Distribution and Habitat
The ,home tract of this breed i~ Mehsana district in the north of Gujarat
State. It derives its name from the town of Mehsana which is centrally located
in the breeding tract. Animals of this breed are also commonly found in
Palanpur, Deesa and other parts of Banaskantha district, and Rahanpur and
Tharad in Sabarkantha district. The most typical animals are generally seen in
the towns of Mehsana, Patan, Sidhapur, Bijapur, Kadi, Kael and Rahanpur.
Soil and Climate
This tract forms a part of the sandy alluvial plain of north Gujarat. The
soil is sandy loam and 'goradu', which in the southern parts of the districts
merges into black cotton soil area. The rainfall varies from 38 to 51 cm, but
is generally uncertain. Summers are very hot due to hot winds; winters, on the
other hand, are cold due to winds from Tharparkar ,desert.
The home of this breed, is typical agricultural ar,ea in North Gujarat, where
food crops such as iowar, haiTi, wheat, pulses (mostly guar and tUT), sesamum
groundnut, mustard and other oilseeds are grown. The tract is also famous
for the production of cumin and isabhgul. The cultivated fields are generally
dotted about with grazing areas which grow excellent grasses like singhayo
(Dicanthium annulatum (Forsk.) Stapf), hariali (Cynodon dactylon (Linn.) Pers.),
gandhi (Iseilema laxum Hack.) and jowar (Sorghum vulgare Pers.). Fodder
crops and lucerne are generally grown under well irrigation. The above system
of cultivation provides sufficient fodder in the area.
The Mehsana buffaloes are efficient milk producers because of their comparatively long lactation length and short dry periods. Large number of these
animals are used in Ahmedabad and Bombay for milk supply. Mehsana buffalo is preferred by Bombay stable-keepers as it is considered more economic than
the Murrah breed. Animals of this breed are reared mostly by fanners who
raise fodder sufficient to stall feed the animals. The Rabari breeders of the
Kankrej cattle, rear these buffaloes for milk production. Male calves are
neglected, which very often results in their eady death. Typical specimens of
breeding bulls are, however, reared by well-to-do farmers.
This breed appears to have resulted from interbreeding of Surti with Murrah
breed. Thus it has characteristics of both the breeds.
An average lactation yield of 1,670 kg has been recorded in a lactation, but
yields as high as 4,489 kg have been obtained from individual animals. The
maximum daily yield recorded was 26 kg with a fat percentage of 6.5. Average age
at first calving is about 4 years 3 months.
(a) General: The Mehsana buffalo (Plate 14) is a medium-sized animal with a
low-set deep body. The head resembles that of the Murrah breed with bulging eyes.
The horns resemble the Surti or Murrah breed, i.e., they may vary from long
sickle type of the former to a curved knot of the latter. The neck is Jong and,
nne. The udder and hind-quarter resemble those of the Murrah.
The average weight of buffalo varies from 365 to 455 kg while the mature
bull weighs over 545 kg.
The skin colour is jet-black. The lower portion of the body and 'the hair in
the switch of the tail arc generally black. The breed is docile. It can stand
stall feeding and can also be reared under grazing conditions.
(b) Head: Forehead is wide with a slight depression in the middle sloping
towards the root of the horns. Face is long and straight with, a wide muzzle
and wide open nostrils. Eyes are very prominent, black and bright, bulging
from their sockets, with folds of skin on the upper lids. Ears, are medium-sized
and pointed at the apex. There is generally a prominent hairy growth inside
the ears. Horns are generally sickle shaped with the curve more upward than
in the Surti breed, and less curved than in the Murrah breed. Although specimens with tight curves are found, they are not recognized for pure breed. The
horns are generally bent downwards and then take a curve like the horns of
(c) Body and Limbs: Neck is long and wen set on the shoulders. Skin over
the region has folds. In males, the neck is massive and dewlap is almost absent.
Chest is deep with broad brisket. Shoulders are broad and blend well with the
body. The legs are of medium to short length with clean bones and broad,
The barrel is long and deep, with well-£prung ribs. In the females, the forequarters are light while the hind-quarters are wide aI1d heavy giving a wedgeshaped appearance. In males, the fore-quarters are massive, giving a heavy
appearance with hind-quarters set fairly wide. Back is barely straight and strong
with the pelvic joint higher than the withers. Navel flap is very small.
The hind-quarters are well developed, wide and deep, with the udder well
attached at the back and in front. Hips are high and prominent with points
well apart. Thighs are well developed with a good curve above the hook.
Buttocks are m\lscular merging well into the rump. Pin-bones are not prominent
in well-fed animals. Flanks are fine: Hocks are strong with good curve. Tail
i~ of medium thickness and is long .With black switch. White or light coloured
switch is not preferred.
Skin is thin, pliable and soft. The colour of the skin is generally black. Hair
are rough and scanty. Escutcheon is well defined.
Udder: The udder is wen-developed and well set. In good specimens, it
is carried well behind. Generally, the hind-quarters are more developed than the
fore-quarters. The teats are fairly thick, long and pliable. The milk veins are
Average for different body measurements m the two sexes are presented
Points for Disqualification
Light and albino colour, white switch of the tail, ligh_t eyeball, and white
patch on poll or forehead are undesirable. White patches on' a,ny part of the
body, brown or white streaks on hoofs or horns, wide horns or twists in the
shape of barns and white stockings are points for disqualification.