Australian breed of dairy cattle, the Australian Friesian Sahiwal is believed to have been developed in the 1960s by the Queensland Government. It is a combination of the Sahiwal dairy breed from Pakistan and the Holstein cattle from New Zealand, designed for tropical climates.
Cows typically produce 3,000 liters of milk per lactation in tropical pasture environments with the ability to tolerate heat, humidity, ticks, and other parasites quite well. The Australian Friesian Sahiwal breed has been exported successfully to many countries of tropical climates including South East Asia, Central, and South America as well as the Indian subcontinent.
The breeding program has made significant progress towards the objective of combining tick resistance with heat tolerance with reliable milk production and fertility since the 1960s. The Sahiwal cow breed is originating from the Sahiwal region in Punjab, Pakistan, and has been extensively tested in tropical and sub-tropical areas of Australia. It is thought to outperform the Holstein Friesian by approximately 15 percent. It produces approximately 7 to 10 liters of milk per day. Its average milk production is approximately 10 liters per day (2 500 liters during its lactation period) but if well-fed this cow can produce 25 liters of milk per day.
The average weight of males is 550 kg, and the average weight of females is 450 kg. During lactation, the milk yield is 1,500-1,800 litres with 7 percent fat. The Queensland Government is breeding this breed to be used in tropical areas of Australia. It was evolved from a milk strain from Pakistan, the Sahiwal, and the Australian Holstein-Friesian. The average milk yield for mature cows is 3,000 liters. Milk quality is excellent – protein level is 3.4 percent and butterfat is approximately four percent.
A total of 180 cows were employed and milk was collected for a sequence of composition and quality assessment for the Sahiwal-Friesian crossbred cows, namely M50-1 and M50-2. The effect of genotypes was significant (P≤0.05) only for titrable acidity (TA) and milk yield (MY). The M50-1 had the highest milk yield per day (8.73 ± 1.65 kg) but this was not significantly different from the yields of M50-3, M56 and M75-1 – 7.06 ± 0.84, 7.06 ± 0.96, 7.70 ± 0.82 kg – respectively.
Additionally, the optimal number of Friesians that combined with Sahiwals for MY were 75%, 56%, and 50% with selection for milk production. Thus, the proportion of milk and quality from the Sahiwal – Friesian crosses met the standard.
Milk yield, fat content, suffused content, total solids, moisture content, specific gravity, and fat content were significantly lower in two early lactation groups than in the third and fourth lactations (3.69 vs 5.25 vs 4.27 and 5.50, respectively). SNF content for middle lactation was significantly lower (P≤0.05) than that at early and late lactations. At late lactation also, TS and moisture contents were significantly (P≤0.05) higher than those at early lactation. The range of milk composition and quality such as fat (3.96 – 4.50%), SNF (9.02 – 9.40%), TS (13.01-13.81%), moisture (86.26 – 87.07%), Sp.Gr. (1.030- 1.031), pH (6.74 -6.91), TA (0.13 – 0.15%), MBRT (6.50 -7.40 h) belonged to normal range. M50-1, M50-3, M56, and M75-1 had higher test-day milk yields.
Currently, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries is developing the Australian Friesian Sahiwal as a dairy breed particularly adapted to tropical environments. Acaricide residues, the remnants of the bovine tick, in dairy products threaten the future of the industry in Queensland. At the Kairi Research Station, Australian Friesian Sahiwal heifers are ranked and selected for tick resistance.
A review of monthly tick counts shows that these heifers carry less than 2074 ticks than Friesians. Australian Friesian Sahiwal cows have not been treated with acaricide for .8 months, while Friesians need to be treated every month. Tick resistance is of paramount importance in the selection program, but the key to the acceptance of the new breed is milk production.
The lactation records of 32 Australian Friesian Sahiwal cows fed 1.5 tonnes of maize meal and grazing green panic-glycine pastures for 300 days were compared to that belonging to Friesians fed with 1.5 tonnes of maize meal. In lactation, the Australian Friesian Sahiwal cows produced an average of 3250 kg of milk. This accounted for 7@$ of the milk, 88% of the butterfat, and 77% of the SNF.
A total of 12 cows with unsupplemented A.F.S. have produced 2,860 kilograms of milk, which is 79% of the unsupplemented Friesian milk production. Several selected Australian Friesian Sahiwal cows performed better than the average production of 3300 kg a year for herds on the Atherton Tableland. The Australian Friesian Sahiwal breed has reached a stage where it is being compared with other breed types on cooperative dairy farms and bulls selected for tick resistance are being tested in these herds.