Shramajeevi Wiki
  The Agricultural Information Archive


Indian Cow Breeds

By DR. Venkatramana Hegde, Hosagadde. Director, Shramajeevi Television Pvt. Ltd. Bengaluru

Introduction

Gaavo Rakshanti Rakshita: Cow saves one who saves it. This is the popular slogan by Shri Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji of Shri Ramachandrapura Matha, Hosanagara, Karnataka state of India. After the disappearance of many Indian cow breeds even the common people felt its importance. Organic farming has come to the main stream again. Without the help of cattle organic farming is almost impossible. Hence the efforts have started to increase the cow population. But now it is not so easy due to drastic change in the socio-economic conditions of rural India. Even then many social organizations, Mathas and few government institutes started working in this direction. We discuss the reasons for the situation, specialties of Indian cow breeds etc. in detail. Finally, I introduce and explain all available breeds of cows of India in this article.

Domestication of cow had started with human civilization itself. Animal husbandry and agriculture depend on each other. This combination is the nature of rural life in India. Keeping cattle is necessary for milk, dung and urine, biogas and also for ploughing and transportation. Knowing all these our ancestors worshipped the cow, conserved it and developed cattle based farming system. But in recent decades increase in the number of slaughter houses, chemical and mechanised farming, commercial dairying and more importantly drastic change in rural life style lead to the depletion of cow population. Now many of the cow breeds are on the verge of extinction. 1 or 2 cross breed cows occupied the place of 10-20 indigenous cows. Now we find Indian breeds mostly in tribal areas.

Depletion of cattle population

Green and white revolutions were initiated to overcome the food shortage of the country in 60s. Chemical fertilizers have replaced cow dung manure. Tractors and tillers were introduced for ploughing and transportation. This has reduced the dependence on the animals. Exotic cross breed cows have become popular for high milk yield. Knowingly or unknowingly Indian cows with less milk reached the doors of slaughter houses. 10-20 indigenous cows were replaced by one or two HF or Jersey cows. Big traditional cattle shed reduced to a single room. Animal husbandry is a difficult and time consuming job for a divided small farm family. Many of them are ready to sell off the cows if ready milk is available in the vicinity. As a result, many farm families buy milk from nearby dairy or from other farmers.

Now the chemical farming has polluted the soil, water, air and even our food. Farming is not a profitable job due to ever rising cost of production. Hence a major portion of our farmers is reverting back to organic farming. Again animal husbandry is compulsory for organic farming. But increasing the cattle population is not that easy now. There is no space left for grazing. We do not have workers to care these animals. There is an acute shortage of farm labourers and fodder. As a result, Indian agriculture has become a bundle of confusions. However, for the continuation of farming increasing cattle population is inevitable.

Commercial dairying is a popular enterprise now. Most of the farmers believe that HF and Jersey cross bread cows are the only options for high milk yield. They feel Indian cows are inferior. In fact, we have world popular milk breeds like Sindhi, Gir, Sahiwal, Rathi, Gangatiri etc. Indigenous cows eat less and produce better quality milk. But due to extensive cross breeding it is very difficult to find pure Indian breeds now. Farmers are facing lot of difficulties in the health and general maintenance of exotic cross bread cows. Again our dairy farmers are also in confusion. The other benefits like cow dung, urine, ploughing, transportation etc. have equal importance as that of milk products when animal husbandry is a part of agriculture. Hence indigenous breeds suit better for this multipurpose. Cost of maintenance is also less.

Scientific comparison between exotic and Indian cow breeds

Let us study exotic and indigenous cow breeds from scientific and analytical angle. Even though there are many exotic cattle breeds in India, HF and Jersey are very common. Taxonomically they belong to Bos taurus group. They are docile in nature and trouble for feeding and milking is very less. These breeds have developed in cold temperate conditions. Sweat glands are small and less in number. Hence it cannot tolerate high temperature of our tropical climate. Due to its big body and mild nature it soils the body with dung and urine if the flooring is not good. Hoof is soft and the gap between the hooves is wide. It results in slow walking and hoof decay. It cannot wander safely in hilly tracts and cannot run on rocky surface. These animals are best suited for stall feeding only. Mastitis and hoof decay are common if the floor of the shed is not hygienic.

The Y chromosome in this Bos taurus is damaged during the process of evolution. This is the reason for decrease in milk yield potential and increased infertility with further generations of cross breeding. More quantity of balanced concentrated feed is necessary for the body maintenance itself. There is less chance of total recovery if it suffers once bodily. It may lead to infertility. Teat end pores are big and hence milking is easy. But this is reason for more chance of mastitis. Entry to the uterus inside the body remains open always increasing the chance of infection. The milk has more amount of bad cholesterol. Vitamin A is less. Since this is A1 type of milk it is said to be harmful in long run for human health. Ayurvedic experts opine that the urine from cross bread cows does not have medicinal value. The dung from stall fed cross bread cows has more count of pathogens than beneficial microorganisms. Cross breed bulls are lazy in nature and are not suitable for hard work. They are almost useless. But we Indians cannot imagine sending them to slaughter house.

Let us study the specialties of Indian cow breeds now. Taxonomically they belong to Bos indicus group. Majority of the breeds produce very less milk. Most of them are specially developed for hard work on the farm from centuries. Hardly 4 -5 breeds produce good amount of milk. If we blame other draught breeds for less milk it is our fault. In olden days milk was not a sellable product. It was not needed also. Each farmer used to have at least 10 -20 animals. Even very less milk from 5 -6 cows of the herd was sufficient for his family consumption. The amazing diversity of Indian cattle breed attracted other parts of the world from centuries. 98% of cattle population in Brazil is derived from Indian breeds like Ongole and Gir. They developed a best breed called Brahman by cross breeding them with Jibu breed. Britain has used the genes of an Indian breed Hallikar to develop resistance against foot and mouth disease.

Indian breeds are very active. The disease resistance and adjustability is excellent due to their nativity. Total surface area of the skin is more due to high hump, hanging dewlap and loose skin. Sweat glands are bigger in size and more in number. All these enable them to sweat more in hot condition and balance the body temperature. Sticky secretion from the skin, smooth skin and short hair avoid insect pests. Oily secretion from the skin in some breeds protects them from heavy rains. Producing localised vibration on the skin is possible to avoid insect bite due to special skin musculatures. It has long tail and special bone arrangement at the first tail bone. It supports total lifting of the tail and reaching to the entire body. Small and closely situated hard hooves is good for ploughing. Hoof decay is less and it can run on hard rocky surface. The bullocks can drag the cart even without putting hoof metal. Indian breeds are clever enough to sit on clean surface to maintain body cleanliness. Teat end pores remain tightly closed avoiding the chance of mastitis. Uterus opening inside the body remains closed which minimises infection. Overall health problems are less reducing the usage of costly chemical medicines. Even the local herbal medicines are effective. This brings down the cost of management and maintains the purity of milk.

In Indian breeds basic metabolic rate of the cells is low. Hence less and low quality food is sufficient for the maintenance of the body. Dry and wet grasses, tree herbage etc. are the common food for them. Even if it suffers from food shortage once it will recover very fast totally and conceives after getting sufficient fodder. High hump, hanging dewlap, invisible solar plexus are the specialties of Indian cow breeds. It is said that all these give special medicinal value for milk, curd, ghee and urine. Bad cholesterol content of the milk is less. This milk is very nearer to human milk in composition. Hence it is easily digestible. Vitamin A and iodine content is more. This being A2 type milk is good for human consumption. It is said that Panchagavya prepared out of milk, urine, dung, ghee and curd can clean our body system. According to Ayurvedic experts it can control few types of cancers, diabetes, ulcer, kidney diseases etc. Panchagavya is becoming popular in agriculture as nutrient and for controlling pest and diseases. Organic farming experts say that the dung from these grazing animals contains high count of nitrogen fixing bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms. Pathogens are very less.

Cost of maintenance of indigenous breed is less. Bulls work very hard. Mortality of calves is less. Male calf is an asset. Bullocks are most useful for ploughing and transportation due to their high hump, strong legs, fast walking and hardworking nature. It can work for long time without food and water. Now a good pair of Hallikar, Khillar or Amrit Mahal breed costs INR 2 to 3 lakh. Even the small breeds like Jawari or Malnad Gidda cost up to INR 1 lakh. Thus rearing male calves can bring good income for farmers. Number of calving is more compared to exotic breeds. Indian breed of any region can adjust the climatic condition of any other region. All these indicate that keeping indigenous breeds is the best option for our farming system. Biogas production from dung and urine is common now. Biogas slurry is better in available nutrients compared to the original dung. Vermi-compost production and sale can bring an additional profit for farmers.

Shri Ramachandrapura Matha, Karnataka under its Kamadugha project has established many Goushalas in many places. It is for the conservation and development of Indian cow breeds. Here many cow based medicinal and other products are being produced. Distilled extract of cow urine, bath scrubber, tooth powder, Dhoopa for cleaning air, eye drop, face cream powder etc. are few among them. The brand name is Gou Ganga. There are few products for pest and disease control in agriculture. Indigenous cows will get more prominence if these products succeed commercially.

Scientific facts about Indian cows

A1 and A2 Milk

Milk is grouped as A1 and A2. Most of the cows belonging to exotic Bos taurus group and their cross breeds produce A1 milk due to their damaged DNA. It has a chemical substance called Beta Caso Morphine 7 or BCM 7 which separates out during digestion of this milk. This leads to Autism and Diabetes 1 in children. In adults BCM 7 is associated with Alzheimer, cancer, diabetes, heart trouble etc. These are the findings of researches in New Zeeland. Indian and African cows belonging to Bos indicus group produce A2 milk. This milk without BCM7 is safe for human consumption.

 

Ghee: Ghee from indigenous cows has healthy cholesterol. Ayurvedic medicines for heart diseases are invariably made from cow ghee. This ghee helps for brain development, improving memory and IQ.

Macrophages

In another research Indian cow urine has increased the count of Macrophages in the blood to the extent of 104 %. In comparison Jersey urine effected for 8 to 12 %, buffalo urine for 20 to 28 % and goat urine 40 % increase. This indicates that Indian cow urine is helpful to develop disease resistance.

Bio-enhancer

Indian cow urine is a bio-enhancer which decreases the dosage of other drugs. It controls aging process. Cow urine purifies our body system and removes obstacles. It controls and destroys free radical cells. Repairs damaged DNA. Strengthens Lymphocytes which helps to fight cancer. Cow urine has antibiotic properties also. These are all the results of researches on Indian cow breeds in various institutes across India. Hence cow products are widely used in Indian systems of medicine.

Problems with Indian cow breeds

The story will be incomplete if we do not discuss the problem part of Indian cow breeds. The efficient milk breeds like Gir, Sindhi, Sahiwal, Rathi etc. are at the verge of extinction. Most of the other breeds produce very less milk. This is the main reason for their unpopularity. 1 or 2 litres of milk per day will not work out for any farmer now. Dairying is providing livelihood for millions of farm families in India. We cannot neglect this fact. Most of the dairy farmers have gone for HF and Jersey cows due to unavailability of good milking cows of Indian breed. Rathi breed research station at Bikaner, Rajasthan has developed Rathi cows with 14 to 16 litres of milk per day. We find Gir, Sindhi and Sahiwal cows with more than 15 litres of milk per day here and there. If these Indian breeds with high milk yield are made available our farmers will definitely accept them for dairying.

Many of the Indian breeds have aggressive nature. Threatening the man, fighting each other etc. are very common. Normally the cow will not let the milk down if the calf is not fed on the udder. Milking is difficult if the calf dies. Tying one leg is a common practice to escape kicking while milking. Indian breeds expect more freedom. They are not happy with stall feeding. Grazing them is a problem now due to shortage of grazing land and people to look after them. Few breeds have the habit of jumping the fence. There is practice of tying a wooden piece to the neck to check its speed of running and jumping the fence. However, the wood will not harm the animal in anyway. The sharp horns of these animals are the threats for us always. All these characteristics might have developed for their defence while grazing in the forest. Probably there is no solution for these genetically developed habits. These are the main reasons for unpopularity of Indian cow breeds.

Milk breeds of cows of India

It is said that there were more than 100 breeds earlier. But now the registry at Indian National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources has 37 described breeds. We find many more breeds across the country. But they fail to get registered due to non-availability of pure breed animals and lot of variation in their characteristics. Now we will study 27 registered and 3 unregistered breeds. We do not have the details of remaining 10 registered breeds.

Gir

Gir is one of the Indias ancient breeds. Gir forest region of Sourasthra of Gujarat is its origin place. This is in second place in milk yield after Sahiwal. It gives 12 to 15 litres of milk per day. Excellent disease resistance, cleverness, responding well to the affection shown by its owner etc. are its specialties. Broad convex forehead, red-speckled red colour, long pendulous ears etc. are its characteristics. Gir gives 6 to 10 calves in 12 to 15 years of its life span. Gir bulls are hard workers. This is a world popular breed exported on a large scale. A major portion of the cattle population in Brazil is derived from Gir breed.

 

 

Red Sindhi

Sindhi or Red Sindhi originates from Sindh region of Pakistan. It dominates that region even today. Sindhi is a world popular breed spread over 33 countries including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia and America etc. It adjusts to most of the climatic conditions and yields 12 to 15 litres of milk per day. Disease resistance and heat tolerance is excellent. It resembles Sahiwal in many of its characteristics. Sindhi is seen mostly in red colour and reddish brown sometimes. Popular world breeds like Swiss Brown, Danish Red, Australian Sindhi etc. are its cross breeds. But here in India Sindhi cows are limited mostly to Goushalas.

 

 

Sahiwal

Sahiwal breed originates from Sahiwal district of Pakistan. This ranks first in milk yield among Indian cow breeds with 15 to 20 litres per day. It entered Punjab and Uttaranchal states before spreading to other parts of the country. Sahiwal can withstand extreme temperature due to its special skin. Secretion from the skin repels the insect pests. Red-brown skin may have white spots. Disease resistance is good. It gives 10 to 12 calves in its life span. Sahiwal is seen on large scale in countries like New Guinea, Australia and Kenya etc. Australian cross bread version of Sindhi like Australian Jibu and Australian Sahiwal are the world popular breeds now. We find Sahiwal cows in Punjab. But pure breed is very rare.

 

 

Rathi

Another milk breed of India Rathi originates from west Rajasthan. It has very attractive skin of brown and white or black and white colour mixture. There are again two types like Rath and Rathi. Rath gives more milk and Rathi works hard. This breed had developed by the mixture of Sahiwal, Sindhi and Tharparkar. Milk yield is 6 to 8 litres a day. We find Rathi cows with 15 to 16 litres of milk in Rathi Breed Development Station at Bikaner of Rajasthan. Rathi bulls work continuously for 10 hours even in hot climate. It can walk in deserts comfortably with sizable luggage.

 

 

 

Gangatiri

Gangatiri cow had evolved on the banks of Ganga River in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. More specifically Varanasi of Allahabad district is its origin place. Gangatiri has developed from Haryana breed. Normal milk yield is 6 to 8 litres per day. However, we find cows with 10 to 15 litres a day here and there. Gangatiri breed is on the verge of extinction. It is being conserved at a Goushalas in Varanasi. This has not appeared in the national registry yet.

 

 

 

Dual breeds of cows of India

Tharparkar

The first one in the list is Tharparkar. Desert region of Rajasthan and Tharparkar of Sindh region are its home tracts. This had developed from Kankrej, Sindhi and Nagori breeds. Tharparkar is a sensitive animal and expects affection from its owner. Disease resistance is good. The bulls work very hard. Cows gives 10 litres of milk per day.

 

 

 

 

Kankrej

Kankrej breed originates from Kutch of Gujarat and Jodhpur region of Rajasthan. This is considered to be one of the most ancient breeds of India. The cows in the sculptures of Stone Age are believed to be of Kankrej cow. Attractive stout long horns give a typical shape to this breed. Kankrej cow can give 8 to 10 litres of milk per day. The bulls are the hard workers.

 

 

 

 

Deoni

Deoni cow originates from Bidar district of Karnataka and Marathawada region of Maharashtra. Deoni is developed from Gir and Dangi breeds around 500 years ago. Depending on the skin colour it is again grouped as Shavara, Balinkya and Vannara types. These are very sensitive cows. Milk yield is 8 to 10 litres per day. Deoni is used for cross breeding with HF on a large scale. Hence it is difficult to find pure breed now. These Deoni cows could get the sense of earthquake well in advance in 1993 in Lathur region of Maharashtra. This brought lot of publicity for this breed later.

 

 

 

Ongole

Ongole is the attractive breed from Ongole district of Andhra Pradesh. This is also called as Nellore breed in some parts of the state. Ongole animals are exported on a large scale to American countries. Basically it is a milk breed. But later it was trained for work on the farm. Hence it is a dual breed now. Strong muscular body and high hump are its specialties. Ongole cows give good amount of milk.

 

 

 

Lal Kandhari

Lal Kandhari or Red Kandhari originated from Nandedh district of Maharashtra state. It is named after a king of 4th century, Kandhar, who developed and popularised this breed. This medium sized animal is seen in dark brown or red colour. Broad forehead, black ring around the eyes, high hump in bulls etc. are its characteristics. Red Kandhari breed was about to disappear. It is being conserved and popularised now. This breed is in good number in North Karnataka also.

 

 

 

Gaolao

Gaolao breed comes from Vardha district of Maharashtra and southern parts of Madhya Pradesh. Looking to its speedy walk Maratha kings in 18th century have developed this breed. It was used to transport weapons to war field. Gaolao cows produce 5 to 6 litres of milk. This is being used more as a draught breed. Bulls have muscular body and work very hard.

 

 

 

Haryana or Haryani

Haryana or Haryani breed originates from Rohtak, Gurugram and Hisar districts of Haryana state. It is a dual purpose breed with medium to big body. Haryana breed has spread to many countries of the world due to its hardworking nature and adjustability to various climatic conditions. Attractive high hump gives a special look to the bull. It can work continuously on rocky field under hot sun. It can draw 1 ton of luggage at a speed of 25 kilometres per hour even at 42 centigrade temperatures. Haryana cows are docile in nature and produce 5 to 6 litres of milk per day. This breed is very popular in Pakistan.

 

 

Draught breeds of cows of India

Malnad Gidda

Malnad Gidda originates from Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Shivamogga districts of Karnataka. This is very small in size. Disease resistance is excellent. Malnad Gidda eats very less, but works hard as a draught breed. Milk is rich in nutrients. It is seen in red, brown, black, white and copper colours or mixture of these. It is second in population size after Hallikar breed in Karnataka. These tiny animals graze on the hilly tracts and forest for the whole day. It is said that the milk, urine and dung of Malnad Gidda have highest medicinal value in Indian systems of medicine. The products from Kapila or copper coloured Malnad Gidda cow is preferred in Ayurvedic preparations. Small stout body and short legs enable this to jump fence or wall of 6 feet. This breed expects more freedom and is famous for theft grazing. Milk yield is just 1 to 2 litres a day. Now this Malnad Gidda is being developed for more milk.

 

Kasaragod

Kasaragod breed had evolved in Kasaragod district of Kerala. This is seen in black, brown, ash, white and copper colours. This is purely a draught breed. Eats very less food. Disease resistance is excellent. Products of copper coloured Kasaragod cow are preferred in Ayurvedic medicines. Bulls work hard on the farm. Milk yield is less. But it is rich in minerals. The population of this breed is coming down very fast. This breed is not yet included in the national animal breed registry.

 

 

 

Vechur

Vechur breed originates from Vaikam village of Kottayam district of Kerala. This is again a draught breed. Disease resistance and adjustability to various climatic conditions is excellent. Needs very less food. Secretion from the skin keeps the insects away. Kerala Agricultural University has conserved this Vechur breed. Now there are hardly 100 pure breed animals. It is seen in light red, black, white and ash colours. Milk yield is less. But it is preferred for traditional medicines of Kerala.

 

 

 

Krishna Valley

Krishna or Krishna Valley breed comes from Banks of Krishna River in Maharashtra and Karnataka. This draught breed is developed from Gir, Ongole, Kankrej and Hallikar breeds. Krishna cows produce 4 to 5 litres of milk per day. Sweat glands are very dense on the skin. Hence it can work continuously under hot sun. Krishna bullocks can draw 2 tons of luggage. Hoof structure matches to hard rocky land. Krishna is also a breed exported on large scale to Brazil and other American countries. But in India population of this breed is decreasing very fast.

 

 

 

Hallikar

Hallikar is a popular draught breed originating from southern Karnataka region. It has the capacity to work without rest for the whole day. Hallikar stands first in Karnataka in population. South Karnataka alone has around 1.6 million animals. Many breeds of south India have originated from this breed. Male calf is given entire milk produced by its mother. However, the milk yield is just 1 or 2 litres. India post has brought out a special stamp of this Hallikar breed which affirms its importance.

 

 

 

Khillar

Khillar is another popular draught breed originating from Sholapur of Maharashtra and Vijayapura region of Karnataka. Professional breeders from Satpur region of Maharashtra rear male calves of Khillar on large scale. Khillar bulls are priced lakhs of rupees in the cattle markets of Maharashtra and north Karnataka. This being a very hard worker earns the investment for its owner. Keeping Khillar pair is a prestige issue for the farmers of this region. Karnataka government has opened a breed conservation centre at Bankapur for Khillar breed.

 

 

 

Amrit Mahal

Amrit Mahal is a famous draught breed originating from Hassan, Chikmagalur and Chitradurga districts of Karnataka. Mysore rulers have developed this between 1572 and 1636 and named it as Benne Chawadi. Later on Tippu Sultan renamed it as Amrit Mahal. These bulls with energetic body were used to transport weapons in the war fields. The records say that the bulls were not afraid of gunshot sound. Amrit Mahal bulls participated in 1st and 2nd world wars. This breed is very popular for hard work and obedience to its owner. Male calf is fed with entire milk produced. Demarcated grazing lands are seen at many places for these animals. Mysore Diwan Mr. Purnayya took this breed to Tamil Nadu.

 

 

Dangi

Dangi breed originates from Nasik and Ahmed nagar regions of Maharashtra. This is purely a draught breed. Oily secretion imparts shiny look to the skin and protects the animal from heavy rain. Royal look, wide hanging dewlap, high hump etc. are its specialties. Dangi bulls can work continuously even in hilly terrain.

 

 

 

 

Bargur

Attractive Bargur breed originates from Bargur hills of Erode district of Tamil Nadu. This is purely a draught breed. The bull has ferocious nature. One need to have lot of patience to train this for work. But it works very hard in hilly tracts. Speed of walking and luggage carrying capacity is excellent. This Bargur breed is very near to Nimari breed in its characteristics. A community called Lingai rear Bargur animals in a special method from centuries and use it on the farm.

 

 

 

Kangayam

Kangayam a breed with solid body. Erode, Dindigal and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu are its home tracts. This is purely a draught breed. Even then good Kangayam cows produce 4 to 5 litres of milk a day. This muscular bulls can draw maximum luggage. Hence they are used for transport of sugarcane.

 

 

 

 

Umblachery

Umblachery breed originates from Umblachery village of Tanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. This draught breed had developed from Kangayam breed. The bullock pair can draw two and half tons of luggage. It can work continuously for 7 hours under hot sun. This endangered breed is being conserved by a NGO of the locality.

 

 

 

 

Malvi

Malvi cow originates from Malva region of central India. Apart from Madhya Pradesh it is seen in Jalwar region of Rajasthan also. This medium sized strong breed is purely for draught purposes. It walks very fast. Hence it is used for bullock carts and also for ploughing in black soils. Few Malvi cows produce good amount of milk.

 

 

 

 

Kenkatha

Kenkatha breed originates on the banks of Kane River. Now it is seen in Lalitpur, Hamirpur and Banda districts of Uttar Pradesh and Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. This resembles Malvi breed. It is a pure draught breed. It can work continuously even with less food. Kenkatha breed is disappearing very fast. Haryana and Tharparkar animals are becoming popular in these areas resulting in unpopularity of Kenkatha breed.

 

 

 

Nagori

Nagori is a draught breed originating from Rajasthan. Shape of the body and the hump is very typical. Nagori cows are docile in nature. But the bulls are slightly rough. It is best suited for hot climate of the deserts. Due to its speedy walk it is widely used for carts with iron wheels.

 

 

 

 

Nimari

Nimari breed is native to Nimari region of Narmada river valley of Madhya Pradesh. This draught breed originates from Gir and Khillar breeds. Muscular and hardworking Nimari bulls are slightly rough in nature. Because of its utility Nimari is popular in Maharashtra and many more states of India.

 

 

 

 

Jawari

Jawari breed cows are seen mostly in North Karnataka in large numbers. Although it is a draught breed cows produce 3 to 4 litres of milk. These docile animals have good disease resistance. It is seen in black, red and ash colours or mixture of these colours. This is the favourite breed of small farmers. But due to lot of variations in characteristics it is not yet listed as a breed in the national breed registry.

 

 

 

Ponwar

Ponwar breed originates from Philibit district of Uttar Pradesh. It had developed from local white animals and Morang breed of adjacent Nepal. Ponwar is popular for its disease resistance, cleverness and naughty behaviour. Basically it is a draught breed. Cows yield half to 2 litres of milk a day. Ponwar animals mature late. A tribal community called Tharam is keeping this breed from centuries.

 

 

 

Kherigarh

Kherigarh breed is native to Kheri region of Lakimpur district of Uttar Pradesh. This is seen in hilly regions of Indo-Tibet border. Tribal people like this breed due to its hardworking capacity with less food. A pair of Kherigarh can draw 1 tons of luggage for 40 to 50 kilometres. Hence it is being used for transportation in the hilly tracts. Kherigarh bulls start working by 4th year of age itself. Cows produce 3 to 4 litres of milk.

Tell us now, is not India rich in cow breeds? Till now we have studied 30 cow breeds of India. There are 10 more registered breeds namely Bachaur, Mewati, Punganur, Siri, Motu, Ghumusari, Binjharpuri, Khariar, Pulikulam and Kosali breeds in India. But I dont have their details right now, sorry.

Why to conserve Indian breeds of cows?

Whatever may be the positive and negative aspects, Indian cow breeds are the interest of animal breeders and farmers of the whole world. We need to conserve this gift of nature of vast animal genetic resource. Commercial milk production led to the depletion of Indian cow breeds. Adding to that the confusions of the governments over ban on cow slaughtering is leading to the disappearance of even existing small population. A single deadly disease can destroy the commercial milk industry keeping one or two exotic cow breeds. Maintaining multiple breeds can prevent such a disaster. Many organizations and religious Mathas are putting efforts for the conservation of Indian cow breeds. Shri Ramachandrapura Matha, Hosanagara of Karnataka is leading this movement. It has a project called Kamadugha which runs scientific, systematic and extensive programs in this direction. Its intentions are conservation, development, research and conducting awareness programs across India on Indian cow breeds. Let us support their genuine efforts in all possible ways. Let us conserve these valuable Indian cows for our future generations. Namaskar.

Contact: Kamadugha Project, Shri Ramashrama, 2 A, JP Road, Girinagar 1st stage, Bengaluru 560 085, Karnataka, India. Tel: +91 80 26724979, +91 9449595208. Email: gou@hareraama.in Website: www.hareraama.in Contact Person: DR. Y V Krishnamurty Mobile: +91 9449595206.