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


Cholistan is 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 policy makers have been inclined in last few years and many interventions are introduced in the beautiful living desert of Cholistan. Contest for milk competetions are held almost each year and the main specie 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 milk contest and the livestock breeds participated.

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 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 massage 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 hardiest of all the tropical breeds we have as it survives in Cholistani desert. First position went to a cow (among 62 competing) producing 30. 54 liters (cow on the right). Cholistani milk winners 2016.pngSecond 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 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. Temperature there may reach 52C in summer and of course no electricity.Cholistani bull beauty - 4th.jpg
Lets not despair, keep trying and I agree with many things pointed out by Dr Razik.
With Best regards
Sajjad”
Reference
1. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cholistanthe-future-food-basket-dr-abdul-raziq-kakar?trkSplashRedir=true&forceNoSplash=true

15 thoughts on “The Desert’s Livestock Species Have Tremendous Potential for Milk Produciton

  1. Here is the comment of Dr Ilse, she is a renowned camel worker in the region.
    I can vouch for what Raziq reports. I have seen with my own eyes how a Brela camel filled two buckets with milk within minutes – about 15 liters. I could hardly believe my eyes. They are the Holstein-Friesian among the camels – giving more milk than a Sahiwal cow. And its all without concentrate, only browsing on the trees that are lining the fields in irrrigated areas.

    About the Cholistani cattle, I can say that they look extremely healthy and beautiful, and are a dual purpose breed. Why have they not been much mentioned before? I think its because the scientists that publish rarely go to the field and do not recognize anything as noteworthy that they have not been taught during their studies….

    Dr. Ilse Köhler-Rollefson

    Butibagh, Sadri 306702, District Pali, Rajasthan, India
    Mobile+91-9829477535
    Skype ilse.rollefson
    http://www.ilse-koehler-rollefson.com

    Projects Coordinator
    League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development
    – We move the world of pastoralists –
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    64372 Ober-Ramstadt
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    Tel. +49-6154-53642, mobil 015785676849
    email ilse@pastoralpeoples.org
    http://www.pastoralpeoples.org

  2. Comments by Datta Rangnekar
    Thanks to Katrien and Dr. Razziq for circulating this very interesting information on high milk yielding Maricha and Brela Camels from Cholistan desert and that shows possibility of developing Dairy Camels.

    The aspect of the report that interested me most is the mention that these camels produce fair amount of milk (19 to 23 lit. in 36 hrs) with hardly any supplementary feeding of concentrates and obviously no cultivated fodder – how would one rate their production efficiency and environment friendliness (should be looked upon differently).

    I am forwarding the report to Vet. University and A.H. Department of Rajasthan and some NGOs as it indicates there is an alternative that can be provided to camel breeders. I am sure Ilse will also circulate the report to her contacts.

    Thanks once again.

    Datta Rangnekar

  3. Comments by Rangnekar
    I would appreciate receiving feed back from Dr Raziq on the following:
    I presume someone has confirmed that Cholistani camels producing 13 to 15 ltrs of milk a day do not get any concentrate. I ask since 13 to 15 ltrs of milk is not a small quantity and animal producing that much should be rated high in terms of ‘Production Efficiency’, Climate Smart Livestock Production’ and ‘Resilience’, since they neither compete for human food nor for land (offering cultivated green fodder is out of question).
    How is it Cholistani cattle did not get publicity (as compared to Sindhi, Sahiwal or Tharparkar) and is it confirmed that it is a parent breed of Sahiwal? What is the feeding regime for cows producing around 20 ltrs / day? Producing 20 ltrs a day in an area where temperatures go beyond 50 deg.C is remarkable. I wonder whether any of taurus breeds will produce any where near that level under such conditions.
    Thanks and best wishes.

    Datta Rangnekar

  4. my reply to Rangnekar
    Dear Rangnekar,
    Hope you are fine and well. Thanks very much for your feedback.
    As for the camel is concern, I assure you that the production potential is very high for both Marrecha and Brela of Cholistan desert. The Brela is more promising in milk. Yes, they produce tremendous amount of milk in OGS (Ordinary Grazing System).
    I have myself document (some specimen of Brela) up to 32 liter milk per day.
    For Cholistani cow, I just reported from Dr Sajjad Khan and I might not be very accurate for replying. Though I have lived and traveled with the Great Thar desert (Cholistan and Thar) pastoralists and Cholistani cow is really incredible. The taste of yellow ghee is heart touching and the smell touches the soul.
    We the Indo-Pak people like western, modern, imported, glamerous things,,, so cholistani, tharri, gir, sahiwali, brela, etc do not come in our considerations…
    We are really poor in thinking (i mean our policy makers).
    Best regards

  5. My reply again
    We have few Brela camels (imported from Pakistan, or may be their parents), extremely high producing with lengthy lactation period (18 month). One camel produce > 9,000 liter of milk per lactation.
    They are incredible in their habitat (the great Thar desert). They are very docile and the milking ability in milking parlor is highly appreciable. They do not get angry/reactive in milking parlor. Brela is very resistant to mastitis too.
    For Cholistani cattle, as I mentioned before; it is unique with its adaptability and products taste. I wish we rely/trust our natural resources.
    My best regards

  6. We say a lot and write also, but these remain in academic statements/recommendations but on ground, very little work has been done to this wonderful species-Camel, which thrive on areas where it may be quite difficult to survive by others. The camel milk is known world wide for so many medicinal properties,so many products are prepared at NRC camel to show them, but their benefit hardly reaches to the poor camel herders. NGOs can bring awareness as being done by Ilse and a few others, but it is the entire responsibility of the Government and developmental agencies to implement them and make this species a self sustaining by harvesting its milk potential for not only making milk products but also immunologicals and biologicals for therapeutic utility

    • Dear Dr Gupta,
      Thanks very much for your detailed feedback. Your statement is eye opening and 100% accurate. Yes, the problem is to support the camels and its keepers with policies; like promotion of camel milk, like giving them opportunities to use natural resources, to take them on board in policy management. They should support with the some subsidized interventions like milk collection facility, processing (India is already a good example for milk associations) and so on. Unfortunately, our policy makers are always impressed of imported, exotic and gori things. That is the main problem. It will take to make the trust of local policy makers on the native livestock/plants breeds/verities respectively.
      Hope you will keep in touch. We should not let down our struggle.
      Wish you good luck..

  7. I have gone through this article and I also pointed out earlier that instead of misleading the people, lets proceed in an honest way to project Cholistani animals. This milking competition at Jugait Pir Farm was never conducted in letter and spirit of a fair competition.

    I have the following observations:

    1. Camel….. Both the camels shown in the picture do not belongs to Cholistani breed. Both the camel owners and their villages are far away from Cholistan and are located in well settled green belt canal water fed areas. I would appropriate if a separate category of pure Cholistani breed is added and Ruhailas (Cholistanis) are allowed to participate in this category.

    2. Cows….By no way both the cows shown in the competition are pure Cholistani breed. Both the owners and their animals live far away from Cholistan.

    Cholistanis even does not know that there was any competition for Cholistani live stock.

    On what ground Government Farm (Jugairpir) was allowed to Participate in said competition. This is a government livestock farm with all ideally available conditions. Canal water, sufficient man power, experts veterinarians and huge piece of land for fodder is at their disposal.

    Only animal living in desert stress should be allowed to participate.

    To promote 1.2 million live stock of Cholistan Desert, there is need to hold fair and honest competition in Cholistan. Stay blessed. Tahir Majeed iquera@hotmail.com

    ________________________________

  8. I have gone through this article and I also pointed out earlier that instead of misleading the people, lets proceed in an honest way to project Cholistani animals. This milking competition at Jugait Pir Farm was never conducted in letter and spirit of a fair competition.
    I have the following observations:
    1. Camel….. Both the camels shown in the picture do not belongs to Cholistani breed. Both the camel owners and their villages are far away from Cholistan and are located in well settled green belt canal water fed areas. I would appropriate if a separate category of pure Cholistani breed is added and Ruhailas (Cholistanis) are allowed to participate in this category.
    2. Cows….By no way both the cows shown in the competition are pure Cholistani breed. Both the owners and their animals live far away from Cholistan.
    Cholistanis even does not know that there was any competition for Cholistani live stock.
    On what ground Government Farm (Jugairpir) was allowed to Participate in said competition. This is a government livestock farm with all ideally available conditions. Canal water, sufficient man power, experts veterinarians and huge piece of land for fodder is at their disposal.
    Only animal living in desert stress should be allowed to participate.
    To promote 1.2 million live stock of Cholistan Desert, there is need to hold fair and honest competition in Cholistan.
    Stay blessed.
    Tahir Majeed
    iquera@hotmail.com

  9. Dear Tahir sab,
    Your point of view is appreciated and well accepted. But you should accept that the animals participated in milk contest are originally genetic resources of Cholistan. They are well known and agreed breeds with their names, i.e. Cholistani cattle, Marrecha camel and Brela camel and so on. The pastoral people of the desert migrate continuously with their livestock. Also, they come to the irrigated belt of adjoining areas and spend some time there. Coming to irrigated areas or even keeping them in the irrigated belt cannot change their genotype but can optimum use their potential for milk and other products.
    Your objection is on place only that the contest was not done inside the desert and we could not judge the worth of those animals in desert ecosystem.
    Thanks very much for your feedback. Please keep in touch. Your point of viewed is well endorse here.

    • Dr. Razik
      My aim was not to criticize but to put the record right. Brela Camel is not Cholistan breed. Rather Cholistan has inherited only Merhecha breed from Indian Ther.
      Milking competition is a healthy activity which must be continued but separately for Cholistani and non Cholistani breed. Cholistani cow by no way can compete a cow breeding in green belt. These cows are smaller in size and shorter in length. Where as the cows breeding in green belt are much bigger in size and length.
      Cholistani livestock move out of the desert and goes up to Indus River bank in districts of Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan. The Cholistani people have no links with Tehsil Chishtian as it is located far away from desert belt. Designated Cholistani villages administered by Cholistan Development Authorities are only located in Tehsil Yazman of District Bahawalpur. The lands (Lots) to Cholistanis are allotted in Tehsil Yazman, Fortabbas, Laiqatpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Sadiqabad only.
      I would appreciate if record is put right for any future competitions.

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