“We had prepared the report and submitted it to NBAGR in 2019. This breed has distinct characteristics because of which it has received national recognition,” said Dr K B Kathiria, Vice-Chancellor of Anand Agricultural University (AAU). Kathiria, who is also Director of Research at AAU, had first noticed this distinct breed during field visits to Dahod a couple of years ago.
“The special committee of NBAGR which collects proposals regarding new breeds had visited the sites twice, had carried out its own detailed analysis and at the end of it, it finally recognised Dagri breed,” said Kathiria.
He said that the addition of the breed reflects the biodiversity of livestock in Gujarat. “Out of total 175 breeds of livestock that are nationally recognised, Gujarat has 24 breeds including cows, buffaloes, sheep, goats, horse, camel and donkey breeds that have been conferred independent breed status. It is a big contribution of Gujarat,” he said.
“Now, we need to develop a nuclear herd of this breed, improve it and conserve it in its original tract with original characteristics of its cows and bulls,” he said.
AAU’s veterinary college had carried out phenotypic characterization of the ‘Dagri cow’ which is found suitable in the mountainous regions.
“Compared to other breeds, this cow breed provides much less milk. Its milk production per lactation cycle is in the range of 300 to 400 kg. But the bullocks of this breed are most suitable for farming in hilly terrains. Also, because of its smaller size, its feed requirement is less, making it more economical for tribals who have small farm holdings,” said Kathiria.
With funding from animal husbandry department of Gujarat government, AAU and Kutch-based NGO – Sahjeevan – is conducting surveys of unrecognised breeds by studying their phenotypic and genetic characterization after which such proposals are submitted to the central government through the state government for recognition of such indigenous breeds.