Sahiwal; cow with high milk fat content

Sahiwal; cow with high milk fat content

By: Dr. Sangeeta Soi


Sahiwal is a breed of ‘Zebu cattle’ and is considered to be one of the best milch cattle breed in India.  The breed has derived its name from the Sahiwal area in Montgomery district of Punjab in Pakistan. It is the most promising breed that produces highest quantity of milk followed by the very similar Red Sindhi and Butana breeds.  

Sahiwal is one of the endangered species of cow which is very popular among the farmers. The reason for its popularity is that Sahiwal is comparatively more efficient in terms of milk production and birth to young ones. Apart from this, its milk contains more fat contents, which is very healthy in comparison to other imported cow breeds.

Research on Sahiwal 

Dr. Ranvir Singh from Indian Veterinary Research Institute, U.P is one of the principal scientists working upon this breed since 2006-07. According to Dr Singh, ‘Ghumanti’ community from Muslim Gujjar’s from Muktsar Bhatinda, Punjab has started rearing this breed. Each one of these communities has 30 to 50 cows which is their only source of income. During his research, Dr. Singh visited all the communities and houses of Punjab and found that none of the family members who owned a Sahiwal cow ever suffered from cancer in their life. On the other hand people who used other cow breed milk for drinking or other purposes suffered from some or the other diseases.

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Qualities of Sahiwal  

The milk of Sahiwal contains 5-6% fat whereas other breeds have only 3% fat. Sahiwal’s milk has 3 types of protein – alpha, Beta and Globin. Beta protein has A1 and A2 allele. Only Sahiwal breed contained allele A2 which contained proline instead of histidine protein found in milk of other breeds. Due to the presence of this additional allele Sahiwal’s milk acts as a boon to humanity which is helpful in curing several diseases like cholesterol, diabetes and heart problems. And this is why Sahiwal is considered an important cow breed.


Other imported breed of cow can only provide 60 litres of milk whereas Sahiwal is capable of producing 20 litres at a time. It can give birth throughout the lifetime whereas others can do for just 3-4 times in a complete lifespan. It can also survive under extreme weather conditions compared to other imported breeds which require ambient temperature to survive. It is capable to give birth in 21-22 months and considered as the most intelligent breed too. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced the scheme called ‘Rashtriya Gokul Mission’ under which, an amount of 500 crore will be used for the betterment of this cow breed. As per the scheme, there are many incentives and subsidies on purchase of Sahiwal.

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