Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

February 1972


Published in Journal of Dairy Science. Copyright © 1972 American Dairy Science Association. Used by permission.


There were 1,405 lactation records of 336 cows at the Central Livestock Research- cum-Breeding Station, Haringhata, India from 1958 to 1968 used to estimate the potential dairy merit of Deshi cattle. This breed is native to northeast India and one of the smallest breeds in India (mature females 200 kg and males 250 kg).

Averages and standard deviations for milk yield (exclusive of that suckled), age of first calving, calving interval, lactation length, days open, and days dry were 412 ± 178 kg, 44.5 ± 6.8 months, 419 ± 90 days, 264 ± 81 days, 135 ± 86 days, and 139 ± 80 days. Mortality, culling, and retention rates for females from birth to first calving were 24, 27, and 49%. Lactation number, season of calving, and death of calf early in lactation had significant effects on milk yield.

Repeatabilities of milk yield, lactation length, calving interval, dry period, and days open were .42, .19, .21, .03, and .23 with corresponding heritabilities .64, .19, .09, .19, and .27. Heritability for age of first calving was .84. Confounding by some environmental effects probably biased heritability estimates upward. Potential genetic improvement of milk yield by mass selection was estimated at .8% per year.

Contemporary Jersey X Deshi crosses exceeded Deshi for milk yield, age of first calving, lactation length, calving interval, and days open by +923 kg, -15 months, +41, -84, and -96 days. At least one generation of crossing with European breeds is recommended over mass selection of Deshi.