UVAS, Lahore – Livestock sector plays a very important role in Pakistan’s economy. It contributes 11.6 percent in national GDP and 55.1 percent of agriculture share. There are approximately 32.7 million buffaloes in Pakistan which constitute about 15 percent of the world buffalo population. There are five known buffalo breeds in the country named as Nili, Ravi, Nili-Ravi, Kundi and Aza Kheli. Nili-Ravi and Kundi are the two main breeds with 38 percent and 25 percent of the total population, respectively.
Traditionally, animals are purchased and sold on the basis of physical appearance and no system of record keeping exists at field level. However, type and conformation are very important where ‘type’ is a term commonly used to describe the physical qualities of an animal. Linear type traits are considered the basis of all modern type classification systems for describing the dairy animals. Linear classification is based on measurement of individual type trait instead of opinion.
Generally, farmers use type classification as a management tool in breeding and selection decisions. Type traits are very important because they are correlated with milk production. One of the objectives of the study was to standardize method for buffaloes to select animals with proper body characteristics suitable for milk production.
Nili-Ravi buffalo herds maintained at five Livestock Experiment Stations in Punjab and some private breeders were utilized in this study. The results are as under:Skin thickness has been found under the genetic control and can be improved through selection and breeding keeping in view its importance and demand in the leather industry.
The negative genetic correlation of skin thickness in the neck region with 305 days milk yield advocates the thinking of farmers about the negative correlation of skin thickness with milk yield. It may be used for indirect selection for improved milk yield in Nili-Ravi buffaloes.
The following points are suggested for farmers at field level: Record keeping is the basic need for improvement in any business. Farmers should start record keeping of their animals including date of purchase or birth, dam number (Mother), sir number (Father), date of pregnancy, name or number of bull used for pregnancy, date of calving, sex and number of new born calf, milk recording once a month and date of dry. These records will help the farmer to keep or cull that buffalo.
Buffaloes with good type and body conformation even somewhat costly at initial stage are better milk producers and produce more milk on life time basis.Nili-Ravi buffaloes of relatively heavy size, more body length and girth, wedge shaped with angular and well sprung ribs, more body weight and with thin skin are better milk producers and should be selected and purchased accordingly.