The rising of cattle for milk farming is known as dairy farming.
It is a practice that involves the proper maintenance of cattle and the collection and processing of milk and milk products useful to man.
The production and marketing of milk and its products is known as dairying.
The cattle breeds of India comprise of cows and buffaloes. These animals that belong to two different species, Bos indicus (Indian cows and bulls) and Bos bubalis (buffaloes) are domesticated for various uses such as milk, meat, leather and transportation.
These animals are reared for milk and farm labour. Based on this, they are classified into three types. They are as follows:
- Dairy breeds
- Draught (or) Draft breeds
- Dual-purpose breeds
1. Dairy breeds:
These are the animals that are domesticated for obtaining milk. The milk-producing female cows are high milk yielders (milk animals).
There are two dairy breeds involved. They are as follows:
a. Indigenous breeds:
The breeds, which are the natives of India, are known as Indigenous breeds. These cattle have strong limbs, prominent humsp and loose skin. The production of these animals' milk depends upon the duration of the lactation period (the phase of milk production after the birth of a calf), and these animals are highly resistant to diseases.
Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, Deoni and Gir
b. Exotic breeds (Bos Tauraus) are animals that are imported from other countries. They are chosen for their long lactation periods.
Jersey, Brown Swiss and Holstein-Friesian etc.
2. Draught (or) draft breeds:
These include the animals used for agricultural work, such as tilling, irrigation and carting. Bullocks are good draft animals; the cows are poor milk producers.
Amritmahal, Kangayam, Umblachery, Malvi, Siri and Hallikar breeds
Indigenous draught breeds - Native to Tamil Nadu:
These include Kangayam and Pulikulam.
This breed originated from Kangayam and is observed in Dharapuram, Perundurai, Erode, Bhavani, and part of Gobichettipalayam taluk of Erode and Coimbatore district.
This is an indigenous breed that is a native of the Cumbum valley of Madurai district in Tamil Nadu. It is commonly known as the Jallikattumadu and mainly used for penning in the field and useful for ploughing.
3. Dual-purpose breeds:
These are the breeds in which the cows provide milk, and the bulls are used in farm work. These are the breeds that are favoured by the farmers of India.
Some examples of mixed breeds
Ongole, Hariana, Kankrej, Tharparker, Krishna valley, Rathi and Goalo Mewathi