In India, dairy farming is one the most profitable business and it provides rural employment. India has the 55% of the buffalo population. The buffaloes are the better converter of coarse feed into fat-rich milk even under harsh climatic conditions. From various breeds of buffaloes, Murrah buffalo is one the most preferred buffalo among dairy farmers and also it is the most profitable. The pure-bred of murrah buffalo are mainly found in Punjab, Hisar, Rohtak, Gurgaon and Jind district of Haryana. The color is jet black with white markings on tail, face and extremities. It is the most productive buffalo breed. The milk produced by murrah buffalo ranges from 2500 kgs to 3600 kgs per lactation. The murrah buffalo is also known as the “Asian Tractor”, it is a triple purpose animal i.e. for milk, meat and work.
The beginning of lactation is with the birth of calf. The highest yield of buffalo is reached after 5-6 weeks of lactation and maintained for some weeks and afterwards the yield decreases until the end of lactation. The lactation period ends when the dry period starts. The shape of the lactation curve depends of some factors such as feed, milking, frequency, dieses among others. The maximum lactation length has been reported is 262 to 295 days.
The lactation and milk yield depends on genetic and non-genetic factors. The genetic factors include species, breed and individual. It is also affected by the ability to reproduce, e.g. fertility and calving interval. The improvement on these factors can be done by breeding and selection. The non-genetic factors include management, amount and quality of feed and also the skill of the farmers to detect illness. There are some factors which also influence lactation and milk yield and are outside the control of farmers such as climate, temperature, humidity, etc. The calving interval is closely related to lactation length and milk yield.
Before expected calving, first the buffalo should be dried off for approximately 2-3 months. This dry period is valuable for buffaloes, she may rest and udder tissue is repaired. In high yielding herd (i.e. above 10 kg per day) the buffalo should be dried off when the milk yield falls to 2.5 kg per day. An alternative for drying off is to use the buffalo as a foster mother to newly born calves. Herds which yields less milk, it is difficult to set a lower limit in kg. The milking frequency affects the total milk as well as the fat yield.