Breed improvement for tropical dairy
Ronald Nigh (email@example.com)
Fri, 15 Nov 1996 21:58:33 -0600
I have lost the original posting on this so I don't quite recall the
full request. It is ironic that Pakistan would be buying Canadian
Holsteins. I believe Pakistan is the original home of the Sahiwal Zebu, a
milk producing brahma that is now bred in Australia and has been crossed in
New Zealand with Holstein to create an F-1 dual-purpose cow for the tropics.
Some of these were brought to Mexico and were used in an experiment I was
involved with a couple of years ago. We were able to gear up a milk and meat
producing ranch that met full organic standards, entirely grass-fed through
management intensive grazing that was far more profitable than anything else
in the country.Wonderful animals. Too bad Mexico isn't really interested in
I am not sure this breed is still available from NZ but it had a
number of excellent characteristics for the tropics. For one thng, it is
small (<450kg) with a high udder. These US and Canadian tanks they send down
here with their udders dragging in the mud are truly heart-rending. I
understand that Cuba started out with the latter but over the years have
naturally ended up with a smaller Holstein--that would be one place to look
for interesting stock for the tropics. The NZ F-1 was a grass eating
dynamo, making local cattle look like turtles. And it was tick resistant.
Also with NZ genetics they were great, realiable breeders. NZ has a computer
databse with the pedigree and records of every cow in the country. You
really know what your getting when you buy animals in New Zealand. Also New
Zealand cattle are bred for pasture and grazing, not feed grain and BST. We
really wanted to go ahead to develop a Mexican tropical breed based on the F-1.
The NZ Holstein is a unique animal--its small size and other
characteristiccome from the history of NZ's swtch from Jersey to Holstein
years ago--an interesting story.
The creators of the F-! in New Zealand once suggested to me that
they may not have chosen the Sahiwal if they had first found the Brazilian
Gir. I understand that the Brazilian Biodynamic Institute is working with a
Gir-Holstein cross for dual purpose, but I have no information about its
When our project ran out of money we were looking into the Senepol
as another heat resistance breed. Unfortunately, it seemed that US breeders
were intent on breeding out the characteristics we were interested in,
including its adaptation to grazing! Also, we never found any data on milk
The tropics is the greatest grass producing region in the world. We
need a small, resistant grass-eater with good milk production and
well-managed grass farms and we'll have the most competitive dairy industry
on the planet--on one tenth the land surface now dedicated to unproductive
pastureland in the tropics today.
I hope these garbled notes are useful. In any case we would be very
interesting in hearing about any progress in breed impovement for the
tropics. Thank you.
PS. I am afraid I cannot agree about the Water buffalo as an option. A very
nice animal, but not appropriate for tropical dairy or dual purpose grass
farming. You might consult with Dr. Hugh Poponoe at the U of Florida about
Water buffalo, he's had considerable experience and I think may even have
some animals he'd like to get rid of.
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