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Breeding strategies for improving Chevon and goat milk production in India

Introduction

Goat, an important domestic animal, is serving the mankind by producing meat, milk, fibre, skin and offal. Since time immemorial goat rearing is being practiced in India. Goat rearing provides livelihood and financial security to the large section rural poor people in India. According to 21st Livestock census of India, the total goat population is 148.88 million. ICAR- National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources- the nodal agency for breed registration in India has registered 26 goat breeds with varying potential for meat (chevon), milk and fibre production. Black Bengal, Osmanabadi, Barbari and Kannaiadu goat breeds are excellent in chevon quality and production. The major milk producing goat breeds are Jamunapari, Beetal, Jakhrana and Surti while Changthangi, Chegu and Gaddi have good potential for fibre/pashmina production.

Chevon and goat milk production in India

Chevon refers to the meat produced from goats. Chevon shares 16 % of the total meat produced in our country. West Bengal is the leading state in India in chevon production and produces 0.242 million tonnes per year. The share of goat milk in national milk pail is comparatively low (less than 4%) and Rajasthan is the leading state (BAHS, 2014). At present scenario, India stands first in goat milk production and second in goat meat production in the world.

Nutritional value of chevon and goat milk

Chevon:

  • Chevon is generally lean and low in calorie
  • Low in LDL count (bad quality cholesterol)
  • Chevon is the most preferred red meat consumed worldwide
  • High in vitamin B 12 and iron

(Tardiff, 2015)

Goat milk:

  • rich in iron, calcium, phosphorous, chlorine and vitamins
  • easily digestible and has a mild laxative effect
  • rich in vitamin B1 which is useful in relieving stress, constipation and insomnia
  • may be used to replace cow milk for those suffering from allergy to cows’ milk
  • has low cholesterol than the cow’s milk thus suitable for people with high blood pressure
  • low in sugar than cow’s milk hence good for those suffering from diabetes

Formulation of breeding strategies for Improvement of goat

A good breeding strategy is an integral part of genetic improvement of goats for meat, fibre and milk production. While formulating the breeding strategy for goat improvement, the formulators should take care of the following criteria:

  1. Adaptability of the breeds in the local agro-climatic conditions
  2. Socio-economic condition of the farmer
  3. Market demands
  4. Availability of good quality bucks
  5. Conservation of indigenous recognised breeds by preventing them from rampant genetic dilution

Breeding Strategies for improving chevon production

Most of the goat breeds maintained at the organizational herd or farmers’ fields are meant for chevon production. Meat production traits in goat include body weight at slaughter, efficiency of feed conversion and dressing percentage (Mandal, 2014). Hence breeding strategies should be directed towards improving growth rate, body weight, reproductive efficiency, dressing percentage and to reduce mortality (National Livestock Policy, 2013). The optimum body weight for slaughter is an important factor for consideration, while developing a breeding strategy for improving the meat production. Crossing indigenous breeds with exotic breeds like Anglo-Nubian, Boer goat may be encouraged for improving growth rate and chevon production in areas where there is availability of good quality feed resources or where intensive feeding is possible. Both selective pure breeding and crossbreeding can be adopted based on the need of the locality, demand for the market, traits under consideration.  Since, growth traits are high heritable response to selection will be better.

Carcass weight at slaughter in some major meat breeds in India:

Breed

Adult body weight (in kg)

Reference

Male

Female

Black Bengal

25 - 30

20 - 25

 

Osmanabadi

31 to 36

32 to 33

(Karunakaran, 2015)

Malabari

43 - 46

34

(Karunakaran, 2015)

Sangamneri

39 to 42

32 to 34

(Karunakaran, 2015)

Barbari

37 - 38

22 - 23

 

Breeding Strategies for improving goat milk production

The exotic breeds like Alpine, Sannen have been used with indigenous breed to improve their milk production. Among indigenous breeds, Jamunapari, Beetal, Barbari, Jhakrana, Sirohi and Surti are the major dairy breeds although their milk production is not as par that of the exotic superior dairy breeds. Both selective breeding and crossbreeding can be adopted based on the need of the locality, demand for the market, traits under consideration.  Since, milk yield traits are medium to high heritable in nature, response to selection will be better. Performance recording and progeny testing programs should be encouraged to select and propagate elite bucks. Nucleus flocks/herds can be established with best performing females and their male progenies and can be linked with farmers flock. Artificial insemination with liquid and preferably frozen semen may be adopted to make the progeny testing programmed more effective.  Jamunapari, Beetal, Jakhrana and Surti could be used as improved breeds in other regions for boosting up both milk and meat production. Crossing of low producing indigenous breeds and non-descript may be taken up with Sannen goat breeds. The crosses of Sannen have exhibited optimal performance in milk production, survivability and reproduction. However, the crossbreeding with Sannen should be taken up only in areas where feed resources are better and there is possibility of making available cultivated fodder/concentrate (Mandal, 2014)

Policy issues and recommendations

  1. Availability of reliable data on goat breeds population at different areas and trends over time is one of the chief criterion for formulating appropriate breeding policies and strategies. Hence, there is a need for availability of good quality authenticated data on indigenous goats of India.
  2. Animal identification and field performance recording of indigenous goat breeds needs to be started. This will assist in identifying superior germplasms for further use in breeding programme.
  3. Participation of livestock keepers in the genetic improvement programme should be encouraged.
  4. Genetic improvement is permanent and is inherited from parental generation to the progenies automatically so long as the selected elite animals are used for breeding and their progenies are used for further breeding. But genetic and environmental improvements act synergistically. Hence, making the genetic improvement programmes broader by addressing disease/health, nutrition and management will bring more success.
  5. The period of a genetic improvement programme should be minimum 10 years and require strong institutional/organizational support.
  6. Encouraging semen freezing and artificial insemination (AI) technology can effectively overcome the problem of unavailability of good quality breeding bucks and the small holder farmers’ difficulty and economic non-feasibility of maintaining a buck.

Reorientation of Breeding Policy by National Livestock Policy (2013)

National Livestock Policy (2013) have encouraged states to reorient their breeding policy for livestock. It has been recommended to refine the breeding policy species-wise to be implemented for bringing faster growth in production. For small ruminants like sheep and goat, major aim is to improve growth, body weight, reproductive competence, meat and wool quality and quantity and to lessen mortality rate.  Chief focus will be to produce and disseminate elite bucks of native breeds which can sustain well in different agro-climatic conditions.  Encouragement of artificial insemination is also one of the chief criterion.  Cross-breeding with superior exotic and other indigenous breeds of goats will also be considered.

References:

  1. Small Ruminant Rearing - Breed Conservation and Genetic Improvement, South Asia Pro Poor Livestock Policy Programme, 2012
  2. Karunakaran, M.(2015) -  agropedia.iitk.ac.in/content/breeds-goat-suitable-konkan-region.
  3. Misra R.K. Production Potential of Indian Goats., In Goat Production. edited by Dr. N.K.Bhattacharrya. Central Institute for Research on Goats, Farah, Mathura, U.P. 1989; 17–41p.
  4. Mandal, A. Karunakaran, M., Ghosh, M. K. and Dutta, T. K. (2014),  Breeding Strategies for Sustainable Goat  Farming in India. Research and Reviews- Journal of Dairy Science and Technology 3(1):1-7.
  5. National Livestock Policy (2013) - Government of India Ministry of Agriculture Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries.

Source :

Rajalaxmi Behera, Ajoy Mandal, Saroj Rai, M. Karunakaran and  T. K. Dutta, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, ERS, Kalyani, West Bengal

Adhikari Sahu - Senior Research Fellow, ICAR- Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture



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