Indigenous breeds are well adapted to our agro-climatic conditions and are resistant to many tropical diseases and can survive and produce milk on poor feed and fodder resources. Some of these breeds are well known for their high milk and fat production. However, the production potential of these animals has deteriorated over a period of time due to lack of selection. The high producing exotic breeds do not have the above characteristics and are very difficult to manage in tropical Indian scenario. Hence, indigenous breeds should be improved.

Choice of breed or breed combination primarily depends on resource availability, climatic conditions, availability of required inputs (feed and healthcare facilities), availability of market for milk, criteria for milk pricing etc. In resource poor situations, indigenous cattle and/or buffaloes could be preferred while with moderate to good resources crossbred cow could be preferred. Places where fat % is the price criteria, buffaloes may be preferred.

Economic animal is one which produces one calf in a year, resistant to diseases; produce maximum milk with minimum input cost i.e. minimal per litre milk production cost.

Every state has defined its own breeding policy based on geographical and climatic conditions of the state and distribution of different breeds in the state. Breeding policy is a guideline to indicate what breed and breed combination or exotic blood level is most suitable in the given agro climatic condition of the state. It should be followed to get the optimum output from your animals and to conserve the native breed available in the state.

Semen procured only from A and B graded semen stations should be used. The semen used should be in accordance with the breeding policy of the state. The semen doses must be carried in cryocan (not in any other container).

All AITs may not always carry the semen as per the breeding policy of the state so being an aware and progressive farmer one should be vigilant and should insist to know the breed, exotic blood level and pedigree details of the bull, the semen of which is being used to breed your animal.

Sire directory contains pedigree details of all bulls in the semen station. Ideally it should be available with AI technician if not, then the farmer may ask the AIT to obtain it from the semen station.

No, AI is not a treatment for infertility or repeat breeding. It is an artificial method to inseminate an animal with semen of disease free High Genetic Merit (HGM) bull. If an animal is not able to conceive through natural service due to infertility then it won’t conceive even through artificial insemination.

If done at correct time of heat using good quality semen and using correct AI technique following Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) one dose of semen is sufficient for successful conception. However, in a few cases, if the heat period is extended beyond normal duration; ovulation is also delayed and in such cases, second insemination may be required.

No, the animal should never be taken to a bull after AI.

Success rate of 40% and above will be appropriate.

Yes, AI in buffaloes is as successful as in cows. However, proper care should be taken for detection of heat and timely insemination of buffaloes for higher conception. The only problem one encounters with buffalo is silent heat where in animals do not exhibit heat symptoms overtly and duration of heat is also reduced.

Analysing large number of observations has revealed that there is no adverse effect of AI on male: female ratio, calf birth weight or milk production of dam. These are superstitions or myths which are propagated by vested interests without any scientific evidence.

Use of semen from indigenous bulls like Sahiwal/Gir/Red Sindhi etc. is most suitable depending on resources or breeding policy of the state. If the farmer has resources to maintain a crossbred animal and the state breeding policy permits it, he can use pure HF/Jersey semen for production of a crossbred progeny.

Milk recording helps the farmer to get a complete lactation record of his animal. He also gets an idea of performance of his animal as compared to the performance of other animal in his herd or village. This information helps him to take a decision on managing the animal, whether to retain it, cull it or use it for production of progenies for herd replacement.

Milk yield is not the sole criteria for judging the performance of the animal. Milk should also be tested for other milk components like fat, protein and lactose content as these parameters decide the market price of milk.

Body confirmation and growth rate are highly and positively correlated to production and reproduction traits.

To ensure production of disease free semen, it is necessary that they are free from diseases which may be transmitted through semen. Therefore, whenever HGM bulls are produced, the bull calf as well its mother is tested to confirm their disease free status.

Semen having sperms to produce more progenies of a desired sex (with about 80-90% accuracy) is known as sexed semen.

It is reported that use of sexed semen gives 80-90% accuracy as compared to conventional semen straws where male: female ratio is about 50:50. However, as sperm concentration in sexed semen straw is far less than the conventional semen straw and the sorting procedure itself damages the sexed sperm, conception rate is 10 to 20 % less with sexed semen as compared to normal semen.

Currently no agency is producing sexed semen in India so it has to be imported. Sexed semen is not available with all AITs. Sexed semen is not available for all breeds of cattle and buffalo in India, presently it is available for only HF and Jersey breeds. As sexed semen is imported, approval from state AH department is required to use it and keeping complete records of progeny born out of imported semen is mandatory.

Sexed semen is available at the rate of Rs.1,500 to 2,000 per dose. However, some states are making it available at a subsidized rate.

In ET technique, the embryos produced out of elite cow and buffalo is transferred to a recipient animal which acts as a surrogate mother and carries the embryo to full term. ET is a technique to increase the reproduction rate of genetically superior females – to get more calves in a life time than possible through normal reproduction. However, for ET one needs reproductively healthy animals. An embryo cannot be transferred using an AI gun and requires specialized skills and transfer equipment.

No, ET is not an alternative to AI to get the animal conceived. If the cow is not conceiving through AI, the animal will not even conceive through ET.

ET services cannot be provided at farmer’s level on individual basis. However ET is being carried out by a few organisations in India namely, SAG, Bidaj (Gujarat), PBGSBS, Haringhata (West Bengal), PLDB, Chandigarh, (Punjab), ULDB, Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and BAIF, Pune (Maharashtra) to produce HGM bulls for semen production.

No, ET does not provide a choice on the sex of the calf.