The Murrah buffalo is the most important and well-known water buffalo breed in the world. It is one of the best breeds for milk production and found all over Asia, and from Bulgaria to South America.
The Murrah buffalo is black and has short and tightly curled horns. It is a massive and stocky animal with heavy bones. Adult males are 142 cm (56 in) high at withers and weigh 750 kg (1,700 lb). Adult females are 133 cm (52 in) high at withers and weigh 650 kg (1,400 lb).
Murrah buffaloes originate in Haryana, from where they dispersed to the Punjab in India and the Punjab province of Pakistan, Ravi and Sutley valleys, north Sind and Uttar Pradesh. The population is estimated at 2 million heads.
Between the 1940s and 1960s, some Murrah buffaloes from India were exported to Brazil where husbandry conditions were ideal regarding temperature, sufficient water and pastures. Indian Murrah buffalo were also exported to China in the late 1950s, and to Bulgaria in 1962. By crossbreeding Murrah and indigenous Mediterranean buffaloes in Bulgaria a new buffalo named Bulgarian Murrah was created. Murrah buffaloes from Bulgaria were also exported to Azerbaijan. In the Philippines, a herd of riverine buffalo was established at the Philippine Carabao Center located in the Science City of Muñoz by importing about 3000 Murrah buffaloes with pedigree performance records from Bulgaria. In the 1970s, Murrah buffaloes were also imported to Vietnam from China, Bulgaria and India and crossbred with local swamp buffaloes. Bulgarian and Indian Murrah buffaloes were also imported to Venezuela and Argentina.
Traditionally Murrah buffaloes are kept together with the calf and hand-milked twice a day. They are fed roughages such as straw from barley and wheat, cornstalks and sugar cane residuals, and also receive concentrate mixtures. They graze all day long where grazing is available, and are usually mated naturally. Calves are born at an interval of 479±33 days. Cows lactate for about 305 days and give about 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) milk in this period. The milk is used for fresh consumption, and for producing ghee and cream.
- Moioli, B. and A. Borghese (2005). Buffalo Breeds and Management Systems. Pages 51–76 in Borghese, A. (ed.) Buffalo Production and Research. REU Technical Series 67. Inter-regional Cooperative Research Network on Buffalo, FAO Regional Office for Europe, Rome.
- Borghese, A. and M. Mazzi (2005). Buffalo Population and Strategies in the World. Pages 1–39 in Borghese, A. (ed.) Buffalo Production and Research. REU Technical Series 67. Inter-regional Cooperative Research Network on Buffalo, FAO Regional Office for Europe, Rome.
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