New sex-sorting tech to multiply milch animal count


A domestically developed, relatively inexpensive technology that could lead to the reproduction of female calves through artificial insemination will be available to India’s dairy farmers by the end of this year. The technique of sorting out “Y” chromosomes – which causes male calves to be born – from processed bull semen is expected to multiply the population of dairy animals and increase their productivity.

The sorting technology was developed by NDDB Dairy Services (NDS), a subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), in collaboration with Bengaluru-based Jiva Science, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai and the USA developed National Center for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru.

The cost of the sexed semen developed using this technology would be around Rs. 250 per dose, much less than the imported sexed semen which costs Rs. 1,500-2,000 per dose.

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Currently, bovine semen sex sorting technology is sourced from US-based Sexing Technologies and supplied in-country by ST Genetics India.

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Without sex sorting, the chances of producing female calves through artificial insemination (AI) are only about 50%.

“Our field trials in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu show that the success rate of an animal giving birth to only one female calf is in the 88-90% range,” CP Devanand, Deputy MD, NDS, told FE. He said that 25 female calves have been produced using this technology so far. “We will commercialize the technology by the end of this year,” he said.

“By using sexed semen, dairy farmers can raise the herd faster and more internally. This technology also reduces the number of unwanted male milk calves,” says an official statement from the Department of Animal Husbandry.

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NDS currently manages four seed stations at Sabarmati Ashram Gaushala near Ahmedabad, Animal Breeding Center near Lucknow, Alamadhi Seed Station near Chennai and Rahuri Seed Station near Pune. These stations produce approximately 50 million doses of semen from high-yielding native cows, crossbreeds and buffalo under the Superior Animal Genetics brand.

Around 120 million doses of semen are produced by bulls every year in 54 semen production facilities in the country.

India has ranked first among the world’s milk-producing nations since 1998, when it overtook the United States as the world’s largest milk producer. Milk is the country’s largest agricultural commodity and is currently valued at 9.32 trillion rupees.

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India’s milk production has grown at a compound annual growth rate of about 6.2% to 209.9 million tonnes (mt) in 2020-21, up from 146.3 mt in 2014-15. There are around 80 million farmers involved in dairy farming, with an average herd size of 2-3 animals.

In order to improve productivity and increase milk production, the Government has allocated Rs 2,400 crore under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission for the genetic upgrading of the cattle population and the development and maintenance of native breeds of cattle for the period 2021-22-2025-26.

As part of the mission, various technologies – AI, sex-sorted semen, in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, genomic selection, etc. will be made available to farmers, according to officials. The government’s goal is to increase milk production by almost 300 tons in 2025-26.





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