Cattle accustomed to harsh climate and topography of Western Ghats
Mainstay of farmers:A Malnad Gidda cow gives two to three litres of milk every day.
Malnad Gidda, the dwarf variety of cattle native to
Malnad region known for their extreme shyness, has got national
The National Bureau of Animal
Genetic Resources (NBAGR), a unit of Indian Council of Agriculture
Research, has approved and registered Malnad Gidda as a breed.
a letter to Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences, the
Government of Karnataka on June 29, B.K. Joshi, Director of NBAGR, has
said that the Breed Registration Committee of NBAGR in a meeting held on
May 14 has approved the registration of Malnad Gidda as a breed. The
accession number accorded for Malnad Gidda by NBAGR is
the livestock census of 2007, the State had 12,81,493 Malnad Gidda
cattle. This variety of cattle is reared by the farmers in Uttara
Kannada, Shimoga, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Chikmagalur, Hassan and
Kodagu districts. The body of Malnad Gidda is small and compact. A
Malnad Gidda cow will be 81 to 88 centimetres tall and 88 to 90
centimetres in length. They can run fast and jump up to the height of 4
Malnad Gidda cattle are accustomed to the harsh
climate and topography of Western Ghats. This variety of cattle has
also developed resistance to foot and mouth disease. K.P. Ramesha,
Principal Scientist with National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), said
even if they are infected with foot and mouth disease, they show mild
tongue lesions. The cattle can recover from the disease in three to four
days. Mr. Ramesh had played crucial role in getting recognition for
Malnad Gidda from NBAGR.
The cost of maintenance of
Malnad Gidda is low. As small and marginal farmers form the major chunk
of population in Malnad region, these dwarf variety of cattle play
crucial role in agriculture activities here. The well-built males are
castrated and used for cultivation. They can till the land braving heavy
downpour the region receives in monsoon.
sent to graze in the forests from morning till evening. Even in the
shed, they are fed small quantity of grass and ‘indi,’ a mixture of
horse gram, broken rice and oil cake. In some areas of Malnad where
grass is plenty, the cost for its rearing is zero. A normal cow can
yield two to three litres of milk per day. Some cows in this breed yield
four to five litres of milk also.
According to Mr.
Ramesha, the milk production by Malnad Gidda can be enhanced by
selecting healthy bulls and cow with high lactic capacity for
reproduction. The income level of the local farmers will also increase
through such experiments, he said. Speaking to
over telephone, member of Western Ghats Task Force B.M. Kumaraswamy said
that as Malnad Gidda feed on grass, leaves and berries in the forest of
Western Ghats, the milk they yield has medicinal quality.
is necessary to conduct research in this regard. The Government should
establish an institute to conduct study and research on Malnad Gidda
breed. The recognition from NBAGR will sure motivate some of the farmers
in Malnad region who are striving to conserve this rare cattle breed,
G. KRISHNA PRASAD
'Nandana', No-7, 2nd Cross,
7th Main, Sulthanpalya, Bangalore-560 032
Phone: 080-23655302 / 9880862058
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Software engineer by profession, or rather the job that pays, Otherwise, a writer, guitarist, traveler by passion. I write for a monthly e-zine for Sattva, which focuses on social sector, initiatives around Bangalore. Have worked with number of NGOs mostly in educational area in Bangalore......read more