In the wake of the recent exhibition of Bargur cattle, organised by the Veterinary Department in the district recently, scientists have recommended popularisation of this breed by showcasing higher income-generation possibilities.
The indigenous breed, reared on the Bargur hills, find their own food, and do not require sheds. Owing to the low cost of rearing, cost of production per litre of milk and meat is lower than that of exotic breeds.
Also, the feed conversion ratio to milk and meat is superior, said A. Kirubakaran, Assistant Professor, Veterinary University Training and Research Centre, Erode. Superior productivity, and higher disease resistance capacity are the other advantages, he added, saying that no genetic abnormality has been identified till date among this breed of cattle.
The native breed was highly adaptable to our environment compared to exotic breeds. While native breeds do not face any problems up to seventh calving, the exotic breeds start developing complications after their third calving, Mr. Kirubakaran said.
Termed ‘Semmarai’ in Tamil since the horn, eyes, and muzzle are light red in colour, this breed of cattle, with typical brown colour and white patches, survive under zero-input conditions.
The dung of the native breed contain more microbes and acts as natural fertilizer to soil.
The milk-yielding capacity of the Bargur breed may not be as much as the yield of exotic breeds, but farmers on the hills have traditionally been rearing the cattle in large numbers as there was no need for them to spend on fodder, Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry Department P. Jayaraman said. The hooves of this breed were naturally strong and did not require horseshoes, he said.
Despite its compact size, Bargur ox is sought after for drawing carts and ploughing fields.
Farmers buy this cattle breed in large numbers at the annual shandy in Pudupalayam in Anthiyur block, Mr. Jayaraman said.
Popularisation of the Bargur cattle is expected to be a natural course as the State Animal Husbandry Minister T.K.M. Chinnaiah has assured to explore scope for starting a research centre for the indigenous breed.