Preservation & Upgradation of Indian Local Breeds of Cattle

Prof. M.A.Lakshmithathachar (Prof. MAL as he is known) is an expert in rearing pedigree cows from the age of fifteen at the Goshala in his house. He is a lover of animals right from his childhood and his family has been rearing Hallikar Cows of good standard for the last three generations.

So far he has reared cows and buffaloes of the following breeds:

  • Hallikar
  • Amritmahal
  • Malenadu gidda
  • Ongole
  • Sindhi
  • Deoni
  • Kilari
  • Holstein
  • Jersey
  • Reddane Buffaloes: Nati and Dharwar

He has extensively toured all over India and knows about 38 varieties of Indian Breeds and also studied sufficient literature about these breeds. Besides he has got fairly good knowledge of Modern Dairy Technology Dairying. He has also got traditional knowledge about the characteristics of different breeds especially Hallikar and Amritmahal.

  • Aroma Therapy
  • Among the many new innovative curing systems, Aroma therapy is the principle mode of cure that is fast catching up. It is found that aroma reaches brain directly before the medine does and produces the desired effect. For example, if a person who is a diabetic and is made to savour the appropriate aroma, it will coax the brain to send the right signal to the pancreas to produce the required amount of insulin. Aroma therapy is also devoid of the side effects that are associated with such drugs. There is an abundant amount of information in the ancient Indian Sanskrit texts that give us details in this therapy. Samskrti Foundation has direct access to this information, and has done the ground work in this regard. t is proposed to create a small garden that will serve as the sites for aroma therapy. As a first step, research has begun to extract the information in the ancient Sanskrit texts available to us. If successful, this will go a long way in serving the public who are suffering from diseases. This is one of the main projects of the Samskrti Foundation.

  • Deterioration of the local breeds of cattle:
  • Due to the advent of the white resolution ushered in by the dairy express in Government, the local breeds began to deteriorate very fast.Besides, even the farmers who were very proud of preserving original breeds lost the pride and became a prey to the lure of money.

    Modern Veterinary Doctors had no passion for the local breeds and in fact they used to suggest that the bulls of the local breeds had to be castrated because the next generation born to them will yield very little milk. Westernization has destroyed so many unique breeds of the country.

    Even the surviving so called pedigree animals and breeds have become impure due to wrong selection of bulls.The purity of the local breeds now is around 65 to 70% only. These breeds are not properly preserved because their maintenance is not economically viable today. Now rearing cows has become an economic venture rather than a pious act.

    There are many other reasons that can be mentioned for the slow disappearance of the most valuable indigenous pedigree animals of the country which are not mentioned here.

  • About Hallikar Breeds
  • Prof Lakshmithathachar has been researching with Hallikar Breeds. Though he had a burning desire to improve the existing Desi breeds he did not get an opportunity as it requires sufficient infrastructure, time span (a minimum of 10 to 15 years) and considerable financial support.

    Though he began rearing cows from his 15th year, he had to wait till his 62nd year to make his dream a reality.He personally took up the project of improving and preserving the pure Hallikar Breed from the year 1999.

    Hallikar breed is not only the pride of Karnataka but also the pride of India. Two hundred years back Tippu Sultan could win the war over the Britishers because of the bullocks he possessed viz. Hallikar and Amritmahal bullocks.

  • Background of preserving and improving the Hallikar breeds
  • Before taking up this project, Prof MAL visited the repositories having Hallikar cows and bulls.

    In Turuvekere (in Hassan District) Govt. farm, there is a herd of Hallikar bulls and cows. But the percentage of purity of these cows is 65 to 70% only, due to various reasons.

    In Hesaraghatta, Government of Karnataka has maintained nearly 15 Hallikar bulls. But the quality of these bulls is very much below the expected standards. While procuring the bulls, the concerned officers depend upon local mediators and this has lead to many clandestine deals.

    Though the Govt. of Karnataka has got enormous amount of money, no NGOs or other organizations have come forward to take up this task because it is time consuming and not economically viable.

    The following short comings were found in the existing breeds:

    100 percent pure Hallikar cows or bulls were not available.

    Even the best animals had only 65 to 70% purity.

    Their milk yield had come down drastically i.e. a cow would yield only half a litre to one litre per day which was not even sufficient to maintain the Calf. This was due to the selection process of the bull. The farmers would always select a Bull if it had all external features of that breed and would not bother about the milk yield of the mother of the Bull.

    The farmers did not have the knowledge of the modern selecting system and they would not maintain any documents regarding their performance.

    Under these circumstances Prof. MAL took up a costly project of preserving at least one Indian breed viz. Hallikar breeds in its pristine purity.

  • Steps carried out in this Project so far
  • Since Prof. MAL had a passion for the preservation of Hallikar Cows, he took up this task at his personal level at the ripe old age of 62 years and has come halfway through. Slowly he began to collect the best Cows of this breed available in the market for which he visited the 'Jaatre-s' regularly held in the Hallikar belts of Karnataka.

    He not only selected good Cows but also made good selection of Bulls. So he always heard people telling him that "Your Bull is like a horse because of its striking characteristics". They are very fast and agile.

    In the initial stages, importance was given to external features. By selective breeding, the quality was improved to 80 to 85 %. Later the calving pattern and dry periods were also studied.

    Normally a Hallikar cow calves once in three years. Now, many of the cows in this herd calve once in one and a half years. The lactation period is increased. Even after they conceive they milk for some time now.

    There is good demand from farmers for cows of this herd. But MAL is reluctant to sell them to these farmers, since they are interested only in making profits. If the present herd disintegrates, then the efforts put in for the last 7 years will go in vain.

    Now, MAL, who is running 70, has no financial support to maintain these cows and the Bull. The monthly expenditure is about Rs. 15,000/- to 20,000/- .Because of his passion, for the preservation of these breeds, he has already spent Rs 7 to 8 Lakhs and burnt his fingers.

  • Steps carried out in this Project so far
  • The purity of the breeds has brought to about 90 %.

    Sub-varieties of the Hallikar breeds like 'Sanna-mallige' and 'Gujumavu' have been identified and reared.

    The male calves present are so good that, if fed well and preserved, may fetch a sum of Rs. 25,000/- each.

    If further improvement is done, each male calf may fetch a sum of Rs. 40,000 to 50,000

    High quality heifers are in this herd. Dry period of these calves has been brought down and the same is one and a half years as already mentioned.

    Experiments are afoot to make the rearing of cows economically viable. If perfect characteristics are there, a pair of good bullocks may cost more than Rs. 1,00,000/-.

    Three high standard Bulls have been supplied to BAIF Institution (Pune). Though Prof MAL is reluctant to part with these animals which are developed over a period of 7 years by dint of hard work and by spending time and money, he is eager to give it to an organization which will continue his efforts. He is willing to give his advice and expertise to any agency which may takeover the project.

    He is not expecting the entire amount to be reimbursed which he has invested in this project nor anything in return for the time, effort and expertise put in for the development. The agency that takes over this project may partially reimburse the amount MAL has invested for purchasing the cows and their maintenance over the last seven years.

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