Realizing the need to improve the local cattle population, systematic crossbreeding of local cattle with exotic breeds of cattle in Bhutan started with the inception of the 1st FYP period. Accordingly nucleus farms were established in the country. National Jersey Breeding Centre, Samtse was established during the 1st FYP (1961-1965). The farm initially begun with just 20 acres of land and had 8 Haryana cows, 2 bulls, 8 Murrah buffaloes and 2 bulls purchased from Kolkata. It served as an integrated farm comprising swine and poultry in addition to cattle till the end of the 5th FYP. During the 6th FYP swine and poultry was phased out and the farm concentrated on Jersey breeding with the mandate to produce purebred jersey bulls for distribution to the Dzongkhags. The farm was under the Aus-aid technical assistance from 1975 to 1986. National Jersey Breeding Centre is the only nucleus farm in the country for maintaining purebred Jersey germplasm. The Department of Livestock imported around 30 adult Karan Fries cows at the end of June 2014 for adaptability trial and the animals are being reared in the centre.
The main objectives of the National Jersey Breeding Centre shall be;
In principle the centre has 348.45 acres of land registered in the thram. However, around 224.85 acres of land cannot be used as it was affected by frequent flashfloods and has become unproductive. The centre has only around 123.60 acres of productive land and had been performing under this limited landholding scenario.
Total Land Holdings = 348.45 acres
Degraded, flood affected land = 224.85 acres
Land under use = 123.60 acres
Under annual fodder crops = 42.50 acres
Under improved pasture/others = 81.10 acres