IVF brings high milk yield Gir genes from Brazil to India via local Gaolao cows

November 1, 2021

Shishir Arya

Bullish on test-tube cattle, a Vidarbha farm proprietor is getting pure Gir cows delivered from little-known breeds. The aim is to enhance yield from the usual 8 litres to at least 20 litres per cow.

Nagpur: A frail white cow stands suckling a chestnut calf almost as tall as her at a dairy farm in Dhanori, some 50km from Nagpur towards Amravati. Farm proprietor Sudhir Diwe is breeding high milk yielding Gir cows from the wombs of poorer cousins, the Gaolao.

The Gir breed has become a brand name due to the attention on indigenous cattle these days, but the Gaolao has not gained much fame. Pure Gir calves at this farm have been delivered from Gaolao cows, found in Nagpur and Wardha.

There are 18 calves sired by a famous Brazilian bull Soberano, and mothered by equally famous cow Gauri, but delivered by little-known cattle breeds.

Diwe, former official on special duty to Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, started the dairy business recently. Not the first, but among the first few tech-savvy dairy farmers, Maharashtra Animal and Fishery Sciences University (Mafsu) executive council member Diwe is bullish on test tube cattle. Apart from the 18 one-year-old cattle born in November last year, another 10 are on the way. The effort was also mentioned by Gadkari in a recent event.

This may be the first herd of test tube cattle of Vidarbha, and also perhaps among he highest numbers bred in a single place. Now, Mafsu has also acquired the echnology, and initial operations at concessional rates are expected to start soon.

Diwe got the idea during the yearly Agrovision farm expo organized by Gadkari. A stall was set up by JK Trust, Pune, which is part of the Raymond group, which makes the test tube calves. It’s hoped that the test tube cows will yield at least 20 to 25 litre of milk as compared to over 8 litres from the conventional Gir cattle.

“These are IVF cattle, and it happens the same way as it is done in humans. Soberano is a bull born of a mother who yielded as much as 65 litres of milk. Its semen was imported by JK Trust. The eggs are harvested from Gauri, a cow that yields over 20 litres, and is among the best. On an average the offspring may yield 40 litres but even 25 litres would be enough for a local farmer,” says Diwe.

The frozen semen of a high grade bull like Soberano is used to fertilize egg of cows like Gauri. The embryo formed in an incubator is planted into the womb of a recipient cow.

“The delivering cow can be of any breed, it has to be just good enough to yield couple of litres for the calf. Of course, certain screening is done before zeroing on the recipient. Out of the 18 calves, 5 to 6 were born from Gaolao breed,”
said Diwe.

The whole process was taken up by JK Trust and costs Rs 30,000 a cow. “It’s indeed too expensive for ordinary farmers. To increase the yield of indigenous cattle the government must subsidise the process,” he says.

“The technology was available a little earlier abroad. In India, we are working on it since 2016. Gauri is a star performer and so far we may have produced 500 test tube calves,” says Dr Shyam Zanwar, CEO of JK Trust, who is set to take over as
national mentor to Rashtirya Gokul Mission.

“We started with embryo transplantation of sheep in 1975 for improving the wool production. It was not IVF but in vivi fertilization. It’s slightly different process. Here, the embryo is produced within the donor cow and then transplanted into
the recipient. In IVF, embryos are created outside and then transplanted. After the sheep project ended, in vivo fertilization of cattle continued till 2000,” he said. Zanwar hopes to create test tube offspring of other species too .


Gir is an Indian breed from Gujarat, also exported to Brazil over 50 years ago

Brazil developed high yielding animals, while milk production remains low in India

IVF or test tube calves are being seen as a solution

Semen and eggs of high grade Gir bull and cow are taken,and fertilized in an incubator

After seven days, embryo is implanted in recipient cow of any breed

IVF is also being tried in other breeds like Rathi, Sahiwal, Tharparkar and Ongole

Technology recently acquired by Mafsu, Nagpur as well


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