Chief EditorHarjinder Singh
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An Evaluation of the Reproductive Performance of Sahiwal Heifers in the High Humid Climatic Condition of Assam
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First Online 31-07-2021|
Methods: Eighteen numbers of Sahiwal heifers maintained at the Sahiwal Cattle Farm in College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University, Khanapara, Guwahati, Assam were utilized for a period from August 2017 to January 2020. The resultant mean for different reproduction traits were carried out with the help of simple analysis technique of mean.
Conclusion: The results for different reproduction traits were found to be in the normal range. This study confirmed that the Sahiwal breed can thrive well in the high humid climatic region of Assam.
Sahiwal is an outstanding milch breed of cattle originated at Montgomery district of Punjab, Pakistan. Sahiwal is known to produce a larger quantity of milk and contains high fat content in their milk as compared to other indigenous milch breeds. This breed can thrive easily in high humid areas. The special characteristic of having loose skin around their body makes them fairly resistant to tick-borne diseases (Reddy, 2019). Because of its desirable traits, it is being utilized widely in many warm humid countries of the world for improvement of local stock or crossbreeding of indigenous stock. According to Breed Survey, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Govt. of India, 2013, the pure breed Sahiwal cattle population in India was 10,92,459. This purebred population has not received much attention despite having a profound impact on the rural economy and their significant contribution in terms of milk production. This purebred population is decreasing day by day due to the introduction of exotic animals and changes in the agricultural system. Reduction of breed population can be minimized by making it commercially available under existing circumstances. There is also a need to enhance the adaptability of the Sahiwal breed in regions outside its breeding tract. To reduce the extinction of this pure breed from nature, adoption of conservation process is of utmost importance. Rearing at field level with scientific management system would help serve the conservation along with fulfilling the demand of consumers for their products. In Assam, their performance has not been evaluated so far as the availability of pure Sahiwal breed is very less in the north-eastern part of India. The present work would strengthen field workers and the rural poor by increasing their monthly income.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The present study was carried out at the Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University, Khanapara, Guwahati-781 022, Assam, India.
Feeding and management
The particular herd was maintained with sufficient care and special concern was undertaken to avoid discomforts. The cattle sheds’ constructed scientifically within the farm complex were used for housing the animals, having all the facilities for the comfort of animals. Scientific management and breeding practices were carried out. Proper cleaning and sanitization were followed regularly to maintain the hygiene inside the farm complex. Stall feeding and open grazing practices are followed. Feeding practices are done both at morning and evening times in the separate feeding troughs and ad libitum water is also supplied through water channels.
Data source and data collection
The pure breed of Sahiwal heifers was taken as the breed of study in our research programme. The data were collected from the Sahiwal Cattle Farm, College of Veterinary Science, Assam Agricultural University, Khanapara, Guwahati, Assam, India over a period of 2.5 years (from August 2017 to January 2020) by utilizing a total of eighteen numbers of heifers maintained at that farm. This study aimed to analyze the first reproduction parameters of Sahiwal heifers in the high humid climatic condition of North-Eastern India, particularly Assam. This study has been approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee.
Traits of study
Reproduction traits such as age at maturity, age at first fertile service, age at first calving, first service period, first gestation length and first inter calving period were taken for study.
Simple analysis technique to determine averages of different reproduction traits along with their coefficient of variation was carried out.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The average value and its standard error for age at sexual maturity are presented in Table 1. In the present study, the overall mean for age at sexual maturity was found to be 892.89±43.20 days and its coefficient of variation was 20.53%. Higher than the present findings were reported by Malik and Ghei (1977) and Gaur et al., (2003) for Gir heifers being 1096 days and 1149±58 days, respectively. The age at maturity of Sahiwal heifers was mainly controlled by environmental factors. Better management of dams in advanced pregnancy and calves in the early stage may result in early maturity as reported by Yadava et al., (2010). Novakovic et al., (2011) explained in their research that the time of sexual maturity depends on numerous genetic and environmental factors like nutrition, climate, rearing, and housing of cows. Scientific management practices might be the cause of lower age to become sexually mature in our herd of study.
Age at first fertile service
The average value and its standard error forage at first fertile service are presented in Table 1. In the present study, the overall mean for age at first fertile service was found to be 1044.79±37.16 days and its coefficient of variation was 13.31%. There is very limited research that exists for determining the average age at which the animal performs first fertile service. Wu et al., (2012) and Novakovic et al., (2011) found relatively lower values for age at first fertile service as compared to our result. Higher value for age at first fertile service might result due to the lower availability of higher quality semen straw. Moreover, the herd was introduced newly in high humid area away from their original habitat. So they might take a longer period to overcome their stress level.
Age at first calving
The average value and its standard error for age at first calving are presented in Table 1. In the present study, the overall mean for age at first calving was found to be 1236.79±92.83 days and its coefficient of variation was 28.08%. The average value for age at first calving in the present study is fairly comparable with the report of Chandrakala and Sinniah (2002) in Sahiwal cows (41±6.9 months). Lower than the present finding has been reported by Narwaria et al., (2015) and Wakchaure and Meena (2010) in Sahiwal cows being 1136.14±10.48 days and 1078.09± 21.12 days, respectively. Kumar et al., (2017) studied in Jersey crossbred heifers and found 1089.36±13.99 days of age at first calving with the coefficient of variation 14.27%. A relatively higher value for age at first calving was reported by Rehman et al., (2008) in Sahiwal cows (1390±3.9 days) and Moulick et al., (1972) in Deshi cows (44.5±6.8 months). Lower age of first calving was reported by Sherwin et al., (2016), Jadhav et al., (2019) and Beneberu et al., (2021) for U.K. dairy herds (29.6 months), HF×Gir half breed cows (990.69± 6.53 days) and Jersey Cattle (32.95±0.22 months), respectively.
First service period
The average value and its standard error for the first service period are presented in Table 1. In the present study, the overall mean for the first service period was found to be 153.21±21.60 days and its coefficient of variation was 52.76%. Relatively similar to our research result were reported by Ahmad (1999) and Naskar et al., (2005) for Sahiwal cows being 153 days and 137.67±7.87 days, respectively. In another study, Deshpande et al., (1983) reported 154±5.3 days for Friesian × Sahiwal crossbred cow. Lower than the present finding was reported by Jadhav et al., (2019) for HF × Gir half bred cow. Relatively higher values were reported by Narwaria et al., (2015); Rehman et al., (2008); Talbott (1997) for Sahiwal cows and by Wu et al., (2012) for Chinese Holstein cows. Much higher service period was averaged out by Dandapat et al., (2010) for Sahiwal and crossbred cows (284.50±1.29 and 263.17±6.67 days); Malik and Ghei (1977) for Gir heifers (317 days). The increased value for service period found in our result could be controlled by minimizing the environmental variation and by providing a proper postpartum cow management system.
First gestation length
The average value and its standard error for the first gestation length are presented in Table 1. In the present study, the overall mean for the first service period was found to be 283.00±1.44 days and its coefficient of variation was 1.90%. Relatively similar to our research results were reported by Malik and Ghei (1977) for Gir heifers (287 days); Chandrakala and Sinniah (2002) for Sahiwal cows (279±6 days); Naskar et al., (2005) for Sahiwal cows (286.67±0.46 days). For Jersey × Local cows, Holstein Friesian × Local and Local cows, the gestation length was 275.74±0.46 days, 275.81±0.53 days and 274.12±0.53 days, respectively as reported by Hussain et al., (2012). Das et al., (1990) and Hussain et al., (2012) explained in their research that the gestation length is affected by different factors like season of calving, lactation order, genetic group and sex of the calf.
First inter-calving period
The average value and its standard error for the first inter calving period is presented in Table 1. In the present study, the overall mean for the first inter calving period was found to be 532.42±51.24 days and its coefficient of variation was 33.34%. Relatively similar values were reported by Dandapat et al., (2010) for Sahiwal (522.63±27.99 days) and crossbred cattle (500.13±35.35 days). Lower than our research findings were reported by Chandrakala and Sinniah (2002); Zafar et al., (2008) and Narwaria et al., (2015) for Sahiwal cows. Higher than the present findings was obtained by Malik and Ghei (1977) for Gir heifers (603 days). For Holstein Friesian cows and HF × Gir half breed cows; lower inter calving period were reported by Froidmont et al., (2013) and Jadhav et al., (2019), respectively. Higher values found for first inter calving period could be controlled by minimizing the environmental variation and by providing a proper postpartum cow management system.
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