing, recording of production and reproduction parameters, computerization of records, analysis of data and ranking of bulls, use of ranked semen on elite cows and birth of improved progeny.
Out put : Stabilized targeted production and reproduction traits.
  1. Genetic improvement of indigenous and crossbred cattle
Approach: Selection of potential bull calves of indigenous and crossbred cattle, frozen semen production and induction of bulls in sets, production of daughters and recording of their performance at farm and field, computerization of records, analysis of data, ranking of bulls, nominated mating with ranked bull for production of young sire, establishment of elite herds of indigenous cattle and undertaking draft studies on indigenous bullocks, upgradation of nondescript cattle using meritorious dairy breeds, identification and use of suitable molecular markers associated with production and reproduction.
Output: Improved performance traits, conservation of threatened Indian cattle breeds and availability of genetically elite Cattle to farmers.
  1. Germplasm production and fertility augmentation
Approach: Production and maintenance of meritorious crossbred/indigenous bulls, cryopreservation and quality improvement of germplasm, hormonal studies on crossbred and indigenous cattle, production of sexed semen, enhancement in efficiency of estrus detection and timed AI, In-vitro production and transfer of embryo.
Output: Availability of semen and embryos of predetermined sex, improvement in reproductive efficiency.
  1. Enhanced production potential and utilization  through nutritional interventions and scientific management
Approach: Increasing efficiency of nutrient utilization in different cattle breeds, identification of upgraded and down graded genes responsible for higher growth rate and feed efficiency in crossbred and important milch breeds of Indian cattle and to exploit this information for better production, increasing milk quality through nutritional manipulation for better human health,  improvement of cattle productivity by appropriate prenatal nutrition and life time feed management strategies, designing and modification of shelters for stress management.
Output: Higher production at optimum inputs through feed and comfortable shelter, genetically superior cattle in terms of nutrient utilization efficiency, superior quality milk for human health, better cattle health and low incidences of diseases.
  1. Economic Analysis of cattle production system, Transfer of technology and capacity building
Approach: Socio-economic survey and analysis, economic indexing of cattle production system, Organization of training programs for farmers/inseminators, deputation of scientific and technical manpower for training in the frontier areas, development of linkages with other organizations, demonstration of improved package of practices in villages, supply of genetically elite germplasm to livestock farmers.
Output : Capacity building among scientist and other staff,  better production through adoption of new technologies.
1. DBT sponsored Training (STTC) on Molecular Tools and Bioinformatics Approaches for Livestock Genome Analysis will be Rescheduled soon.

2. हिंदी कार्यशाला का आयोजन २५.०१.२०१४ को पी0 डी0 सी0 में किया गया।

3. Annual Review Meet of AICRP on Cattle held on 14-15 December 2013 at SDAU Sardarkrushinagar.

4. PDC celebrated 27th Annual Day on 11.11.2013

5. Kamdhenu PDC Newsletter Vol.2 No.2 published
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