Buffalo, The Major Source of Milk Production, and, Meat

Buffalo, The Major Source of Milk Production and Meat


Buffalo plays an important role in farming economy of Asian, European, African, and Latin American countries. Buffalo is being progressively known as an animal for milk, meat, and draft amongst farm livestock. Despite contribution of buffalo for usage of many purposes, this animal has not received desired attention for its care and growth. Major hurdle in the enrichment of production potentials of buffaloes is inadequate research and knowledge. However, many scientific researchers have been executed for care, growth and development of cattle.

Water buffaloes are large animals belonging to the Bovidae , which are a crucial livestock species in southern Asia, also as in South America, southern Europe, and northern Africa. It is estimated that there are approximate 158 million water ox in the world, 97% of which inhabit tropical and subtropical parts of Asia. However, there a minimum of one buffalo for every three heads of cattle.

The classification of the water ox currently remains unresolved. Some researchers consider one species, water buffalo , with three subspecies: swamp buffalo or carabao (Bu. bubalis carabanesis), river buffalo (Bu. bubalis bubalis) and therefore wild water ox or arni (Bu. bubalis arnee). Others consider these to be closely related, but separate species. In 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature ruled in favor of classing the wild buffalo as a separate taxon. As a result, the wild forms are now usually mentioned as Bu. arnee and the domestic forms as Bu. bubalis. However, previous usage remains acceptable for those authors who regard them as conspecific. Swamp buffalo and river buffalo are believed to be derived from wild water ox due to products since thousands of years in Asia. River buffalo consists of 50 chromosomes and swamp buffalo has 48 chromosomes. Remaining two are not readily inter breed while fertile progeny can happen.

Swamp buffalo are predictably raised for draught purposes in paddy farming regions and; river buffalo are retained to get fresh milk and ghee production. The animals are slaughtered for meat consumption once they reach the top of their working lives and are often during a poor condition when this happens. Male calves that aren't needed as replacements aren't always used for meat production and therefore the surplus stock are normally allowed to die from inanition. Water buffalo provides source of meat in countries near Caspian and Black Seas, where these are slaughtered in the age approximate 18 months having 300–360 kg live weight and dress out at approximate 55%.

Buffalo account for about 80 million metric plenty of milk and three million metric plenty of meat annually to world food supplies, much of it in parts of the planet that are prone to nutritional imbalances. In addition they're a serious source of draft power in much of the undeveloped world, which is why buffalo are called the ‘live tractors of the East’ (Cockrill, 1970). Therefore, it's surprising that little or no resources and scientific effort have gone into developing superior buffalo breeds almost like that of cattle, albeit there's abundant genetic variety of this species. Sound breeding programs can also produce good quality milk.


Buffalo are the second largest source of milk supply within the world.  As per figures of UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) published during 2004, world production of buffalo milk was 75.8 million metric tons. As per trends shown in world, milk production volume of buffalo milk is increasing about 3% per year. While dairy cow produce 84% of the entire milk within the world it's to be noted that this volume is with a mean fat and protein content of 4% and 3.5%, respectively (FAO, 2007). buffalo milk consists of about 7.5% to almost 9% fat, while proteins content ranges from 4% to 4.5%. Thus, in terms of energy-corrected milk, buffalo milk accounts for about twice the food contribution suggested by the particular volume of buffalo milk produced yearly.

Buffalo are less tolerant of extremes of warmth and cold than most cattle breeds. Body temperature of buffalo is lower than other cattle in spite of their black thick skin (three times thicker than cow) absorbs the sun’s radiant heat energy very effectively. Skin of a buffalo has only one-sixth density of sweat glands as compared to a cow. This is why buffalo wish to wallow in water or mud pools when the temperature and humidity are high. Maintenance of body temperature in this way impacts feed intake, milk production and reproduction. Generally, dairy cow is considered to be suitable in age of first calving i.e. 24-30 months. 12 to13 months should be calving interval, with lactation length of 300 days, a 60–90 day dry period, and milk production of between 6000 and 7000 kg per lactation. Comparing to buffalo with their own species-specific productive and reproductive characters, a buffalo heifer is on average around 40 to 60 months at first calving. Productive characters can be developed through other selective breeding practices. Average calving intervals is ranged between 15 to 18 months in India and Pakistan. Dry periods have been observed from 90 to 150 days in Pakistani Nili-Ravi, and 60 to 200 days dry period is being reported in Murrah ranges. However, average lactation span is ranged from 252 - 270 days. As a results of these factors the productive lifetime of a dairy buffalo is merely 39% of its total life, compared to a shocking 52% in developed modern dairy cattle breeds.

In buffalo milk-producing countries of Asia, it's observed that there are large differences due to the season in breeding and calving in buffalo. In India and Pakistan, 80% of the buffalo calve during June and December, causing a decline in milk production from March to June. Production starts in June and reaches at the highest around in September-October before declining again. However, early summers weaken in milk production due to heat stress and shortage of forage greens. Buffalo have survival mechanisms to pursue water for involvement in these conditions, but extreme heat and cold significantly affect their milk production and reproductive efficiency. In addition to climatic influences, it is clear that poor nutrition and management have an adverse effect on breeding and milk production.

Changes in breeding, feeding and management can cause notable improvements within the milk production and reproductive performance of buffalo (Sastry et al., 1988). An obvious though neglected target has been checking out why the primary calving occurs at such a late age. Attention is required from birth to the time heifers reach breedable body size could bring down the age of six to nine months. It has been shown that balanced feeding could bring buffalo heifers into cycle once they reach 330 kg weight. It has also been observed that heifers have calved at 20 - 24 months. Calving intervals in buffalo are influenced by the irregular and silent heat period also as some reported irregularities in reproductive hormones throughout the year. Seasonal breeding in buffalo is observed due to diminished sexual activity during Marchs and Junes. However, these animals are believed to be seasonal breeders, it's also been reported that they will breed throughout the year if reproduction management is sweet. Thus, it seems clear that there are several important management factors to think about so as to enhance milk production in buffalo including management of nutritional status of the dam around calving, balanced feeding, good milking management  throughout the year.

Post a Comment