What went wrong with Cattle Breeding in Kerala?

What has Kerala achieved after 50 plus years of cross breeding and after completely eliminating the local breeds. Hmm, let’s see…

  • Sick and unhealthy cows with an average milk production of 9 liters (8.9 to be precise).
  • Milk looks like water for which dairy farmers are regularly checked with a lacto meter and punished.
  • Milk dependency on other states.

More than 95 per cent of the cattle found in Kerala is of hybrid variety.

Hybrid cows in India are high maintenance

  • Water: They seriously need lots and lots of water.
  • Factory feed: They need a lot of commercial feed or their milk production drops drastically.
  • Cow Bed: Need rubberized cow bed to lie down.
  • Fans: Fans to cool them down.
  • Mist: They even need mist shower to create a micro climate.
  • Artificial Insemination: 4 to 5 times or more to conceive.
  • Parturition: Trained vet and people to attend parturition and even remove placenta.
  • Regular Illness: Regular treatment for mastitis, worms, skin diseases, extra hooves growth etc.
  • Vaccination: Vaccination against Foot & Mouth disease, IBR, Pinkeye, Bovine herpes, Anthrax, etc.
  • Labors: Labors to keep shed and cows clean as their loose dung sticks everywhere.
  • Cleaning & Sterilization: Cleaning and sterilization of equipments and everything that is involved with them need lots of man hours and water.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Stress and tension which dairy farmers have to go through every day is excruciating.

Above are some of my observation, there are few more amenities and complications I have left out.

If less than one fourth of the benefits were passed on to Indian zebu cattle. I am sure that some pedigree would have been giving almost the same amount of milk with much less hassles.

Indo-Swiss project destroyed Indian pedigree bulls

Why did all this happen in an Indian state with highest literacy?

All thanks to Indo-Swiss project which was conceived to increase milk production throughout India. As usual Kerala was the first to embrace and implement it to the optimal level, just like other laws.

With this people thought that milk will flow like water.Indeed it did. Only draw back is that milk has become more or like water. What happened was a disaster. We are witnessing it’s repercussions.

All local cows were crossed with Brown-Swiss Bulls.

There was a condition to this project that since native bulls posed a threat to sanctity of the genes of Brown-Swiss breeds, all of them had to be castrated. What followed was a mindless mutilation of cosmic evolution.

Now after years of uncontrolled breeding, what Kerala has is some of the weirdest cows in the whole world. Zebu, Swiss, Jersey, Holstein. As if that was not enough, now we also have the Gir, Shaiwal, Tharparkar. Brazilian hybrid Gir’s first lot is on it’s way to Gujarat.

The breeding program in Kerala started with the Swiss Brown, Jersey, HF. Now even some Indian cows are competing in this league.

The tragic postscript of these policies is that there is rapid decline in cattle population in Kerala and keeping cattle has become an unsustainable venture.

3 Replies to “What went wrong with Cattle Breeding in Kerala?”

  1. I am totally unaware about the animal husbandry and the breeds of cows. But I wanna start with minimum 2 cows. What I should do?

  2. i am lucky to have local breed of cow (2) bulls (2)one is kazarkod dwarf and the other is kapila and a calf. It is thanks to Manoj of Waynad that I have this possession. He made me interested in this and sent me a pair in Tripunithura. I give them only natural food and have not used any factory or other feeds. I am having these breeds for the past 5years and they are hail and healthy. they require very minimum care. The Urine and Dung is also utilised in a better way. The whole area is with natural manure of Cows/bulls. Diseases ??, I have not heard of them for my breeds.

  3. Similar situation in Karnataka
    Here we grow more fodder crops and climate is also some what better and we produce surplus unhealthy A1 milk. In most part of the state Desi breeds are becoming extinct.

  4. Its true sir, another problem is artificial semen implantation which is causing infections and genitical disorders.

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