It has long been known that buffaloes are bred for milk and meat production in northwest India. The Murray Cow is what I will introduce to you today. There is no better-known breed of buffalo in the world than Murray.
This breed of buffalo is a water breed known scientifically as Bubalus Bubalis. Murray was mainly used for dairy products for decades. Its origin is Haryana (an Indian state) but it is commonly available in Punjab and West UP of India. Among all buffalo breeds in India, it produces high-butterfat milk, making it one of the most efficient milk producers. The curved horns of the Murray also distinguish it.
This article sums up everything about Murrah Cows, such as its history, origin, features, characteristics, types, and milk production. Let’s get to know Murray Buffaloes.
Origin & History of Murray Cow
Murray cattle are mainly raised in India and are famous for their milk and meat production. Murray cows are also known as Delhi, Kundi, or Kali.
In India, it can be found in Bhiwani, Hisar, Rohtak, Jind, Jhajjar, Fatehabad, Gurgaon, and the capital region of Delhi. Additionally, there are 20,00,000 Murray populations in Punjab’s Nabha and Patiala districts, and in Sutlej valley, Ravi, and north Sind.
The breed has formed an important part of many developing countries’ livestock industries, as well as being used in grading non-descript buffalo. Haryana’s government had launched an incentive cash prize program to encourage farmers to export Murray cows.
Murray buffaloes can now be found in many countries on Earth, including Sri Lanka, Vietnam, The Philippines, China, Malaysia, Nepal, Brazil, Ecuador, and Azerbaijan for milk production. Bulgaria, Egypt, and Italy have also used this technology for meat production, and Brazil has used it both for meat and milk production.
Physical Characteristics of Murray Cow
Murray buffaloes have a beautiful appearance. Its color is dark black and it often has white marks on the face and legs. Despite being standard, white markings on the face and extremities do not suit the Murray breed.
Usually, their horns are curved and short. Males have shrunken eyes, while female eyes are active and prominent. A short, alert and thin ear can be seen on their faces. An average Murray buffalo cow has a very deep, massive body, while its heads and neck are relatively light. Their udder is well developed, and their long tail reaches the fetlock.
Bulls have large, coarse heads, whereas females typically have small, clean-cut heads. The forehead is broad and slightly prominent. Despite the short nose and wide nostrils, the face looks fine without being marked with white spots. Typically, horns are short and spiral inward with a backward and upward movement, flat when cut, and shaped is backward and upward.
Body and Limbs
Murray females have long, thin necks while males have thick, massive necks. They do not have a dewlap and hump. The brisket is broad and well-developed across the chest. They have black hooves and short, straight legs.
As a result, the female body has a wedge-shaped front portion while the male body has a light front portion and a heavy rear portion, giving women a unique appearance. Toward the front, the back slopes, tapers, and well-rounded ribs. There is a broad and smooth covering over the hips. Males have a broad, slightly sloping ramp that is more prominent in females.
Females have large, curved twists in the thigh and buttocks, which provide ample room under the udder. Males have strong, nearly straight hocks, but females have bent hocks. The tail is long, thin, and flexible. To an extent of 25 to 30 centimeters, the tail is free of vertebrae.
A very well-developed, zig-zag milk vein can be seen in the udder, and the hind legs carry the udder forwards and backward effectively. It is common to have longer hind teats than fore teats, as well as widely spaced teats. Murray buffaloes are also capable of enduring drought. Asian Tractor is another name for it.
A Murrah called Kandi and Kali is known for its dark black color. Its skin is thin, soft, and smooth with scanty hair.
This breed of buffalo is highly distinctive; short, tight, spiraling back and forth, then spiraling inward. They have short, tight-curled horns. Spiral curves increase when the horns loosen slightly with age.
Weight & size can be described as follows; generally speaking, male Murray buffalo weighs 440-800 Kg, while female breeds weigh 350-700Kg. Murrah cows’ bodies are longer, have heavier bones, and are considered bulky and massive animals.
The average height of mature bulls is around 142 cm at the withers, while the average height of cows is around 133 cm. Murrah buffaloes reach maturity weighing around 750 kg for bulls and around 650 kg for cows.
Traditionally, these buffaloes are kept with their calves in domestic environments. They are hand-milked twice a day. Murray is fed with a variety of roughages (straw, corn stalks, sugar cane residues). In addition, they graze throughout the day if grazing is available. Natural mating occurs, but artificial insemination is also available in some regions.
The recommended livestock feed for Murray is approximately 20-30 Kg green fodder, 8-12 Kg dry fodder (paddy, straw), 4-8 Kg concentrate feed, 50-100 gm mineral mixture & 30-40Lt water. Breed, habitat, herd size, pregnancy, or the size of the herd can influence the feed and fodder requirements.
Habitat Adaptability & Disease Resistance
The Murray Buffalo has a higher milk yield and more environmental resistance than pure buffaloes. There is a resistance to diseases and easy adaptability to the south Indian climate within Murray buffaloes. Although the breed is moderately tolerant of temperatures, it can adapt to locations with a warmer or colder climate in some weeks.
Types of Murray Buffalo
Murray buffaloes include the Pure Murrah cow and Graded Murrah cow.
Pure Murray cow
Pure Murray buffalo are those whose genetic lineage is pure. They have not been crossed with other breeds.
Graded Murray is a cross between pure murrahs and local breeds. Graded Murray has more natural climatic and disease adaptations since the breed inherited these characteristics from local domesticated cattle. Yet, they will not produce as much milk as purebreds. Consequently, graded Murrah sells for less than pure ones.
Life & reproduction
The average lifespan of a Murray buffalo is twelve years. Milk production peaks at the fourth lactation and then drops with each subsequent lactation. Its gestation period is 310 days and the dry period is about 90 days.
A first calf occurs approximately 3 years after it is born. The average age of the first calves is 45-50 months in villages, but 36-40 months in good herds. It usually takes between 400 and 500 days between calvings.
Murray buffalo is also known as Black Gold in India because of its highest milk production. Breed-specific averages range from 1500 Kg per lactation to 2200 Kg per lactation while the fat content ranges from 6.9 to 8.3 percent. The milk that Murrah produces falls under milk category A2.
Murray cows produce more than 18 liters of milk per day. The All India Milk Yield Competition held by the Government of India recorded a maximum milk yield of 31.5 kg per day from a graded Murrah buffalo. At the 2016 National Livestock Competition in Punjab, the highest milk yield recorded for a Murrah buffalo was almost 27kg.
Across India, Pakistan Egypt & Italy, pure Murray is crossed with local buffalos to create Graded Murrah.
It is primarily a dairy breed and is bred for milk production. Yet, some countries also use it for meat production i.e. Egypt, Bulgaria, Brazil, and Italy.
Prices of Murray vary depending on factors such as the size and structure of the Murray, milk yield per day, the hereditary status of the buffalo, lactation cycle, etc.
Currently, it’s a high-priced dairy breed and is sold on both the domestic and international markets. Murray Buffalo’s price varies between $2000 and $4500 depending on the quality.
Why it’s world widely famous
Since this breed is one of the highest milk and butter-fat-producing breeds, is worldwide famous. It is widely used in all major cities and in rural areas in north and west India for the production of milk and ghee. A study found that buffaloes produce more than half of the total milk yield of India, while Murray cows yield 23% of it.
Since Murray buffaloes have a great deal of milk production, they are ideal for formal and organized dairy farms. Government-supervised and privately owned farms maintain large herds of Murray buffaloes.
In an average lactation, individuals yield 3,590 kg with an average production of 1,793 kg in 305 days. Among the farmers, we found a maximum daily yield of 31.5 kg, an average butterfat content of 7 percent, and an average age at the first calving of 39.3 months.