MECHERI SHEEP RESEARCH STATION (MSRS)

Pottaneri – 636 453, Mecheri Taluk, Salem District, Tamil Nadu

Genesis

The origin of this station could be linked to the implementation of an ICAR funded research scheme on "Studies on carcass characteristics of Mecheri and Mandya lambs" at Alamarathupatti village of Kolathur Block in Salem district from 12.02.1971. The Mecheri Sheep Research Station was started on 05.06.1978 at Pottaneri Panchayat of Mecheri Block in Salem district with the aim of improving the Mecheri sheep which was considered to be the best indigenous mutton breed of Tamil Nadu.

Objectives

  • To improve Mecheri breed of sheep by breeding and management.
  • Characterization, conservation, popularization and improvement of local sheep and goat breeds.
  • To distribute superior germplasm of sheep and goats to the farmers of the breeding tract to improve their flocks.
  • To study the management practices and formulation of strategies involved in profitable sheep and goat rearing under dry land-farming systems.
  • To popularize suitable package of practices among farmers for improved fodder production, development of fodder seed bank and supply of fodder inputs.

Location

This research station is situated in Salem –Mettur highway about 35 km west of Salem and 15 km east of Mettur at a longitude of 77° 56’E, latitude of 11° 45’N and altitude of about 650 feet above MSL. This station covers an area of 164.36 acres.

Agro-Climatic Condition

The soil profile of this area is loamy in the plain and rocky in the hills. The average annual rainfall is about 894 mm. The rainy season commences from July and continues till the end of November. The average maximum and minimum temperatures are 34.3°C and 21.9°C respectively.

Average monthly rainfall recorded at Mecheri Sheep Research Station, Pottaneri
Months Average (1983 to 2017)
January 3.45
February 3.83
March 22.00
April 57.19
May 98.30
June 58.93
July 81.50
August 123.75
September 157.46
October 155.58
November 95.53
December 36.87
Annual Rainfall 894.38

Completed Research Projects: (2000 - 2014)

TITLE FUNDING AGENCY DURATION TOTAL COST (lakhs)
Survey, evaluation and characterization of Mecheri Sheep breed ICAR 1.04.2000 to 31.03.2002 11.73
Effect of neem (Azadirachta indica) feeding on reproductive and productive performance of Tellicherry ICAR 01.10.2002 to 31.09.2006 8.03
Establishment of modern Salem black goat unit and optimize the feeding standards for economical production in dry land tract. (Part – II Scheme) Government of Tamil Nadu 01.11.2011 to 31.12.2013 12.55
Popularizing model fodder seed bank at farmers field to augment fodder production (NADP Scheme) NADP-RKVY, Government of Tamil Nadu. 06.01.2012 19.45 (MSRS 6.082)
Improving Socio - Economic status of Scheduled tribes through backyard chicken rearing ICAR 23.11.2012 30.03.2013 25.02.2014 2.00 0.25 0.30
Soil and mineral mapping in farmers field and sensitizing them to improve biomass and to augment livestock productivity State Planning Commission, Tamil Nadu State Land Use Research Board, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai 16.05.2013 3.00 (0.15)
Soil- Fodder – Livestock Interface To Augment Productivity (Phase I) State Planning Commission, Tamil Nadu State Land Use Research Board, Government of Tamil Nadu, Chennai 2014 to 2015
Central sector scheme on ‘Biotech centre for fecundity genes’ GOI – Integrated Development of Small Ruminants and Rabbits 21.05.2012 to 31.03.2016 19.99

Ongoing Research Projects

TITLE FUNDING AGENCY DATE OF START TOTAL COST (lakhs)
Mega sheep seed project Mecheri sheep ICAR - Central Sheep and Wool Research Station, Avikanagar, Rajasthan. 01.04.2009 269 lakh Continuing scheme
Revolving fund scheme on Commercial Salem Black goat rearing TANUVAS, Chennai-51 11.08.2016 70,000
Revolving fund scheme on Fattening of Mecheri Ram lambs TANUVAS, Chennai-51 30.03.2017 1,05,000
Establishment of Vermicomposting unit in MSRS TANUVAS, Chennai-51 30.03.2017 30,000
Revolving fund scheme on Fattening of Salem Black kids TANUVAS, Chennai-51 02.08.2017 80,000
ICAR - Veterinary type culture - Tribal sub plan Indian Council of Agricultural Research 01.04.2015 4.00

Different Units in Mecheri Sheep Research Station

SHEEP UNIT

Nucleus flock of Mecheri sheep breed is being maintained at this station to carryout various genetic improvement programmes and to supply superior germplasm to the farmers.

MECHERI SHEEP

ORIGIN HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

Mecheri sheep are distributed in Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Karur and parts of Dindigul and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu. The name Mecheri has been derived from its place of origin i.e., Mecheri block in Mettur taluk of Salem District. The place Mecheri is said to be derived from “Mechal Eri” (Mechal - grazing of sheep and Eri-pond). The Mecheri sheep has other synonyms like Thuvaramchempuli, Maiylambadi and Kannivadi. Mecheri sheep with typical morphological features are seen in Tharamangalam, Omalur, Kolathur and Mecheri blocks of Salem district.

BREED CHARACTERS

Mecheri sheep are medium sized animals with compact body and covered with short hairs, which are not shorn. They are light brown in colour. The profile is slightly Roman nose. Mecheri sheep is classified under polled breeds of sheep. Both males and females are polled. The legs are medium sized, straight and medium in length, squarely set under the body. The hooves are brown or black in colour. Udder is not well developed. It is small and round, tightly attached to the belly with small conical teats placed laterally. The teats are directed slightly outward.

The leather made from Mecheri sheep skins have higher tensile, tear and grain crack strengths as compared with leather made from mixed origin. With regard to organoleptic properties of skin, the Mecheri skin is better in quality in terms of softness, grain tightness, fullness, surface smoothness, and uniformity of colour and general appearance. The hand evaluation assessment and strength characteristics determination reveals that the Mecheri sheep skins are superior and are suitable for higher quality garment or upper valued leathers. The special features of this breed are early sexual maturity, superior skin quality and high dressing percentage (Read more)

GOAT UNIT

Nucleus herd of Salem Black goat breed has been maintained at this station to implement genetic improvement programmes and to supply superior germplasm to the farmers.

SALEM BLACK

ORIGIN HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

Salem Black goats are distributed in north-western agro climatic zone of Tamil Nadu and are reared mainly for meat. The name “Salem Black” has been derived from its place of origin and coat colour. The name Salem has been derived from the place called Salem (i.e., Salem districts of Tamil Nadu), where this breed has been actually originated. Since, this breed is completely black in colour; called as Salem Black goats. It has synonym viz., Karuppuadu. They are mainly distributed in Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and adjoining areas of Erode and Namakkal districts. Salem Black goats with true-to-type are present in Mettur and Omalur taluks of Salem district as well as Pennagaram, Palakkodu and Harur taluks of Dharmapuri district.

BREED CHARCATERS

Salem Black goats are tall animals with lean body and the coat colour is completely black in colour. The head is medium in length with medium to broad forehead. The ears are medium in size, leaf like and semi-pendulous. In adults, both males and females have horns and they are ash grey to grey in colour with no typical horn pattern. They have long, lean and straight legs squarely set under the body. The hooves and dewclaws are grey in colour. The tail is thin, medium in length and curled upwards. Males have fairly long, straight and rough hairs on the neck and withers and all other parts have short and soft hairs. Udder is not well developed. It is small and round and tightly attached to the belly with small conical teats placed laterally.

Salem Black goats have considerable production potential under semi-arid, tropical conditions of north-western agro-climatic zone of Tamil Nadu. The distinguishing features of this breed are early sexual maturity, better adaptability to harsh climatic condition and higher prolificacy (Read more)

PASTURE SECTION

In pasture section different pasture fields has been established with grasses and legumes as well as different fodder trees have been grown to meet the fodder production of this station. For effective water utilization different micro-irrigation systems have been used.

Pasture fields : Cenchrus ciliaris, Guinea grass (Panicum maximum), Stylosanthes hamata and Stylosanthes scabra

Irrigated fodders: Cumbu Napier hybrid (Co-4), Cumbu Napier hybrid (Co-5), Guinea grass, Guinea grass-GG3, Desmanthus spp., Co FS 29, Australian Red Napier, Andhra Pradesh Napier.

Rain fed crops : Horse gram, Sun hemp, Cow pea, Sorghum, Groundnut, Cumbu and Ragi

Fodder trees : Neem, Glyricidia, Vagai, Agathi, Kapok, Kodukapuli, Velvel, Teak, Subabul, Tamarind, Puvarasu and Moringa.

The fodder slips and different fodder seeds are sold to the farmers. (Read more)

MODEL FODDER PLOT UNIT

A model fodder plot with various fodder varieties has been established at this station. The different fodder seeds and slips have been sold to the farmers (Read more)

TREE NURSERY UNIT

A tree nursery has been established and maintained at this station with different fodder tree saplings. Different fodder tree saplings have been sold to farmers for increasing fodder production (Read more)

HERBAL GARDEN

Herbal garden has been established at this station for maintaining important herbal plants for conservation and to supply the original herbal varieties to the needy farmers. At this station, around 100 important herbal plants have been established and maintained. The herbal plants are sold to the farmers(Read more)

VERMI-COMPOST UNIT

A vermicompost unit has been established and maintained for the production and supply of earth worms and vermicompost to cater the needs of the station as well as farmers.

Vermicomposting is the process of degradation of organic wastes by earthworms to achieve three objectives viz.,

  • To upgrade the value of organic waste material so that it can be reused
  • To produce upgraded materials in-situ
  • To obtain a final product free of chemical or biological pollutants.

Any type of containers can be used. The number of earthworms will depend on the container size. A volume of 0.3 m3 (1 m x 1 m x 0.3 m ) can accommodate 2000 worms. The container can be constructed in brick masonary and cement, wood or even plastic trough can be used. Composting has to be done under a roof to avoid direct sunlight and rain.

In Mecheri Sheep Research Station, Pottaneri, three different types of vermicompost models have been established for demonstration to the farmers and vermicompost production. The earthworm Eudrillus eugeniae is used in all the three models. The vermicompost and earth worms are sold to the farmers(Read more)

AZOLLA UNIT

Azolla unit has been established with different models for the propagation of Azolla as a fodder among the farming communities in and around this station. Azolla (Azolla sp.) is an aquatic fern consisting of a short, branched, floating stem, bearing roots which hang down in the water. The leaves are alternately arranged, each consisting of thick aerial dorsal lobe containing green chlorophyll and a slightly larger thin, colourless, floating ventral lobe. Plant diameter ranges from 1.0 to 2.5 cm for small species such as Azolla pinnata and 15 cm or more for Azolla nilotica. Azolla plants are triangular or polygonal in shape, and float on the surface of the water, individually or in mats. The most remarkable characteristic of azolla is its symbiotic relationship with the nitrogen-fixing blue-green alga (cyanobacterium) Anabaena azollae. The fern provides nutrients and a protective cavity in each leaf to Anabaena colonies in exchange for fixed atmospheric nitrogen and possibly other growth-promoting substances. Water is the fundamental requirement for the growth and multiplication of Azolla as the plant is extremely sensitive to lack of water. Although Azolla can grow on wet mud surfaces or wet pit litters, it prefers a free-floating state. Azolla grows best in full to partial shade (25 to 50 per cent of full sunlight). Growth decreases quickly under heavy shade (lower than 1500 lux) and more than 50 per cent of full sunlight reduces photosynthesis. The optimum relative humidity for azolla growth is between 85 and 90 per cent. Azolla becomes dry and fragile at a relative humidity lower than 60 per cent. Successful cultivation of azolla requires the application of a certain amount of phosphorus fertilizer (0.5 to 1.0 kg P/ha/week). Three different azolla units have been established for demonstration and also for utilization as a feed for the animals maintained in this station. Azolla seeds have been supplied to the farmers for establishment in their premises(Read more)

MODEL VEGETABLE GARDEN

In order to promote roof top vegetable garden in urban areas, a model vegetable garden unit has been established for demonstration to the farmers. Roof gardens are most often found in urban environments. Available gardening areas in cities are often seriously lacking, which is likely the key impetus for many roof gardens. The garden may be on the roof of an autonomous building which takes care of its own water and waste. Plantings in containers are used extensively in roof top gardens. At Mecheri Sheep Research Station, Pottaneri, the vegetable plants are kept in specific pots for demonstration as well as vegetable production(Read more)

Production Performance of Sheep and Goat at MSRS Pottaneri

Body weight (kg) of Mecheri Sheep
Sex Birth Weight Weaning Weight 6- Months Weight 12 Months Weight
Male 2.35 ± 0.36 11.13 ± 0.20 15.67 ± 0.27 19.56 ± 0.66
Female 2.38 ± 0.22 10.10 ± 0.12 13.31 ± 0.25 15.13 ± 0.59
Overall Mean 2.36 ± 0.21 10.60 ± 0.11 14.45 ± 0.19 17.21 ± 0.44

Extension Activities

  • Farmer’s training program: Organizing on campus and off training programmes to the farmers and livestock entrepreneurs on sheep and goat rearing.
  • Advisory services: Regular advice and consultancy services to farmers concerning the farm problems and establishment of pasture in sheep and goat rearing.
  • Technical assistance to entrepreneurs involved in sheep and goat farming.
  • Center for providing research facilities to post graduate students of the university.
  • Various aspects of livestock management practices and health related problems are broad casted in All India Radio, Trichy periodically.
  • Preparation and distribution of pamphlets and handouts on livestock farming to farmers.
  • Participation in mass contact programmes and various veterinary health and livestock shows organized by co-ordinating departments.

Post Graduate Research Work Undertaken at MSRS, Pottaneri

NAME THESIS TITLE YEAR
PhD - THESIS RESEARCH
Dr.K.Karunanithi Studies on cryopreservation of Ram Semen 1994
Dr.V.Jeichitra Genetic analysis of growth traits in Mecheri sheep 2006
Dr.G. Selvaraju Development of diseases forecasting system against diseases of small ruminants 2007
Dr.K.Arunachalam Epidemiology and metaphylaxis of subclinical coccidiosis in small ruminants 2007
Dr.D.Rajendran Optimising microbial protein synthesis through dietary manipulation in forage based diet of Mecheri Sheep 2007
Dr.A.Sudhakar Molecular Study on BMP-1B, IGFBHP-3 and POU-1F1 genes in Mecheri and Nilgiris Sheep 2007
D.Jayanthi Studies on growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of Salem black goat 2012
Dr.D.Cauveri Genetic variability of growth hormone and Leptin gene and their association with growth traits in sheep breeds of Tamilnadu 2013
Dr.R.Chitra Polymorphism of IGF-1,BMP and CAST genes and their association with growth traits in Madras Red and Mecheri sheep 2013
MVSc - THESIS RESEARCH
Dr.R.Selvakumar Effect of Supplementation of protein and growth promoter on growing lambs on slatted floor 2003
Dr.R.Karthick Effect of herbal feed supplementation on the performance of grazing lambs 2010
Dr.S.Rajasokkappan Epidemiology and metaphylaxis of subclinical coccidiosis in small ruminants 2010
Dr.C.Balan Statistical modelling of growth performance in Mecheri sheep 2014
Dr.R.Santhoshkumar Early weaning performances in Mecheri sheep 2017
Dr.S.Senthilmuthukumararn Impact assessment of Mega Sheep Seed Project 2017
MSc - THESIS RESEARCH
M.Mohanasundari Studies on Biochemical profiles of Malabari goats in relation with age and sex 2001
M.Rameshkumar Influence of Age and Sex on Biochemical profile of Mecheri Sheep 2001

Faculty

  • Dr. J.Muralidharan, Professor and Head | muralidharan.j@ tanuvas.ac.in | Mobile: +91-9443517695
  • Dr. N.Sribalaji, Assistant Professor | sribalaji.n@tanuvas.ac.in | +91-9345304334
  • Dr. P.Senthilkumar, Assistant Professor | senthilkumar.p@tanuvas.ac.in | +91-9943936811
  • Dr. V.Sankar, Assistant Professor | sankar.v@tanuvas.ac.in | Mobile: +91 – 9585689018
  • Dr. P.Nalini, Assistant Professor | aishvet@gmail.com| Mobile: +91 - 9786453279
  • Dr. L.Arun, Assistant Professor (External Deputation for PhD)

Contact

The Professor and Head,

Mecheri Sheep Research Station,

Pottaneri – 636 453,

Salem District.

Phone: +91-4298 - 262023

E-mail: msrs@tanuvas.org.in

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