Buffalo species is thought to have originated in India. Present-day buffaloes in India are the descendants of Bos arni found in north-eastern parts of India, particularly in Assam. The two main types of buffaloes in India are categorised into river or swamp types. They are both called Bubalus bubalis, also known as water buffalo.
Buffaloes thrive best in environment with moderate rainfall as they require a good amount of water for their daily bath. Majority of Indian type buffaloes are considered river types although swamp types are also found in eastern parts of India. In India, buffaloes are the main milch producing species while cattle are the main milch species to produce the draft bullocks. Hence, the buffaloes produce a higher total amount of milk production than that of the cattle.
Here are the 7 important breeds of Indian buffaloes:
The Murrah breed's home is Rohtak, Hisar and Sind of Haryana, Nabha and Patiala districts of Punjab as well as the southern parts of Delhi states.
The Murrah breed is also known as Delhi, Kundi or Kali.
The colour of the breed is usually jet black with white markings on the tail and face.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the breed is the tightly curved horn.
Among all buffalo breeds in India, it is considered one of the most efficient milk producer with high butter fat milk.
The butter fat milk content averages around 7-8% while average milk production is between 1,500 - 2,500 kg per lactation.
Breeding tract of Surti is Kaira and Baroda district of Gujarat.
Also known as Deccani, Gujarati, Nadiadi or Surati.
Surti buffalo is of medium size as well as docile temperament.
The breed has a rather broad and long head with a convex shape at the top in between horns.
The colour of Surti is black or brown.
The average milk production for first lactation is 1,500 - 1,600kg.
The peculiarity of this breed is that the milk contains a very high percentage of fat, typically around 8 - 12%
Breeding tract of Jaffrabadi is Gir forests, Kutch and Jamnagar districts of Gujarat.
Among all buffalo breeds in India, it is considered one of the heaviest.
The horns of this breed is heavy, hence it is inclined to droop at each side of the neck and then turning up at point.
Average milk yield for Jaffrabadi is 1,000 - 1,200 kg per lactation cycle.
The bullocks are heavy and is usually used for ploughing and carting.
They are usually maintained by traditional breeders known as Maldharis, who are nomads.
Breeding tract of Bhadawari is Agra and Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh and Gwalior district of Madhya Pradesh.
It is medium in size, copper coloured and grayish black animals with two white lines at the lower side of the neck.
The Bhadawari breed is well known for its resistance to disease and effects of heat compared to other buffalo species.
Average milk yield is 800 - 1,000 kg per lactation cycle.
The fat content of milk produced ranges between 6 - 12.5%.
Bhadawari is also very efficient in converting coarse feed into butterfat, hence they are well known for its high butter fat content.
Breeding tract for Mehsana is Mehsana, Sabarkanda and Banaskanta districts in Gujarat and adjoining Maharashtra state.
The Mehsana breed is evolved out of cross-breeding between Surti as well as Murrah.
The body is longer than Murrah but the limbs are lighter.
Compared to the Murrah breed, the horns are less curved and irregular.
Colour of the breed is usually black or greyish.
Milk yield is 1,200 - 1,500 kg per lactation.
Bullocks are good for heavy work.
They are also known as Elitchpuri or Barari.
Breeding tract for Nagpuri is Nagpur, Akola as well as Amrawati districts of Maharashtra.
They are usually black in colour with white patches on the face, legs and tails.
Milk production is 700 - 1,200 kg per lactation.
The bullocks are useful for heavy trotting work but slow in movement.
The breeding tract of Nili Ravi is in Sutlej valley in Ferozpur district of Punjab and in the Sahiwal (Pakistan) of undivided India.
Colour of the breed is black with white markings on the forehead, face, muzzle and legs.
Horns of the animal are very small as well as tightly coiled.
Milk production is around 1,500 - 1,800 kg per lactation.