This article has been written by Gaurav Kumar, Animal Physiology Department, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal.
As we all know climate change is a major environmental concern to food security confronting modern livestock production systems as well as humans also. According to the 20th Livestock Census 2019, the total buffalo population in India was (109.85 million) which increased by 1.0 percent over the population of the 19th Livestock Census 2012.
Since the turn of the 20th century, there has been an increase in surface temperature of around 0.7°C due to global warming. If the management structure for livestock farming is not changed then significant economic loss is likely to be expected. So the establishment of control measures to combat heat stress, such as cooling facilities, specific nutrition and care, effective water systems, and supplementation with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics.
During the summer season research findings of many researchers indicated lower production performance and dry matter intake to maintain the production performance and fulfill the required dry matter. I have selected twenty-four lactating Murrah buffaloes (1-3 parity) from the adapted village under the Farmers FIRST project “Kathura” (Khelgao) of district Sonipat (Haryana). For this success story, lactating buffaloes were supplemented with ground cumin seeds @ 15 grams per 100 kg body weight per day per buffalo and molasses supplemented with 10 percent of total concentrate required per day per buffaloes during the summer season under field conditions for amelioration of heat stress.
The experiment was conducted during the summer season (April to September) and environmental parameters (dry bulb temperature and wet bulb temperature) were recorded for Temperature Humidity Index (THI) calculation.
The milk yield and dry matter intake were recorded at fortnightly intervals and found higher values in cumin and molasses-supplemented lactating buffaloes. The physiological parameters were recorded at monthly intervals and blood samples for biochemical analysis were also collected at monthly intervals.
The physiological responses viz; respiration rate (RR), rectal temperature (RT), and skin temperature (ST) of the lactating buffaloes during summer seasons were found significantly (P < 0.05) lower in cumin and molasses-supplemented buffaloes than others. The biochemical parameters like antioxidant enzymes (SOD and Catalase) and Heat shock Protein (HSP) levels were found significantly (P < 0.05) lower in cumin and molasses-supplemented lactating buffaloes as compared to other buffaloes during seasons.
The level of these antioxidant enzymes increases during heat stress to neutralize the free radicals produced during different catabolic reactions. The expression of heat shock protein is higher during heat stress to protect or maintain cell integrity. After supplementation of cumin and molasses, I observed the fruitful effects in the form of improved health status, production performance, and dry matter intake. These supplements have the ability to improve the digestibility of poor-quality roughages and provide energy to undernourished buffaloes that were being caused by the nonavailability of green fodder due to extreme weather conditions.
Based on the results obtained it can be concluded that supplementation of cumin and molasses helped in maintaining the health status and productive performance of the lactating buffaloes during heat stress under field conditions.
First published on: 08 Nov 2023, 15:43 IST
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