The essence of the word ‘Precision’ is something made with exact measurements and the same lies when it is regarding the Precision breeding in cattle. The accurate meaning of this precision breeding in cattle would be a rapid advancement in the species where only the desired traits are passed onto the offspring. The genetically advanced male and female cattle are carefully selected while keeping in mind their specialities. These are then bred so that the calf inherits the gold qualities. For instance, dehorning calves is a routine procedure in many countries since they are easier to handle, but the process creates a lot of stress on the livestock. The precision breeding technology has helped to produce a generation of calves with no horns naturally thus proving a stress free environment for the calf. Although the definition seems to be extremely simple, the procedure is not. It is a smart approach to technology which the cattleman could only accomplish by maintaining a steady track of his animals. The modern-day animal farms are highly developed, and so is the cattleman. The animals are not looked after as a herd but individually. A strict record of every animal in the farm is maintained for any references. From the time a calf is born everything about it is penned down. The parents, vaccinations, age, reproduction, culling etc. The details about the parents of the calf are also secure in the farmer’s records. Maintaining all these leads gives a clear view of the characteristics of cattle hence making it easy for them cattleman to decide the breeding partner and produce a calf with the specific features.
The Need of Precision Breeding:-
Breeding is a natural process then why are there so many hullabaloos regarding this specific kind of reproduction? Well! The answer is to enhance the genetic quality of cattle, improved reproduction and health which will eventually provide gains to the cattleman. Whenever the next generation is knit carefully providing only the good qualities, it is bound to yield more in every aspect. Precision breeding helps to avoid the advancement of ruinous characteristics of the parents to the offspring. It also manages to keep diversity among the population.
Advantages of Precision breeding
There are countless benefits when it comes to precision breeding. Here are some to name a few:-
There is an increased capacity to resist diseases.
Calves are more resilient toward heat and drought.
Earlier culling and reproduction were determined by age but now since the cows are closely monitored age is not an essential factor.
Customised feeds can also be provided to the cattle if they are tracked well.
The animals are healthier since the farmers know the characteristics and look after them accordingly.
There are high yielding animals regarding the quality of milk and also carcass yield.
It’s a sustainable method of farming due to the indulgence of a cattleman in minute details.
High-quality milk leads the way to a higher quality of by-products like cheese, butter, curd and paneer.
Tools used to monitor livestock:-
Keeping a close track of large herd is not an easy task, so there has been an evolution of technology to help the farmer in every possible way. There are several tools used to manage the livestock. Some of which are as follows :
Each calf is provided with a ‘Unique ID’ which helps to trace its parents, age and all the necessary information. This ID is imprinted on a tag which is then attached to the ear of the calf.
There are also electronic wearables which help to record the temperature and activity pattern of cattle. The cattleman can identify the presence of any illness in the animal through these devices.
There are several software also available to help the cattleman record the demographics of his herd.
Several apps are available on the smartphones which help the farmer record the details of cattle and also connect with other farm owners to discuss the growth of their livestock.
Precision breeding is the shining future of cattleman, but the efforts have to put in accordingly. Only a precise study of animals could lead to success. The farmer will have to put his heart and soul into this full-time job of looking after his herd and producing well efficient calves. He has to be well aware of his livestock and its characteristics. He is the one who decides which quality of the cattle should be channelled to the next generation. Thorough study is required to gain optimum results. If this happens, the outcome will surely be a highly advanced breed in quantitative, qualitative and sustainability factors.
The government is lending its full support to animal farmers, and it is high time to take a cue from the developing world and with the help of authorities build breeding opportunities.