Performance of Australian Milking Zebu (AMZ) compared with Friesian and AMZ x Friesian

Abstracted from Article by Susan M . Donegan and L. E. Roberts, Animal Production in Australia, Volume 15 pages 325 – 328


Because of resilience in heat tolerance and disease resistance humped cattle have been introduced in many countries for rearing in areas where climate is harsh and temperate climate breeds can’t survive. After few generations these cattle are also known by local name.  For example, Zebu cattle adapted to Australian climate are also know ‘Australian Milking Zebu’. These locally adapted breeds of cattle have also been crossed with Bos taurus and the crossbreds selected for survival resilience. Many comparative studies have been done to understand the performance of Zebu breeds and their crosses. For information of the readers, results of such published experiment is described.

The following data is from a farm near Trace in New South Wales, which is known to be hot and prevalent with ticks. The animals were on pasture and milking animals were supplemented with barley or sorghum @ 2 kg for up to 10 L milk and additional 1 kg for each 5 litre of extra milk in case of AMZ and crosses whereas in case of Friesian cows the supplementation was two-fold higher.

First Lactation

AMZ

Friesian

AMZ xFriesian

Age at calving (months)

27 + 3

41 + 6

26 + 3

Lactation length (days)

296 + 9

276 + 32

294 + 21

Milk (L)

2396 + 237

2987 + 572

2918 + 572

Fat %

5.3

3.9

4.6

Fat Kg

129 + 26

120 + 26

137 + 27

Second Lactation

Age at calving (months)

39 + 2

55 + 5

39 + 4

Calving interval (week)

52 + 1

57 + 5

55 + 5

Lactation length (d)

300

300

296 + 13

Milk (L)

2929 + 305

4295 + 392

3361 + 609

Fat %

5.8

4.2

4.9

Fat Kg 169 + 13 183 + 33

166 + 27

Conclusion: The performance of the three breeds in first and second lactation clearly showed that cost of milk produced by Zebu was much lower than Friesian and its crosses.

Lesson for the Indian farmers: While evaluating the productivity a major point of interest should be cost of milk production and not total milk production alone on a long-term basis. On this account few Indian breeds like Gir and Sahiwal would prove to be more profitable.

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