1. Animal Husbandry

Do you know which animal has brought 'Operation Flood' to India?

Professor Rajendra Kumar
Professor Rajendra Kumar
Livestock India

After cows, buffaloes are the largest producer of milk in India.  The number of cows in India is estimated at 19 crores. But in case of the buffaloes, they are numbered around 10 crores.

The fact is that this difference in numbers is not seen in milk production.  Half of the total milk produced in India comes from buffaloes.  When we know that buffaloes brought the white revolution to the Indian subcontinent, we can understand their significance.  It is a matter of pride for us that India has the reputation of having the largest number of buffaloes in the world.  India is often described as the milk pot of the world.

Although the number of buffaloes in India is increasing, according to the statistics of Kerala, the number of buffaloes in the state is declining significantly. This is absolutely worrying for us.  At present the number of buffaloes in Kerala is 60,000.

Buffaloes are generally water-loving creatures. They prefer to spend more time in the water as their thick black skin and less number of sweat glands prevent them from lowering their body temperature.  Therefore, waterlogged paddy fields, seas, rivers and swamps are ideal places for buffaloes to breed.  Hotter places are not conducive to buffalo rearing.  In hot weather, they move to shady and watery places.

Buffalos need to be fed more than Cows. The buffaloes provide nutritious milk even though it is of low quality food. Buffaloes' milk is high in fat and solids.

The buffalo has the ability to digest even fibrous food. Buffaloes are ahead of cows in saliva volume, stomach cavity size and number of microorganisms that help in digestion.

Their diet is adjusted to one kilogram of fodder for every two kilograms of milk.  They can be fed on cheap agro-industrial wastes. This saves money on fodder for buffalo farmers.

Everyone knows that India is the birthplace of buffaloes.  There are 12 main types of buffaloes found here. Mura buffaloes have been in the news a lot lately.  All of these are suitable for hard work.  At present in Kerala the semen of Mura buffaloes is used to produce hybrids.  The reason for using Mura genus is to replace the previously used genus with low milk production.

It has already been said that buffalo milk is high in fatty acids.  In addition to these, buffalo milk is rich in Vitamin A, E, Calcium and Meat.  Buffalo milk is excellent for making milk powder and for making dairy whitener for use in tea and coffee.  Another advantage is that its tender meat is low in cholesterol.  Its meat has high potential in foreign markets as well.

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