ICAR-NRC on Yak was established in the year 1989 in the heart of peaceful and blissful town of Dirang in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. Initially, the campus was located in Regional Temperate Fodder Station of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, Government of Arunachal Pradesh and was subsequently, shifted to the present location in 1995. In the same year, institute's experimental yak farm was set up at Nyukmadung (2750 m above mean sea level), about 31 km from Dirang.
Since its inception, the institute has made huge strides in yak research and socio-economic upliftment of y ak rearers despite huge challenges like remote geographical location, poor connectivity and manpower shortage etc. In fact, ICAR-NRC on Yak stands testimony to the fact that ICAR has managed to reach as well as thrive in some of the remotest corners of our country. The institute stands tall due to extreme dedication, relentless perseverance, proactive approach and efficiency of scientific as well as other staff members.
Research efforts at the institute have been multi-pronged and integrated at the same time in order to ensure that yak husbandry stays scientific, sustainable and remunerative. These include: conservation of unique yak germplasm through registration of first and the lone yak breed (till date) viz. Arunachali yak, dissemination of superior yak germplasm through artificial insemination, yak-specific complete feed blocks (CFBs) and silage to mitigate the problem of feed scarcity in winters, thermo-adaptability studies to identify climate-friendly shelter material for yaks, monitoring and treatment of common yak diseases and parasites, development of Mozarella and ripened cheese from yak milk and value-added products of yak fibre and yak-jute blended products.
Time and again, the institute has added several feathers to the hat of ICAR and received worldwide acclaim and recognition for producing world's first Embryo Transfer Technology (ETT) born yak calf - MISMO in 2005 and first IVF born yak calf - NORGYAL in 2013. Besides, the scientists of the institute have also perfected ultrasound guided transvaginal ovum-pick up technique for oocyte retrieval and in vitro production of yak embryos.
We believe that collaboration and active partnership is crucial for integrating multiple objectives and achieving great feats. In line with this, the institute is working together with various institutes and agencies in prestigious projects targeting sustainability and economic empowerment of yak farmers. Some of these include: AICRP on Plastic Engineering in Agriculture Structures and Environment Management (PEASEM) for exploring the application of plastic in yak husbandry, network project funded by IIMR, Ludhiana on Maize production in NEH region for sustainable livestock production, DST funded project on Himalayan Agriculture under National Mission on Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystems, AICRP on FMD and DBT funded project on Socio-economic upliftment of yak rearing communities in Northeastern region by capacity building and technological interventions.
The institute equally realizes the importance of extension activities in transfer of technology along with scientific information from lab to land. Under the Scheduled Tribe component (STC) activities, the institute imparts knowledge of scientific yak management practices besides providing much needed inputs including feed, mineral mixture, veterinary medicines and other essentials to the tribal yak herders in all the yak rearing states of the country. Immediate relief measures provided by the institute to the yak farmers of Sikkim post heavy yak mortality due to feed shortage as a result of unprecedented and prolonged snowfall during 2018-19 were widely acknowledged and applauded. Also, since 2019 onwards, in order to avert the future occurrence of such events and as a part of disaster preparedness strategy, the institute provides feed inputs including CFBs to the yak farmers of Sikkim before winter sets in.
Recent endeavors of the institute include: launch of yak insurance policy to shield yak rearers against uncertainties and mishaps and approval for a much-awaited regional centre at Ladakh to broaden its outreach amongst yak farmers.
With the ever-looming threat of climate change, growing affinity towards pastoralist systems of production and realization of a 'deeper connect' between animals and the communities, yak is increasingly becoming an animal of interest for the world community. We envision honing our capabilities and bringing cutting-edge research and innovation into yak production in order to become a worldwide authority on scientific and sustainable yak husbandry. Let's work together for.... Revered, Resilient and Reinvigorating Yak
Jai Hind.