Artificial Insemination in Cattle and Buffaloes

‘Artificial insemination’ is a technique wherein the processed semen sample is deposited into the reproductive tract of the female in estrus with the help of a catheter. In the natural service the bull ejaculates the semen in the vagina or near cervix. The sperms swim through the walls of the vagina, pass through the cervix and uterus and finally reach the fallopian tube to fertilize the ovum.

Artificial insemination can be dated back to 1780 when an Italian scientist Lazzaro Spallanzani first tried artificial insemination in a bitch and could successfully produce pups. Later Russians also tried artificial insemination in mares successfully and by 1930 the use of A.I became popular and large number of sheep and cows were inseminated. Slowly several countries adopted this technique as a routine method of breeding. In the beginning for artificial insemination liquid semen was used and the success rate was not so encouraging due very short life of the semen and difficulties in preservation and transport to A.I units. This problem was solved after introduction of cryopreserved semen stored in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 degrees Celsius.
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Infertility in Cattle and Buffaloes – Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Infertility is a temporary disturbance of reproductive function wherein the cow or the buffalo cannot become pregnant and produce a calf. Normally a good and healthy animal should calve for every 12-14 months interval. If not, it is an economical burden to the farmer since an unproductive animal has to be maintained. Also a cow should come to estrus within 90 days after calving otherwise the calving interval is prolonged. Infertility is also due to poor management of calves resulting in delayed puberty and first calving. Therefore good management practices should be adopted right from the calf hood.
Sterility is a total loss of fertility and maintaining such animals is a waste and should be culled. Whereas infertility is a temporary loss of fertility can be corrected if diagnosed in the right time and can be assisted.
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Fodder Cultivation for Dairy Animals

Fodder production is an important and major activity of the dairy farms. The major expenditure is spent on feeding cattle with fodder occupies a large share. If nutritious fodder is fed to cattle considerable amount can be reduced on feeding with concentrates. If the expenditure is minimized on concentrates the cost of milk production will become cheaper making the farm profitable. Purchasing fodder from outside will be a costly affair and therefore self cultivation should be done. Generally speaking one acre of land is sufficient to grow fodder for four dairy animals. According to the availability of land the number of animals to be maintained in the farm should be planned. There are several fodder crops, leguminous fodders, perennials, annual crops and fodder trees available for cultivation. The planning should be done carefully so that there is no shortage of fodder throughout the year. When there is surplus fodder in flush seasons fodder can be conserved as dry fodder, Hay and silage for feeding when there is scarcity. The following fodders can be grown in wide agro climatic conditions.
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Starting a Commercial Dairy Farm

Maintaining cows and buffaloes for milk production on commercial lines is a profitable venture now a day since there is a great demand for milk and milk products consequent to growing population and modernization of living standards. However it should be maintained on scientific methods and in a well planned way. The following points should be considered before taking a decision of starting a dairy unit on commercial lines.

Whether the person going to start a dairy on business lines is having any knowledge in maintenance of cows and buffaloes, milk production, fodder cultivation etc or not. If not, what arrangements are planned to maintain the animals or to undergo training. This is an important factor that the person going to start dairy business should have the basic knowledge in the maintenance of animals, their feeding and other managemental practices. If he is not aware of these things he should undergo some sort of training in a well established farm or personally work there. Working in a farm before starting gives an immense experience than training. Further he/she should also know which type of dairy animal is most suitable to start. This is important because in some areas there is a high demand for buffalo milk and in some places there will be a demand for cow milk. Therefore basing on the demand and marketing for milk the farm can be started with cows or buffaloes. The other factor to be considered is financial situation of the person. He should estimate the investment he has to make on purchase of land, animals, and housing of animals, feed costs, and labour costs before starting. This will help him to calculate the amount to be invested and if necessary to get support from the banks. Banks also demand such statements from the farmer to sanction loan. Setting up of a dairy unit involves lot of expenditure. Therefore financial planning should be done properly with the help of experienced persons. The other important factor to be considered is the fodder production to feed the animals. Green fodder is very essential for the farm animals since the cost of milk production get reduced if the animals are fed from the farm own produced green grass. Feeding concentrates can be reduced if sufficient green fodder is available. Further he also should assess the water resources available to cultivate fodder. The land selected should be suitable for cultivation of green grass. More so the individual starting the dairy business should be confident in the above points before establishing the dairy unit.
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Ascariasis or Round Worm Infestation (Toxocariasis) in Buffalo Calves

‘Toxocariasis’ or round worm infestation in buffalo calves is very common disease responsible for high mortality (85%). All young calves get infected but the Zebu calves the disease is rather mild and the mortality is also less than buffalo calves. The disease is caused by round worm Toxocara vitulorum characterized by the presence of three lips, broad at the base and narrow anteriorly and 20-30 cm long. Externally the worm has a thin cuticle and the internal reproductive organs are visible. The disease is a great threat to the buffalo calf owners due to its high mortality and an economical loss. The adult worm harbors in the duodenum of the calves.
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Nasal Schistosomiasis (Snoring Disease) in Cattle

‘Nasal Schistosomiasis’ is a chronic parasitic disease of cattle occasionally buffaloes caused by Schistosoma nasalis. Snails of Indoplanorbis Sp act as intermediary hosts. The disease is characterized by granulomatous growths on the nasal mucous membrane and severe respiratory distress for breathing resulting in snoring. The adult parasite lives in the veins of the nasal cavity. Schistosoma are elongated flukes of 30mm long and the female lies in the longitudinal groove of the male. In the buffaloes the disease is mild and sub clinical and there is no granule formation.
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Fascioliasis (Liver Flukes) in Cattle and Buffaloes

‘Fascioliasis’ is a parasitic disease of cattle and buffaloes caused by nematodes Fasciola hepatica and Fasciola gigantica. It also infects other domestic animals and wild animals. F.hepatica is seen throughout the world but F.gigantica seen in the tropics. Snails of Lymnaea Sp act as intermediary hosts and are responsible for the spread of the disease.
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Amphistomiasis or Paramphistomiasis in Cattle

‘Amphistomiasis ’or stomach fluke disease is a parasitic disease of cattle and sheep caused by immature amphistomes or paramphistome sp characterized by severe diarrhea. The adult parasite does not produce any apparent disease. When the immature parasitic infestation is heavy serious symptoms of the disease are seen. Young animals mostly suffer badly. Adult flukes settle in the rumen and reticulum whereas the immature flukes harbor in the duodenum. Planorbid snails act as the intermediate host. The adult parasites are pear shaped pink or red in color about 15 mm long. The immature flukes are 1-3 mm long round in shape with anterior and posterior suckers. The adult flukes develop in about six weeks to four months time after ingestion of the cercariae.
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Methods to improve Fodder Utilization

Chaffing of fodder:
Fodder is an important feed to the dairy animals. It should be best utilized without wasting. When the harvested fodder is directly fed to cattle they tend to eat the succulent portions and leave the stems and other hard parts of the grass. Therefore if the fodder is chaffed and fed to cattle the animals eat well without wasting any part. Fodders can be chaffed with manually operated or electrically operated chaff cutters.
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Fodder Conservation

Fodder production is an important activity of the dairy farms particularly farms maintained on commercial lines. Without sufficient fodder production there is no dairy farming. Animals need sufficient green fodder along with dry fodder and concentrates. They cannot be maintained alone with concentrates. The cost of the milk production will become high if fed on high concentrate diet. Everybody experience that fodder production varies with seasons. In some seasons particularly in rainy seasons the fodder is generally surplus and in summer months it will be less and fodder becomes shortage. Therefore it is wise to conserve the excess fodder in surplus seasons so as to use it when there is shortage. The green fodder should be preserved well and conserved to maintain palatability and the nutritive values. There are various methods to conserve the green fodder.
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