Sunandini is the formal name given to the composite breed of cattle evolved by crossing the nondescript cattle with exotic donor breeds (Brown Swiss, Jersey and HF) limiting the exotic inheritance to 50%.
The origin of Sunandini breed can be traced back to the import of 22 Brown Swiss bulls and 46 cows during the period from 1965 to 1967 from Switzerland. The bulls were mated to a stock of 143 nondescript cows to produce the crossbred stock. The cross-bred female born from such matings were inseminated with frozen semen of 75% Brown Swiss bulls to produce the 62.5% crossbreds. Originally conceived as a multipurpose breed for milk, draught and meat, the Sunandini with 62.5% exotic inheritance from Brown Swiss did change in its genetic content as well as quality to become a dairy breed in conformity with the needs and wishes of the farmers of Kerala. It has acquired genes from the Jersey breed in large proportions; HF and American Brown Swiss genes too were incorporated. Germplasm in the form of proven bull semen of Jersey, HF and American Brown Swiss, high pedigreed embryos of these breeds and genetically evaluated Jersey and HF bulls from many parts of the world were used in the programme. On the Zebu side, genes from breeds like Sahiwal, Gir, Rati and Kankrej were also introduced in minor proportions.
Thus Sunandini has a wide genetic base ideal for a new breed. However, it brings heterogeneity in the external appearance of the animals. Sunandini is thus a synthetic breed having genes from the above – mentioned breeds with around 50% level of exotic inheritance. Over generations the inheritance from the Brown Swiss is gradually decreasing with the proportionate increase from Jersey and of late from HF.
- The breed characters fixed for Sunandini cows
- Mature body weight – 350 kg
- Age at first calving – 30 months
- First lactation milk yield – 2500 kg
- Overall lactation milk yield – 3400 kg
- Milk fat percentage – 4.0