SIRE Selection Programme PDF Print E-mail


Sire Selection Programme

With the objective of identifying the most suitable bulls as the sires for the next generation, the KLDB ventured into the field progeny-testing programme involving the two basic tasks viz.,

1. Production of the required number of daughters per bull in the progeny testing programme and
2. Milk recording of all available daughters of each bull to assess its production potential

The progeny-testing programme was started as a joint project of the State and Central Government in 1977.
Considering the density of cattle population and diversity in the geography among the locations, the ICDP regions of Mavelikara, Kanjirappally, Vaikom and Kattappana were selected for carrying out the inseminations using semen from the young Sunandini bulls (test bulls)

1500 test inseminations are being carried out using semen from each bull tested with the intention of obtaining at least 50 completed first lactation records from the progeny. Due to reasons like migration, death etc. a considerable proportion of the female calves born to the test bulls would not be available with the farmers when they reached the first calving and the ensuing lactation stage. Non identification of the female calves born out of test inseminations is also a contributing factor.

Test inseminations

Test inseminations started during the year 1977 with 10 bulls being included in the first batch. More than 12 lakh test inseminations had been carried out till the end of March 2004.

Field Performance Recording (FPR)

An effective system of FPR forms the backbone of the progeny-testing programme. FPR refers to the methodology to record the specific performance of an animal (milk, meat, egg, wool etc.) under normal farm conditions in the field. FPR, in the narrow sense has the aim to rank the animal of a defined population, based on performance data, in order to select the best one for further breeding and to eliminate the inferior one from the breeding system.

Upto the end of March 2004, 72359 cows had been enrolled for milk recording from which 56235 completed lactations were obtained. A total of 2678 cows were enrolled under the milk recording programme. 2202 animals completed their respective lactations during the same period.

The overall milk production of daughters have been showing a steady increase over the batches. This steady progress observed is the result of a well organised selection programme coupled with the improved managemental practices.

Sire evaluation

One batch of crossbred bulls is tested every year. 1500 doses of semen from each bull are used for test AI under the programme. 3000 doses of semen from each bull is preserved under long storage. All the bulls qualifying to be regular collection bulls are invariably included under the programme. The female progeny born out of the bulls are identified, registered and followed up at intervals of six months till their first calving. From the first lactation records of the female progeny (corrected for managemental influences and averaged for each bull) the breeding value of each of the sires is calculated and the bulls ranked accordingly. The top 10% of bulls from each batch is used for the production of the next generation of young bulls. Semen doses maintained under the long storage are utilised for the purpose. Unlike in the case of exotic dairy breeds under their home situations, the results of progeny testing of crossbred bulls under the existing field conditions are obtained at a time when the bull in question would have attained an age of 11-12 years. Factors like delayed age at semen collection, higher age of the daughters at first calving etc. contribute to the delayed results.

A Sire directory incorporating the list of proven bulls was published by the Board for the first time during the year 1984. From then onwards sire directories are being published from time to time incorporating the bulls put to test and declared proven. Bulls upto the 20th batch have till now been included under the publications.

Purchase of superior male calves

In line with the breeding programme envisaged for the implementation of the breeding policy of the state, the cows being declared as elite are inseminated with the proven bull semen and the resultant male calves purchased and reared at the bull stations. The standard yield fixed for making a cow eligible to be declared as elite, varies from one PT Unit to the other. The variations are mainly due to the fact that the average yield of the best 3% of the cows from each PT Unit is set as the qualifying limit for that particular unit.

Upto the end of March 2004, 1476 male calves had been purchased from the different progeny testing units.

Herd book scheme

The Herd Book Scheme (financed by the Govt. of Kerala) runs complementary to the Progeny Testing Scheme. The female progeny born to the test bulls are identified and recorded under this scheme. They are followed up at half yearly intervals by way of girth measurements.

Objectives of the Herd book Scheme

To identify and register all the cross-bred female calves born in the milk recorded area for studying their growth, productive and reproductive performance
To record the heart girth circumference of the animals once in 6 months to assess the growth of animals registered in the herd book
To study the age at first calving and first lactation milk yield of the animals registered in the herd book and fix standard norms for animals to be grouped in the different registers of the herd book