The Desert’s Livestock Species Have Tremendous Potential for Milk Produciton


The Cholistan is the cradle of precious desert livestock breeds and camel is one of the core livestock. The famous Marrecha breed of camel and Cholistani cattle are the backbone of the desert economy and livelihood1. The Brela or Malgade with high yielding camel breed come to the desert after the monsoon. Brela

The interest of scientists and policymakers have been inclined in last few years and many interventions are introduced in the beautiful living desert of Cholistan. Contest for milk competitions are held almost every year and the main species is the camel. The contest of this year was attended and reported by Dr. Sajjad Khan (a well known international professor for animal breeds and breeding). I hereby copy his email to briefly tell about the milking contest and the livestock breeds participating.

Heartening story of Camel and Cholistani cattle

Dear All
In the gloomy scenario of recent camel article shared at dad-net regarding camels in Rajastan (India), we have a good news from across the border in Pakistan. Camel milk competition for this year concluded a few days back and Maricha breed (known for racing and dance) is a new addition in the milk competitions as it produced 18.94 liters in 36hrs under natural conditions. Natural conditions include no concentrate, no message and no injections of any sort and a sand-and-rain storm on day 2nd of the competition etc.  Brela breed (on the right) which is known as better milk producer gave 23.24 liters (in 36hrs). Less than our expectations, animals had traveled as far from as 72 hrs of walk before the competition. Pictures are from a national newspaper where Government is congratulating winners (and supporting camel keepers).Camel milk winners 2016.png
Another good news is that first time ever we had an exclusive Cholistani cattle show along with the camel show. Cholistani is parent breed of Sahiwal and probably hardest of all the tropical breeds we have as it survives in Cholistani desert. The first position went to a cow (among 62 competing) producing 30. 54 liters (cow on the right).
Cholistani milk winners 2016.png
The second position was secured by a cow from a government farm. For me, the beauty competition was even more fabulous as Cholistani has all sort of colors and animals without makeups were still amazing. Picture of a young bull (4th position holder) is attached as its color is the most preferred color (black splashes on the light background). It was a wonderful opportunity to be with my own people whom I had never met and learning how they survive in the harshest conditions. The temperature there may reach 52C in summer and of course no electricity.
Cholistani bull beauty - 4th.jpg
Let us not despair, keep trying and I agree with many things pointed out by Dr. Razik.
Best regards
Sajjad”
Reference
1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cholistanthe-future-food-basket-dr-abdul-raziq-kakar?trkSplashRedir=true&forceNoSplash=true

The ‘Goat Walk’ of Dancing Goats and Turbans


A public letter of Dr. Sajjad Khan. He is Professor and Chairman of the Animal Breeding and Genetics  Department, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

Image

Dear colleagues

Catwalks and bull walks are common vocabulary terms yet, ‘goat walk’ may be something new for many of you debating conservation and improved utilization of animal genetic resources, every day. We here in Pakistan are bombarded with information relevant to many negative events, perhaps to keep a common person surprised and vulnerable. The sober events are rarely reported and of course, if ‘dignitaries’ are missing in such events, print and electronic media do not waste space. Of course, there may be more thrilling events than goats wearing turbans.

We are rich in genetic diversity. Language changes after a crew flight and so are the goat breeds which are at least 36. Since we are executing a goat conservation effort, I am happily reporting that people are trying to conserve a breed of goat called Nachi (dancing) through appreciation of its characteristic walk.

The shows are held in southern Punjab (Utch Sharif, District of Bahawalpur), the home track of the breed and our project area. The meat is the primary product while milk is also consumed but people keep the breed more for its unique dancing gait than the consumable products. For these shows, farmers gather from all the surrounding areas on foot, the evening before the show. The rehearsal is done that evening. Of course few come with tractors tied trollies to haul their goats and village supporters. ‘Goat walk’ is held early in the morning as heat is not bearable afterward and there are no tents or chairs.

For this event, held last week, there were 22 farmers and a number of goats per farmer varied between 3 and 20. One had to walk in front of the flock. You cannot carry a stick but can have wooden handle ax on your shoulder, most had. You cannot use your hands to guide goats. Can whistle or call goats verbally but not repeatedly. Walk about a 100 yard in front of semi circled chanting and gasping people with an occasional child or two crossing in front and return back to the starting point. A judge will follow your flock at a distance and may ask you to repeat the walk. Turning back should be as smooth as possible and flocks ability to keep intact and follow you will be judged by the judge. The leading goat (with a most beautiful walk) among the flock will be decorated with a white turban if you win (meet the minimums) and there was no limit on a number of winners. If all participating flocks had the ability to win a turban, all will be given a turban. Now you can dance (alone or with villagers) and give charity to drum beaters and kids and can even through currency in the air. Everything is on a self-help basis with the major contribution from a well to do locally. Every few villages seem to have one such person. Next time, we will try to have turbans for the owners as well.

A few years back Nachi was considered vulnerable. Out goat show last year also helped to bring it back. We plan the second national goat show this October and hope breeds such as Nachi are not vulnerable anymore. Let’s help people feel good of what they are doing by keeping and raising these indigenous breeds. Will report on National Goat Show being planned for this year in (October, 19-21) here at the University. Everybody is invited. Videos for this event will be posted on the project website (http://www.fangrpk.org/). Until then bye bye.

Best Regards

Sajjad