Prospective Bargur cattle-rearers look for institute’s guidance

Tribal farmers on Panchamalai hills in Tiruchi district hope that the Advanced Institute for Integrated Research on Livestock and Animal Sciences (AIIRLIVAS), inaugurated recently by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at Thalaivasal in Salem district, will render assistance in determining the suitability of climate for rearing Bargur cattle in their terrain.

The cattle is an indigenous breed found around Bargur hills at Anthiyur in Erode disrict. The breed, generally raised in herds, is known for its speed, endurance and trotting abilities and is sought after for carrying out agricultural operations in the hilly terrain. Also known as Semmarai in Tamil Nadu, the breed is a favourite during jallikattu, the bull-taming rural sport.

“At present, only bullocks famed for draught potential are being purchased at shandies in Anthiyur and brought to Pachamalai hills for ploughing operations. The necessity for cows of this breed has not arisen so far,” said Perumal, president, Tamil Nadu Tribal People’s Federation, Tiruchi district.

Bargur hills and Pachamalai Hills are home to the Malayalee tribal community and have mean sea levels ranging between 800 and 1,000 metres.

“Survival of the breed on Pachamalai Hills in view of similar climatic conditions is possible. The working ability of the breed is likely to be the same as in Bargur hills. But the adaptability of the breed in other hill terrain has not been documented yet,” A. Paramasivam, Associate Professor and Head, Bargur Cattle Research Station, said.

Though cows yield less milk — below two litres a day — it is rich in vitamins and calcium and is known to have high nutritive and medicinal value. In Erode district, the milk of Bargur cow is being sold at nearly ₹50 for half a litre.

As the cows mainly feed on grass and herbal plants and survive under zero-input conditions, rearing the breed entails only negligible expenditure. Also, its dung has a high manure value.

Possibilities are being explored for enhancing the milk yield of the cows through scientific means. Researchers have been trying out selective breeding of the cattle to increase milk yield.

It is in this aspect that the tribal farmers on Pachamalai hills are anticipating the support of AIIRLAS, which has an indigenous cattle breed rearing farm as one of its main sections.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:12:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/prospective-bargur-cattle-rearers-look-for-institutes-guidance/article30852780.ece

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