CIRB achieved significant reduction in mortality in Murrah Buffaloes

India ranks first in the world in milk production, of which buffaloes contribute 56% to the nation’s milk production, in addition to meeting the demand for meat in domestic and international market. With the shrinkage of agricultural land holding, livestock sector especially buffaloes are emerging as a potential source for employment generation for the rural people. Buffalo husbandry is playing a pivotal role in augmenting income and uplifting livelihood of disadvantageous section of society.

Farmers irrespective of their economic background have started rearing the elite germplasm of buffalo. The name “Black Gold” has emerged as a synonym for the one of very popular breed of buffaloes i.e. Murrah, which serve as a capital reserve or cash crop to the rural folk by providing economic stability, livelihood security and social status.

Farmers are facing numerous challenges for rearing the healthy elite buffalo germplasm due to inadequate knowledge and information on buffalo health and nutritional management. Neonates of buffaloes were considered more susceptible to infectious diseases as compared to cattle neonates. Calf mortality is responsible for loss of valuable future germplasm thereby increases future herd replacement cost whereas overall herd mortality is an Index of health status and animal welfare of any herd. Scientists of CIRB cracked the myth of high mortality rate in Murrah buffaloes, by understanding the pathogenesis of the buffalo diseases and their management.

Overall mortality and calf mortility from 2004-05 to Sept. 30, 2012

In CIRB herd, calf mortality rate has been reduced to 0.97 percent in 2012 from the earlier rate as high as 16.75 percent during 2006-07. The overall herd mortality ranges between 0.72 percent during 2012 to 7.58 percent during 2008-09. Decrease in calf mortality up to 72 percent and overall buffalo herd mortality 53.71 percent in the year 2011-12 as compared to the year 2010-11 may be attributed to development of herd immunity against foot and mouth disease and the haemorrhagic septicaemia by periodically vaccination. Passive immunization of calves was also ensured through down clavers vaccination and nutritional management followed by optimum colostrum feeding. Good management practices including nutritional management, hygienic measures, protection from extreme climatic condition, navel disinfection, regular deworming, probiotics supplementation to calves, and timely therapeutic support to sick animals by restricting antibiotics use to the minimum led to combat disease and minimize mortality loss.

These achievements for the welfare of buffaloes in the farm are functioning as a demonstration unit to farmers, livestock enterprenurers and students with a view to disseminate scientific buffalo farming practices. Taking one step ahead by providing technical know how and necessary information time to time at the door step of buffalo farmers having superior buffalo germplasm in the field like sh. Azad Singh, Raman Singh, Ramesh Kumar, Dharmpal, Surender Singh, Roop Singh, and Satish Kumar, significant reduction in mortality rate (<1%) was achieved, which is boosting their enthusiasm for increasing their buffalo herd strength further.

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