1984 - Volume #8, Issue #6, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Water Buffalo May Be Next US Cattle Breed
Fowler obtained two head of water buffalo - valued at $20,000 apiece - from A.P. Leonards, Lake Charles, La., the only water buffalo breeder in the U.S. who has a herd of about 100 animals and wants to promote the breed.
Water buffalo are native to China, Southeast Asia, and India but can be found across the world. In many countries, they're the main source of meat, dairy products, and power, as they're used to pull field equipment and carts.
"Water buffalo milk has a butterfat content of 8.5 to 8.9% compared to 3.9 to 4.9% for most dairy cattle. The milk is also higher in protein. We want to evaluate feed efficiency,slaughter ratios, and other attributes of the animal to see if it is suitable for mass production in this country," says Fowler, noting that the animals cannot crossbreed with cattle since the two animals have differing numbers of chromosomes.
Fowler says water buffalo will eat almost anything, even the bark off trees. "We think they'll do well on crop residues like corn stalks and cobs, peanut shells and other waste materials."
Water buffalo are good swimmers and have been known to dive five feet or more to feed on the bottom of a river or lake. The animals are gentle but have the habit of lifting fences with their horns so they must be de-horned. Water buffalo like to wallow in water and have fewer sweat glands than cattle.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dr. Stewart Fowler, Berry College, Mt. Berry, Georgia, 30149 (ph 404 232-5374).
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