Milestones

Frozen Semen for Cattle and Buffalo Improvement Programme

Background

Gainful self-employment through maintenance of dairy animals, is one of the major programmes of BAIF. Production of quality semen from exotic and indigenous cattle and buffalo breeds and its supply to the field network of cattle development centres for improving the milk yield of small farmers, has been the core activity of BAIF since the inception of the programme.

The Semen Freezing laboratory was established in 1975 for supplying superior quality frozen semen of cattle and buffalo breeds for breeding low productive dairy animals. Earlier, semen of only purebred Holstein-Friesian and Jersey bulls was frozen.  Later, realising the need to freeze semen of crossbred bulls and buffaloes, bulls of crossbred species were also introduced in the bull station in 1987. With the expansion of the Cattle Development Programme in different indigenous breeding tracts of the country, the semen of indigenous cattle breeds like Gir, Sahiwal, Khillar, Amritmahal, Dangi, Hallikar, Tharparkar, Ongole, Krishna Valley, Gangatiri, Red Kandhari, Nimari, Red Sindhi, Rathi, Gaolao and buffalo breeds like Murrah, Surti, Jaffarabadi, Bhadavari, Banni, Pandharpuri and Nagpuri is being frozen for its use in the breed conservation and improvement programme.

The semen freezing laboratory has technical linkages with reputed national and international laboratories and was the first laboratory in the country, to be certified with ISO 9002:1994 in the year 2000 which later on, was upgraded to ISO- 9001:2000 in 2003 and ISO- 9001:2008 in 2010 and 2013 for its quality management system. In the year 2018, the ISO system was upgraded to 9001:2015 for which surveillance audit has been completed and the final certificate is awaited.  The laboratory has also been ranked ‘A’ by the Central Monitoring Unit, Government of India. This laboratory has also been recognized by the Government of India as a standard laboratory for testing Artificial Insemination equipment including cryo-vessels apart from enjoying the trust of Government and private agencies including large milk co-operatives agencies all over the country as well as abroad for its quality frozen semen. 

Against this background, we are pleased to announce the release of BAIF E-Sire Directory – “Kamdhenu Sires 2020-21”.

Bull Mother Farm

The foundation stock of Holstein-Friesian and Jersey heifers was selected from Denmark and Canada. These animals were born from outstanding milk-producing cows and proven sires from these countries. All the cows are being bred with superior quality imported frozen semen.  Recently, Holstein Friesian semen from USA and France was imported for breeding these cows. The present herd of bull mothers is homebred stock, which is tested for adaptability to Indian conditions. Emphasis is laid on high milk yield, desirable milk fat percentage, type characters and adaptability performance of bull-dams. In the year 2019, seven high pedigreed genetic merit bull calves were imported from Germany under National Dairy Plan-I, which is being operated through National Dairy Development Board, Anand.  The bull calves are selected from the top 15% cows. The Bull Mother Farm and Bull Station are operating under a strict disease surveillance monitoring programme and are maintained in disease free status in line with the protocols of the Western Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL) in Pune, Maharashtra i.e. free from Tuberculosis, John’s disease, Brucellosis, Foot and Mouth disease, Infectious Bovine Rhinotrachitis, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea, Campylobacteriosis and Trichomoniasis.

Frozen Semen Technology

The semen doses produced at the BAIF Central Research Station are as per the Minimum Standard Protocol (MSP) laid down by the Central Monitoring Unit (CMU) constituted by the Government of India, New Delhi. The Semen Freezing Laboratory has an ISO-9001-2008 certification for its quality management system. Semen collection, dilution, packaging, freezing, storage, and handling procedures are improvised and standardized along with intensive in-house research. BAIF guarantees highest standards for attaining the highest rate of conception in the cows and buffaloes bred. Laboratory space, equipment, raw semen and frozen semen doses are monitored by the Quality Control Laboratory to achieve production of frozen semen doses as per international standards. A software has been designed to improve and maintain the quality of frozen semen produced in this laboratory.

To meet the growing demand of superior quality semen, BAIF has upgraded its semen freezing facility to produce 109.16 lakh doses of frozen semen. The semen freezing and embryo transfer laboratory at Dharauli, Jind in Haryana, which was established to produce semen of indigenous cattle breeds with Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharparkar, Haryana, Rathi and Nagori bulls, produced 21.38 lakh semen doses.

BAIF’s livestock development programme is benefitting more than 2.94 million families spread over 305 districts through 4,797 Livestock Development Centres in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Uttarakhand. The semen doses are initially used in BAIF’s Cattle Development Programme and the bulls are proven for satisfactory fertility, prior to their wider distribution. During the period 2019-20, 47,37,327 artificial inseminations were carried with an average conception of 50%. Based on the encouraging response, frozen semen is also being exported to neighbouring countries. 

Semen Inventory

Delivery of semen doses ex-stocks is round the year. The Bull Station houses bulls of exotic cattle breeds (Holstein-Friesian and Jersey), cross-bred (Holstein Friesian and Jersey crosses), indigenous breeds (Ongole, Amritmahal, Hallikar, Sahiwal, Gir, Dangi, Khillar, Tharparkar, Krishna Valley, Gangatiri, Red Kandhari, Nimari, Red Sindhi) and buffalo breeds (Murrah, Surti, Jaffarabadi, Bhadavari, Banni, Pandharpuri) which include almost all types of bulls required in the National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding.

Semen Packaging

The frozen semen doses are available in French Mini (0.25 ml) straws. This ensures supply of frozen semen doses in a versatile packing system and fulfils the criterion of potential buyers.

Goat (Buck) semen

In India, Artificial Insemination in goats is relatively less developed as compared to cattle and buffaloes. The main reason is lack of realization of the economic importance of goats who number 135.17 million at present and are growing at more than a million per year as well as availability of goat semen at the doorstep of farmers. The vast germplasm resource of the country consists of 34 well-defined breeds. BAIF has initiated goat buck semen production from 2018 with the objective of attaining improvement in goat breeds of small and marginal farmers to enable production of superior quality germplasm at their doorstep. Presently, the semen doses from Barbari, Beetal, Berari, Black Bangal, Jamnapari, Osmanabadi, Sangamneri and Sirohi are being produced at the Wagholi Goat Semen Station.  

Field Performance Recording

Regular monitoring at BAIF’s cattle development centres has been useful in tracking the record of bulls and their daughters in the field operations. The progeny of some of the BAIF bulls has been acclaimed to be the best with a milk record of over 6500 litres in mature lactation in crossbred cattle and 18 litres peak yield in buffalo under village conditions and more than 7500 kg in HF crossbred cows under farm conditions. The average milk yield of HF crossbreds in BAIF’s operational areas of Maharashtra, is around 3150-3200 kg. The progeny resulting from the use of crossbred bulls on crossbred (inter-se mating), has performed equally well.

Field Progeny Testing

BAIF’s programme for progeny testing of bulls is 37 years old. BAIF declared the test evaluation on purebred Holstein-Friesian and Holstein x Zebu crossbred bulls with excellent progeny test results. The present programme aims at evaluating the crossbred bulls at farmer level management. The contemporary comparison (C.C.) relative breeding value (R.B.V.) for milk of the progeny tested bulls, is presented below. Since 2014, a field progeny testing programme for HF crossbred bulls is also being implemented in Uttar Pradesh under National Dairy Plan-I. So far, semen doses of 85 bulls are being used for test insemination and the batch of progenies are in milk recording stage.

Notations Used     

* Indicates Limited Semen Doses

** Indicates Reserved Semen Doses

New Frontier- Sex sorted semen of cattle and buffalo breeds

The Indian dairy sector is growing at a rapid pace. There is both an opportunity as well as a need for Indian farmers to improve the productivity of their milch cattle and scale up the programme to improve the national production and increase their economic benefits. Cattle husbandry among Indian farmers in the past was primarily to supply draft power for crop farming. Agricultural mechanization is reducing the utility of male cattle and buffaloes for draft purpose and the primary objective of cattle keeping is now shifting towards dairying. The increase in AI coverage is also expected to produce several millions of male animals whose utility is reducing due to increasing agricultural mechanization and the socio-cultural ban on cattle slaughter. The male animals are lost from the system either through early calf mortality, due to neglect, or release into the village common land where they graze unattended. These males become a hazard and defy the planned breeding intervention due to indiscriminate crossing while grazing, transmission of venereal diseases, damage and loss of agricultural crops while competing for the already scarce feed and fodder resources. They also create problems for general disease control, as they do not undergo regular preventive vaccinations.

In the changing scenario, sex sorted semen is the need of the hour as it benefits the farmer community to hasten the production of replacement heifers, lesser dependency on purchase of heifers, less male calves, rapid increase in milk production, better use of constrained feed, fodder resources, climate change mitigation strategy and production of bulls and daughters for progeny testing. Based on the success with the use of sorted semen, a Sorted Semen facility has been set up at the BAIF semen station at Urulikanchan, Pune in Maharashtra. The semen sorting facility at this station has been established in collaboration with Sexing Technologies (ST), Texas, USA.  Major emphasis is on production of sex sorted semen doses of Indigenous dairy breeds and buffaloes. Semen of pure bred exotic and crossbred bulls is also being produced. All the selected bulls will be above the MSP of the Government of India with respect to genetic merit and will meet the health protocols. Apart from off-the shelf availability, sex sorted semen for specific breeds, can be custom-produced as per the requirement. Under the BAIF Cattle Development Programme, more than 1,50,000 sorted semen inseminations has been carried out with 44.3% conception rate and 90% female births have been recorded in the field. The sorted semen doses of indigenous breeds of Sahiwal, Gir, Tharparkar, Rathi, Red Sindhi and buffalo breeds of Murrah, Jaffarabadi as well as purebred HF, Jersey and its crosses of 50% and 75%, are available with BAIF, Urulikanchan.

Abbreviations

AM - Amrit Mahal

CC - Contemporary Comparison

D - Donor

Dam - Bulls Mother

Dtr. Av. - Daughter average

ET - Embryo Transfer

G - Gir

GEBV - Genomic Breeding Value

H - Hallikar

HF - Holstein Friesian

J - Jersey

KF - Karan Fries

Kh - Khillar

M.Y. - Milk Yield

ND - Non- Descript

NDP - National Dairy Plan

O - Ongole

R - Recipient

R.B.V. - Relative Breeding Value

RK - Red Kandhari

RS - Red Sindhi

S - Sahiwal

Sire - Bulls Father

Std - Standard

Th - Tharparkar

UID - Unique Identification