Out of approximately 55 million breedable buffaloes in India, hardly 15% are bred through AI. This requires over 100,000 bulls for natural service and 1000 bulls for frozen semen production. It is difficult to find quality superior bulls to meet this demand. Genetic improvement programme warrants quality frozen semen production from genetically superior bulls and adoption of AI at large scale. Such bulls are rare, isolated and scattered in the field with few progressive farmers / NGOs and used to the limited extent with natural service in the vicinity. This poses the threat that in due course this invaluable germplasm may get deleted from the gene pool.
CIRB undertook a novel exercise in conservation and propagation of such superior Murrah bulls through semen collection and cryopreservation. Besides obtaining history of pedigree and dam’s production potential, a general examination of bull for breed characteristics and breeding soundness is made. Bulls are tested negative for infectious diseases and those found fit are subjected to collection of semen at farmers’ doorsteps. The collected semen is examined for its normalacy and diluted appropriately with semen extender. Extended semen is brought to the state-of-the-art Semen Freezing Lab. In the meanwhile, it completes the equilibration period. In the laboratory, it is processed for freezing, tested for post-thaw evaluation and stored frozen in semen straws, which are made available to farmers who are interested in such germplasm for improvement of their buffaloes. The owner is paid remuneration or half the frozen doses as per his consent. The program was started in June 2008 with a National Champion Murrah bull named ‘Gholu’ from village Didwadi in Panipat District of Haryana. So far, the semen from the 13 elite bulls, located in various parts of Haryana and Punjab, has been collected and stored frozen. A total of 20,271 doses of frozen semen have so far been produced from such bulls, 10567 doses have been sold/supplied to farmers. At present, 9704 doses are in stock with the Semen Freezing Laboratory, CIRB.