Counting sheep, literally

Scientists have developed a new breed of sheep, Nari-Suvarna, that gives birth to two or three lambs at a time

Published - December 14, 2014 12:53 pm IST - Tumakuru:

Doddaraju of Veerapura in Sira taluk, who bought 10 Nari-Suvarna sheep, feeding his flock.

Doddaraju of Veerapura in Sira taluk, who bought 10 Nari-Suvarna sheep, feeding his flock.

Sheep farmers in Tumakuru have agri-scientists in Maharashtra to thank for a breed that has, quite literally, doubled their profits.

The new breed, developed by scientists at Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute, Phaltan, called ‘Nari-Suvarna’ has turned out to be a boon for farmers. While the local breed of sheep gives birth to one lamb at a time, the new breed gives birth to two or three.

Cost of the sheep

The State government is trying to promote the Nari-Suvarna breed. It plans to offer subsidy to purchase the sheep, which costs Rs. 8,000 each, in the future. The local breed in Tumakuru —both Hassan and Bellary breeds — cost Rs. 6,000 per sheep.

With the guidance of the Karnataka Sheep and Wool Development Corporation (KSWDC), a farmer in Sira taluk in Tumakuru district has bought 10 sheep and they have given birth to 23 lambs. Farmers at Sidlaghatta in Chickballapur district and Chitradurga district are now eager to follow suit.

The new breed, according to the Agriculture Department, is a combination of three Indian breeds – Deccani and Madgyal breeds of Karnataka and Garole of West Bengal.

Doddaraju of Veerapura in Sira taluk, who bought the 10 sheep, told The Hindu that people in his village were making advance payments for Nari-Suvarna sheep. He said the sheep had adjusted to the climate and environment of his village and could be reared along with the local breed.

Mirza Basheer, Assistant Director, KSWDC, Tumakuru, said the new breed would help meet the demand for meat and would be beneficial to farmers. The department would provide farmers training on rearing and would also provide support such as vaccines.

Govt.’s plans

Nagaraja G.M., Assistant Director, Special Livestock Breeding Programme, Tumakuru, said the government would identify farmers in Belagavi, Vijayapura and Kolar districts and would introduce them to the new breed.

He added that nucleus breeding centres would come up in four or five places in the State. Farmers could go to these centres, get information about the Nari-Suvarna breed and buy the sheep if they want.

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