Livestock Research for Rural Development 19 (5) 2007 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD News

Citation of this paper

Lactation performance and milk constituents of Umblachery breed of cattle (Bos indicus) in its native coastal ecology of Tamilnadu, India

R Rajendran

Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

vrragb@rediffmail.com
 

Abstract

A study was conducted to evaluate the lactation performance of Umblachery cattle under smallholder management system in its breeding tract. Milk recording was made at monthly intervals in 435 cows in 13 randomly selected villages.

The average daily partial milk yield was 2058 ± 18 g and it ranged from 400 to 4750 g. The total estimated partial milk yield for the lactation was 494 kg. The average of milk fat percentage was 4.94 ± 0.06 and the average solids-not-fat percentage was 7.80 ± 0.03 which ranged from 7.73 to 8.17. The milk yield was highly variable with a coefficient of variation of 35%. This suggests the possibility of improving their daily production by genetic means.

Keywords: Cattle, fat, milk yield, SNF, Umblachery breed


Introduction

Umblachery breed is an excellent draught cattle of Tamilnadu noted for its strength and sturdiness. They are distributed in eastern coastal districts, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam in Tamilnadu state, India. It lies approximately between 10º18´ and 10º54´N and between 79º18´ and 79º48´E with an estimated total area of 3500 square kilometer. The elevation of the breeding tract ranges from 0 to 50 metres above the mean sea level. Umblachery cattle are mainly used for draught purpose like ploughing and carting and milk from the animal is utilized for home consumption.

The udder is not well developed; bowl shaped and tucked up with the abdomen. The teats are small and well set apart. Milk vein is not prominent (Figures 1 and 2).



Figure 1.  Umblachery calf


Figure 2.
  Umblachery cow



Materials and methods

Milk recording was carried out at monthly intervals in 13 randomly selected villages in Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts of Tamilnadu, India. A total of 1591 milk recordings were made at monthly intervals from 435 cows. The cows were milked twice a day in the morning and evening.

Morning milking was done around 5 a.m. and evening milking was done around 4 p.m. The utensils and udder were washed with plain water. Hand milking was practised. The calves were used not only for let down but were also allowed to consume milk before milking. Before and after milking, the calf was allowed to suckle milk. But before milking the calves were allowed to suckle only for few minutes. Castor oil was used as lubricant while milking. Mugs or small sized vessels made up of stainless steel were used for collecting milk. Between milking also the calf was allowed to suckle one time. During milking roughage was put before the cow for easy milking without struggle. Calves up to 6-7 months of age were grown on milk only. If it was male calf more milk was left in the udder. The male calves were allowed to suckle as much milk as it required.

As the farmer and calf shared the milk, the milk yield data were considered as daily partial milk yield as suggested by Okantah (1992). In addition, milk samples were collected in the morning for estimation of milk constituents. Milk constituents i.e., percentage of fat was estimated by the Gerber butyrometer (ISI: 1224 - Part I 1977) and the percentage of SNF was determined gravimetrically. Data on lactation length were also collected through questionnaire for each cow specifically in the herd and were recorded to the nearest fortnight. The total milk yield for the lactation was estimated using average daily partial milk yield and average lactation length. The animals are generally fed with paddy straw and small quantities of concentrate feeding (oil cake, mostly rice bran) in early lactation. The animals were also taken for grazing.
 

Results and discussion

The study revealed that 28% of milch animals were in first lactation and 33% in second, 29% in third, 7% in fourth and 3% in fifth and above. Cows in second and third lactation were found in large numbers. Calvings were found to be distributed throughout the year.

The average daily partial milk yield, fat and SNF contents of Umblachery cattle are furnished in Table 1.


Table 1.   Mean ( S.E.) daily partial milk yield and milk constituents of Umblachery cows

Month of

lactation

Average

morning partial, yield, g

Average

evening partial yield, g

Average daily

partial yield, g

Fat content,

%

SNF,

%

Overall

 

1186 10

(1591)

871 9

(1591)

2058 18

(1591)

4.94 0.06

(1028)

7.80 0.03

(1018)

1.

138039

(127)

102336

(127)

240273

(127)

4.460.14

(75)

8.170.05

(75)

2.

136133

(180)

102428

(180)

238460

(180)

4.530.13

(100)

8.000.05

(99)

3.

133229

(205)

99125

(205)

232353

(205)

4.500.11

(130)

7.960.04

(130)

4.

126827

(191)

93722

(191)

220448

(191)

4.960.12

(124)

7.910.05

(121)

5.

120425

(195)

87121

(195)

208245

(195)

4.980.12

(127)

7.820.05

(125)

6.

115625

(189)

83721

(189)

199344

(189)

4.890.10

(131)

7.830.06

(129)

7.

107425

(176)

77520

(176)

184943

(176)

5.110.12

(123)

8.000.05

(123)

8.

101429

(141)

73024

(141)

174451

(141)

5.650.50

(97)

7.950.05

(97)

9.

96730

(106)

67929

(106)

164657

(106)

5.220.17

(66)

7.930.07

(64)

10.

84133

(81)

58932

(81)

140863

(81)

5.350.20

(55)

7.730.09

(55)

  Figures in parentheses are the number of observations


Average daily partial milk yield

The average for overall daily partial milk yield was 2058 ± 18 g and it ranged from 400 to 4750 g. The milk yield recorded did not show any definite pattern. The milk yield was highly variable with a coefficient of variability of 35%. This suggests the possibility of improving their daily production by genetic means. The milk yield decreased even from first month onwards. The reasons might be due to difference in amount of milk fed to different sexes, allowing growing male calves to suck more milk and milking the animals as to owner's requirement. The total estimated partial milk yield for the lactation was 494 kg. The total milk yield estimated in this study was generally higher than the earlier reported values of 338 kg and 354 kg for this breed (Kanakaraj et al 1993; Thomas 1995), which was based on farm records.

Milk constituents

The average of milk fat percentage was 4.94 ± 0.06. The mean fat percentage at first month was 4.46 ± 0.14 and by eighth month of lactation was 5.65 ± 0.50. There was no specific trend in the monthly averages for the fat and SNF content. But, when fat content of the milk considered as early, mid and late lactation the same was found to increase as the lactation advanced. The fat content was higher than the reported value of 3.89 in Kangayam cattle, another draught breed in the same state (Rajendran 1995) and comparable with other Indian breeds. The average solids-not-fat percentage was 7.80 ± 0.03 and ranged from 7.73 to 8.17. The SNF is less than the standard of 8.5% prescribed for cow milk under PFA rules 1955. This might be due to poor genetic potentialities of the Umblachery cows with respect to SNF percentage, since, underfeeding has been shown to lower SNF percentage of the milk by only 0.2 to 0.3 % (Griffiths et al 1957). Robertson et al (1956) had confirmed the strong inheritance of SNF percentage.

Lactation length

The average lactation length was found to be 8 months, which is higher than the values of 6.3 months (Kanakaraj et al 1993) and 7.4 months (Thomas 1995) for the same breed in an organized farm.


Conclusion

Acknowledgement

I wish to acknowledge the valuable assistance of the many people who made this investigation possible, and in particular to co-operating farmers. In addition, I wish to thank the Indian Council of Agricultural Research for financial assistance.
 

References

Griffiths T W and Featherstone J 1957 Variations in the Solids- Not- Fat content of Milk. Investigations into the nature of the Solids- Not- Fat Problem in the West Midlands. Journal of Dairy Research 24:201-209.

ISI 1977 Determination of fat by the Gerber method: Part I Milk. IS: 1224 (Part I) - 1977 Indian Standards Institution, New Delhi.

Kanakaraj P, Natarajan N, Balasubramanian D and Krishnan A R 1993 A study on the performance of Umblachery breed of cattle. Cheiron 22: 209-210.

Okantah S A 1992 Partial milking of cattle in smallholder herds on the Accra Plains: some factors affecting daily partial milk yield and milk composition. Animal Production 54:15-21.

Rajendran R 1995 Distribution and Characteristics of Kangayam Cattle. M.V.Sc., Thesis submitted to Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.

Robertson A, Waite R and White J C D 1956 Journal of Dairy Research 23:82

Thomas P V 1995 Breed Characteristics and Performance of Umblachery Cattle. Ph.D. thesis submitted to Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.



Received 26 February 2007; Accepted 12 March 2007; Published 1 May 2007

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