A study team visited 150 hamlets in Shimoga district for a survey

The Malnad Gidda, a major cattle breed of the Malnad region, is yet to be recognised as a specific breed, though it enjoys its own distinct characteristics. The special features of the Malnad Gidda cow are that it is stunted and highly resistant to diseases such as foot and mouth, rinderpest and black quarter. The milk yield of a well-built Malnad Gidda cow varies from 1.5 litres a day to 4 litres a day. In the first scientific study on this unique cattle breed, a pilot survey was taken up by M.G. Govindaiah, Special Officer and Dean of the Veterinary Sciences College, Shimoga, and P.K. Singh of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, in association with the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources. The team visited nearly 150 hamlets of Shimoga, Sagar, Hosnagar and Tirthahalli taluks in Shimoga district to conduct several tests of both sexes of the breed before submitting its Pilot Survey report to the National Breed Recognition Committee suggesting it to identify the Malnad Gidda as a distinctive cattle breed. There are five "desi" cattle breeds in the State, including the Malnad Gidda breed, that have adapted themselves to the climatic and other geographical conditions of the areas where they are located. The pilot survey sees no immediate threat of extinction to the Malnad Gidda considering its population which is around 14 lakh spread over the districts of Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Kodagu, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Davangere and Haveri. But the high incidence of inbreeding is expected to reduce its population in the years to come and effect several changes in the breed itself if the purity of the breed is not conserved.

There is no attempt of cross breeding of the breed with other exotic breeds to develop it. Sri Ramachandrapur Math in Hosnagar taluk under the leadership of the math head Raghaveshwara Bharati has taken up a unique programme called "Kama Dugha" to conserve and develop nearly 28 cattle breed, including the Malnad Gidda variety, on a scientific basis.

He has suggested the setting up of a semen collection centre, a bull mother farm, deep freezing of semen and storing and the distribution of the Malnad Gidda's semen in all the artificial insemination centres in the Malnad region for the growth of the breed.

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