Altered semen to breed more milch cows
With 84 million males of the total 300 million bovines in India unproductive, the Centre is in the process of bringing in a project to implement a ‘sex semen sorting technology’ to increase the birth rate of female bovines through assisted reproduction.
The advanced breeding technology, officials in the know of things said, will not only increase a disease-free female population of bovines but also increase milk production by 18 million tonnes after three years.
“There will be less stress on resources available with farmers, increased availability of high genetic merit females, and addition of six million improved females annually to the national milch herd,” they maintained.
The Government would require about Rs500 crore to implement the project.
As per the Government data, India has a bovine population of 300 million of which only 85 million provide milk in the country while the rest are unproductive animals, including 84 million males.
“A large population of males is also increasing stress on resources available with the poor livestock rearers as more than 71 per cent of the cattle and buffaloes are with small and marginal farmers and landless labourers. Moreover, due to increase mechanisation in agriculture, utility of males as drought animals has reduced tremendously,” the officials pointed out.
They said the solution to this problem was to promote sex semen sorting techniques to increase female population and thereby, make milk production more remunerative to farmers engaged in dairying.
“The new formula has taken shape after adequate research and therefore, will help increase the female ratio among indigenous breeds like Sahiwal, Hariana, Red Sindhi, Rathi and Gir,” they maintained. This technique for producing sex sorted semen is developed in the United States and is patented by Sexing Technologies.
The Government has also tasked the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) with coming up with the technique by 2018 for indigenous cow breeds since the US companies have technology primarily for exotic cow breeds such as Holstein Friesian and Jersey.
As things stand, India is the world’s highest milk producing nation, with 156 million tonnes in 2015-16. Even the per capita availability of milk is higher at 337 grams per day compared with the world average of 229 grams.
According to a detailed concept note prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, the sex sorted semen production technique is based on the sorting of sperm on the principle of difference in DNA content of ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosome. ‘X’ chromosome is having 4 percent more DNA than ‘Y’ chromosome.
“Thus through the machine, ‘X’ chromosome-bearing sperm cell is separated from the ‘Y’ chromosome-bearing sperm cell. The Nozzle of the FACS machine plays an important role in sperm sorting. The machine has the capacity to produce 14 sex sorted semen doses per hour. In a year, about two lakh semen doses are produced from one machine,” it said.
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