Tamil Nadu

Boosting births of female calves through sex-sorted semen

Bulls lined up at a livestock farm in Udhagamandalam for semen collection.

Bulls lined up at a livestock farm in Udhagamandalam for semen collection.  

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₹47.50-crore laboratory to come up in Udhagamandalam

Driven by the need to increase milk production and control the population of male cattle and buffaloes, the State government has begun preliminary work on setting up a laboratory for producing sex-sorted semen at the district livestock farm in Udhagamandalam, with the aim of boosting births of female calves.

“We are in the process of finalising the tenders. The laboratory will produce eight lakh doses of sex-sorted semen for a period of three years,” said K. Gopal, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has allocated ₹47.50 crore for the project. The production will begin three months after the establishment of the laboratory, which will have flow cytometers, computer-aided semen analysers and other modern equipment.

Dairy farmers prefer female calves as the modernisation of transport and agriculture has meant they could largely dispense with the need for male calves. “Maintenance of male calves has proved to be a burden on farmers,” Dr. Gopal said.

“Technology has increased the possibility of boosting the production of female calves by 90%. Under the process, the spermatozoa will be separated into male calf-bearing and female calf-bearing ones, and they will be used for artificial insemination,” Dr. Gopal explained. In Tamil Nadu, during 2018-19, a total of 71.84 lakh artificial inseminations — 68.87 lakh in cattle and 2.97 lakh in buffaloes — were carried out. On average, 30 lakh calves are born every year through normal artificial insemination, and male and female calves account for 50% each.

Dr. Gopal said sex-sorted semen was capable of producing female offsprings with a calving rate of 35%, which will result in 2.8 lakh offsprings. “As sex-sorting can be achieved with up to 90% accuracy, it will pave the way for the production of 2.54 lakh female cattle — 1.12 lakh higher than what could be achieved through unsexed semen doses,” he said.

As per the 19th quinquennial livestock census (2012), Tamil Nadu has 22.72 million animals, of which cattle account for 8.81 million and buffaloes, 0.78 million.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 12:08:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/boosting-births-of-female-calves-through-sex-sorted-semen/article30170851.ece

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