1. Animal Husbandry

Multiple Breeding! First ‘Test Tube’ Gir Calf Born in a Private Farm in Kerala

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

Vaikkom dairy farm which is a home to 145 indigenous Gir cows and is considered the biggest of its kind in India, has now welcomed a new calf born using In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Embryo Transfer (ET). While there is nothing new to the use of tech, this is the first time it was used to create a 'test-tube' Gir calf in a private farm in the state.

While the farm Aamro Dairies, a venture by NRI businessman Murali Nair with investments in logistics and aviation training, took the help of JK Bovagenix of Singhania group for the IVF-ET, they are in the process of developing a lab that would offer multiple breeding facilities to farmers in the state. Thereby, increasing the state's potential for boosting volume & quality of milk. The calf born on Thursday was a male and they used an ovum picked up from a farm in Pune and imported Sobero pool from Brazil.

Murali Nair told Times of India that it would be an immense help to farmers trying to develop the indigenous breeds in the state because the farm has already entered into a technical collaboration with a Brazilian company who will be training the staff. In normal courses, a farmer can dream of having a maximum of eight Gir calves in a lifetime, but with the use of IVF-ET tech, the number can go up to 150 a year.

Jayadevan Namboothiri, the assistant director at the Animal Husbandry Department said that when ovums are selected, which can be done every five or six days, a farmer can get nearly 30 ovums every month. These ovums, when fertilized in the lab, would give fifteen to twenty good quality embryos. Thus one can produce in a year 100 to 150 calves a year.

Gir Cows in Bangalore

Earlier this year, a private firm in Bangalore involved in bovine genetics and multiple cattle reproduction had achieved 56 pregnancies from the eggs of a single cow of the Gir breed. The main objective of multiple breeding by using the technique of ‘test-tube calves’ is to boost volume and quality of milk. Multiple pregnancies in high-yield milk cattle mean more cows lactating and yielding higher volumes of better quality milk

A Gir cow on an average lactates 2,750 to 3,500 litres of milk, progeny from IVF-ET breeding would produce up to 9,000 litres, which is comparable to exotic breeds like Holstein. Murali Nair started the farm in 2018 with six cows. He started with Gir cows because it is one of the best milch cows in the world and gives the A2 milk. Now he has 145 cows and a well-developed niche market. Aaamro also has a diverse range of products including yoghurt, ghee and condensed milk all derived from A2 milk.

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