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Meet Gorakh, UP's lone Gangatiri bull that has contributed over 50k doses of semen to conserve elite breed

Gorakh, a Gangatiri bull at Uttar Pradesh's Hapur farm, has become a pioneer in the conservation and propagation of high-quality Gangatiri germplasm by contributing over 50,000 doses of semen.

Meet Gorakh, Uttar Pradesh's bull who contributed over 50,000 doses of semen anr
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First Published Jun 30, 2024, 2:00 PM IST

Gorakh, the lone Gangatiri bull at the Uttar Pradesh government's Hapur farm, has made a significant impact by contributing over 50,000 doses of semen. This contribution has positioned him as a key figure in the conservation and propagation of high-quality Gangatiri germplasm in UP. Gangatiri is a dual-purpose indigenous breed native to eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar. Known for its disease resistance and cost-effectiveness, this breed is highly adaptable to the region and requires lower input costs. A Gangatiri cow typically weighs between 300-350 kg and produces 8-10 liters of milk daily.

The genetically improved Gangatiri breed, registered by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) in 2015, may yield even higher milk production. Gorakh, born on January 29, 2014, has verified parentage, qualifying him as a donor for producing sexed semen for Gangatiri cows in Uttar Pradesh, where 90% of Y chromosomes are removed. He is the sire of two female Gangatiri calves born on March 26 and 27 at the government's Varanasi farm, utilizing embryo transfer technology and IVF for the first time in the country for this breed. Gorakh produces over 2,200 doses of semen every month.

Gorakh, identified by his specific ID number 287020, is expected to remain active for at least three more years according to his records. Born at a gaushala in Mirzapur to elite cows Rahu and Pinki, Gorakh was inducted into the Hapur farm in January 2015 at just a year old. His training for the semen collection program began in August 2019, and by October of the same year, the farm commenced collecting his semen.

Gorakh's daily diet includes 7.5 kg of balanced concentrate, 12 kg of dry fodder, and a premix of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. He follows a strict and regular exercise regimen to maintain his health and fitness. The farm allocates approximately Rs 30,000 per month for his upkeep.

Becoming a sperm donor bull involves a rigorous process. Initially, bulls undergo rearing, where many may not meet physical standards or have low sperm concentration and get ousted. The second stage is training, where bulls are taught to ejaculate with dummy partners present. Finally, in the collection stage, bulls begin donating sperm.

Strict standards apply during collection. Bulls must have a sperm count of at least 500 million per ml of semen to qualify. Typically, each ejaculation yields 3-4 ml of semen. 

In July-August 2023, Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi farm made history by using embryo transfer technology (ETT) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to produce Gangatiri cows for the first time in India. Four elite females at the farm were chosen as egg donors based on their verified records of lactation and parentage. Sexed semen from Gorakh was used to fertilize the eggs in-vivo (inside the body).

Approximately seven days later, embryos were flushed from the donor cows and transferred into four recipient cows, selected as surrogates despite not having high merit themselves. Ultimately, only two pregnancies were successful, resulting in the birth of two calves.

(Photo is representational)

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