Ladakhi breed is found in the high-altitude desert region where the main source of water is the winter snowfall on the mountains. These cattle are native to the Leh-Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, and have their breeding tracts in and around the Leh and Kargil districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakhi cattle is a unique germplasm having excellent adaptation to high atmospheric conditions.
The regions on the north flank of the Himalayas experience heavy snowfall and remain virtually cut off from the rest of the country for several months in the year, while summers are short but long enough to grow crops. The proportion of oxygen is comparatively less due to a lack of vegetation. Nevertheless, these are well adapted to the extreme cold climatic and hypoxic (decreased oxygen supply) conditions.
This breed like the other native breeds are known for their resistance to diseases and their ability to thrive on low input system.
These cattle are reared under the extensive system for milk, draft and manure purposes. This cow is a great source of A2 milk. In spite of extreme climatic conditions, subsistence on poor quality feed and low availability of water, it produces around 2 to 5 kg of milk per day.
Milk of this breed serves as an important protein source for local people, particularly during lean winter periods. Since its milk has a high fat percentage, it is used for producing butter and churpi – an important part of the local diet.
Incidentally, a technical bulletin “Ladakhi Cattle: A Unique Animal Genetic Resource Adapted to High Altitute of Leh-Ladakh” released by ICAR provides insight into the research conducted by scientists and researchers.
It is very important to take up measures for the improvement, protection and conservation of this breed of cattle. Necessary efforts are being put in place.