Introduction of Mehsana Buffalo:
The following information is about Mehsana Buffalo and its profile.
The breeding tract of this breed is Mehsana; this breed is found in Sabarkantha and Banaskantha districts of Gujarat state. This breed is evolved out of crossbreeding between the Surti and the Murrah. Oliver (1938) describes the breed for the first time. Buffaloes play an important role in the agricultural economy of India because of their adaptability to harsh climatic conditions, tolerance to tropical diseases and survival under poor feeding and management practices. The skin color of Mehsana breed is black. The skin color of this breed is not as dark as that of the Murrah, and the horns are shorter and less curved. Mehsana buffaloes are well known for the regularity in breeding, persistence in milk and efficient milk production, which is apparently evident from the lactation length and short dry period (Since, 1992). To characterize the breed of Mehsana buffaloes in farmer herds phenotypically and genetically, a project was jointly undertaken in detailed by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR), Karnal and the Dudhsagar Research and Development Association (DURA), Mehsana to study the breed under farmers herd conditions.
Physical characteristics of Mehsana:
This breed of buffalo is a medium-sized docile animal with a low set deep body. The Mehsana breed’s forehead is wide with a slight depression in the middle sloping towards the base of the horns. The horns of this breed are generally sickle shaped, curved upwards and then bend downwards and its neck is long and well set on the shoulders. Mehsana buffalo is massive and dewlap is almost absent in males. Its chest is deep with broad brisket. Its legs are medium to short length with clean and broad bones and the barrel is long and deep, with well-sprung ribs. In females of this breed, the four quarters are light while the hindquarters are wide and heavy giving a wedge shaped appearance. This breed’s back is straight and strong with pelvic joints higher than the withers with a very small navel flap. The horns of this breed are less curved at the end compared to Murrah breed, but are longer and could be of irregular shape. Mehsana breed’s tail is of medium thickness and long with black or brown switch. Its skin is thin, pliable and soft and generally black with rough and scanty hair. The average adult body weight changes from 365 to 455 kg in females and about 500 kg in males. The udder in this breed is well developed and well set and in good milking animals it is carried well behind. The teats are fairly thick, long and pliable with prominent milk vein. Its eyes are very prominent, black and bright bulging from their sockets with folds of skin on the upper lids. Their milk has a fat content of about 6.5 to 7 per cent and they can yield 7-9 liters of milk in a day.
Read: Dairy Farming FAQ.
Management Practices of Mehsana:
To describe the management practices in the breeding tract 1,097 farmers from 144 villages were contacted and information was recorded on a questionnaire developed jointly by NBAGR, Karnal and DURA, Mehsana. It was observed that 25 percent of the farmers rearing Mehsana buffaloes were landless and about 33 percent of the farmers were uneducated. The survey conduct revealed that most of the men and women spent about two hours a day in animal husbandry works like grazing, chaffing, cleaning, feeding and milking. Both male and female family members spent the same time in animal rearing activities. Eighty percent of farmers usually cleaned the udder and teats of the buffalo and 18 percent of farmers clean the animals completely.
Characteristics of Mehsana Buffalo:
Age at First Parturition: Average 42-48 Months (NBAGR: 22-54 months with average of 43 months).
Milk Production/ lactation: 1800-2000 Kg. (NBAGR: 598-3597 Kg with average of 1988 kg).
Parturition Interval: 10-31 months with average of 16 months (NBAGR source).
Milk Fat percentage: Average 7-7.5 % (NBAGR source: 5.2-9.5% with average of 7%).
Total estimated Population in the state in 2007: 33,70,215 (2007).
Utility of the Breed:
About 7.5 percent of farmers reared buffaloes for milk production and 44 percent for both breeding and milk purposes. Farmers who kept Mehsana buffaloes for breeding represented only 1.5 percent of the total surveyed. About 65 percent of the farmers sold Mehsana buffaloes to businessmen, who took the animals to Mumbai and Ahmadabad for milk production. These businessmen send them for slaughtering after completion of lactation.
Read: Cattle Farming, Breeds.
Color: Mostly black, a few animals is a brown color
Forehead: Wide & slight depression in middle
Horn Shape & Size: Horns of Mehsana are generally sickle shaped to the curve more upward than in the Surti breed and less curved than the Murrah breed. Horns are generally bent downward and then take a curve like the horns of a ram.
Weight: Average 750 Kg in Males and 650 Kg (NBAGR source) in Females
Milk Yield: 1200-1500 Kilograms
Age at First Calving: 42.2 months
Lactation Length: 310 days
Calving Interval: 476 days
Horns: Slightly curved upward, inward
Tail: Long, Switch black, Brown or white also common
The breed is supposed to have good persistency.
The inter calving period ranges between 450-550 days.
Breeding Characteristics of Mehsana:
Out of the farmers surveyed, 98 percent was maintaining Mehsana buffaloes, one percent Murrah and one percent other breed buffaloes. About 51 percent of farmers adopted AI-artificial insemination, 9 percent natural service (NS) and 40 percent in both. Frozen semen was used in 96 percent of cases of AI. It was observed that about 75 percent of buffaloes conceived after two services. The high rate of adoption of AI with frozen semen and good conception rates was due to the service provided by DURA, Mehsana buffalo in the breeding tract.
Mehsana Buffalo Cost:
Usually, Mehsana Buffalo costs from 50,000 to 1,30,000 rupees depending milk production, age, lactation status and pregnancy status. Generally, Pregnant Mehsana Buffalo costs more than dry ones. Healthy and young Mehsana bull also costs in the similar range of Mehsana Buffalo.
Mehsana Buffalo Milk Per day:
Mehsana Buffalos can yield more than 7-9 liters of milk per day.
Read: HF Cow Facts.