Milk is favorite food in Pakistan and is consumed as fresh, boiled, powdered and in processed form like yogurt, ghee, lassi, butter, cheese, ice cream, sweets and in other confectioneries. As per IFCN (International Farms Comparison Network) Dairy Report 2014, Pakistan is 3rd largest milk producing country in the world. Buffalos found in Pakistan make up 47% of Pakistan's major dairy animal's population providing more than about 61% of the total milk produced in the country. Buffalo breeds found in Pakistan are Nili Ravi, Kundi and Aza Kheli. Nili Ravi is considered the best buffalo breed in world and known as Black Gold of Pakistan. Cattle constitute about 53% of the national population of major dairy animals in Pakistan and contribute the share of almost 35% to the total milk production in country. The cattle breeds found in the country are Sahiwal, Cholistani, Red Sndhi, Achai, Bhagnari, Dajal, Dhanni, Gibrali, Kankraj, Lohani, Rojhan, and Thari.
Cow milk differs from Buffalo milk in richness and composition. Buffalo milk has lower cholesterol but more calories and fat compared with cow's milk. Buffalo milk is consumed in south Asia, with India, China and Pakistan being the biggest producers. Buffalo milk is extremely rich in calcium, and is a good source of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Nili Ravi Bufalos
The hometract of the Nili-Ravi buffalo includes Lahore, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Okara, Sahiwal, Pakpattan and Vehari districts of Central Punjab; and Multan and parts of Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar districts of southern Punjab. However, because of their well-recognized dairy qualities, these animals are now found all over the country. Nili-Ravi 'buffaloes are in great demand in several other countries as well. Nili and Ravi were recognized as separate breeds until 1960's when merging of the two breeds was accepted in the form of Nili-Ravi breed.
• These buffaloes are massive, somewhat wedge-shaped animals.
• They are mostly black, but often have white markings on the forehead, face, and muzzle, and lower parts of the legs. Due to which it is called “Panj Kalyan”. The tail switch is often white.
• They have all curly horns, wall eyes, and a large and strong udder.
• Males attain maturity at the age of 30 months, and females at 36 months.
• Average age at first calving is 1390 days
• Milk yield is 1800-2500 litres per lactation (322 days) with 6.5% butter fat.
• Adult males weigh 550-650 kg, while females weigh 350-450 Kg.
• Males may be used for draught purposes, especially for preparing land for paddy cultivation and are a good source of beef.
• White markings extending above hock and knee and over the neck and body constitute a serious disqualification.
During last ten years major changes has been occurred in dairy sector of Pakistan and due to these change this sector is on the way to become an industry. A large number of modern dairy farms have been established in different areas. Most of these dairy farms have exotic animals and number of these animals is in hundreds and even in thousands. Dairy farms with more than 3000 animals also exist and with 5000 animals are in plan. Such farms have adopted most modern managemental and feeding practices and well trained man power. Milk produced on these farms is either sold out in processed/fresh form through outlets/ departmental stores/house supply etc. or supplied to dairy companies.