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1. CATTLE (excluding zebus)

L.K. Ernst and N.G. Dmitriev

The USSR has more cattle than any other country in the world except India. The total is 115 million. Of these 80% belong to the socialized sectors and the rest are on farmers' individual holdings. The 92 million cattle on state and collective farms include 633 000 zebus and zeboids, buffaloes and yaks as well as 22.29 million young fattening cattle. The remainder are the breeding cattle listed in Table 1.1 and described in this chapter.

The decades since the Second World War (1945-85) have seen profound changes in the breed composition of cattle. Some breeds with small numbers have disappeared -the local Kirgiz (Kazakh), Siberian, polled Pechora, northern polled Karelian, Buryat. Some populations of valuable local breeds have formed the basis of new breeds and varieties, for example the Kazakh Whiteheaded breed and the Pechora type of the Kholmogory breed. They introduced to the gene pool of the new breeds such characteristics as sound constitution, longevity, good adaptation to local husbandry conditions, resistance to tuberculosis and brucellosis.

At present 36 dairy and dairy-beef and 12 beef breeds are bred on the state and collective farms, 12 breeds having been developed in the last 40 years. Eleven foreign breeds are not described here. Of the large diversity of cattle breeds the most numerous are the Simmental (26.7%), Black Pied (25.2%), Red Steppe (19.2%), and Brown breeds (9.5%).

The long-term selection programme for improving the existing breeds and lines and developing new ones is being accomplished through the network of large breeding centres and farms and the state breeding and artificial insemination stations.

The present state and collective farms have large herds - from 1500 to 2000 head and more. On such large farms the conditions are available for production specialization and the introduction of industrial technology, the latest scientific advances and improved working methods.

In the USSR livestock farms are divided into two categories - breeding and commercial. Such a division is somewhat arbitary since in any commercial farm one-half of the herd is represented by a breeding group. Many farms raise purebred animals (i.e. 15/16 blood or more). The principal difference between breeding and commercial farms is in their specialization.

Breeding stations and their branch farms improve the breeding efficiency and performance of the breed, rear bulls for A.I. stations and young breeding stock for commercial herds. Breeding farms carry out progeny testing of sires. Taking into account that, on the average, one improver bull can be found among 4 bulls on test, it is reasonable to have at least 8-10% of the total cow population in the breeding farms.

The main purpose of the commercial farms is to produce milk and meat. The work of these farms is evaluated by the quantities produced and the cost of production.

Every year a comprehensive evaluation of cattle is carried out. Sires, cows, replacement heifers and young breeding bulls are subject to evaluation in both breeding and commercial farms. The evaluation includes the proportion of blood of the basic breed, origin, performance, live weight, conformation, progeny test and reproductive capacity.

The evaluation covers 75% of cows and bulls of dairy and dual-purpose breeds. Each is classed as Super Elite, Elite, 1st class or 2nd class.

According to the results of the evaluation animals are selected for registration in the State Herdbooks. These herdbooks register animals which meet the breed standards and belong to breeding stations, breeding state farms, breeding centres and breeding herds of commercial farms.

(in thousands)(excluding cattle for fattening)





17 708

4 198

Black Pied +

16 449

4 632

Red Steppe

13 282

7 579

Swiss Brown

2 999



2 407

1 001


1 890


Kazakh Whiteheaded +

1 570


Latvian Brown

1 417


Caucasian Brown +



Ala-Tau +



Yaroslavl o



Kostroma +



Lithuanian Black Pied



Sychevka +



Lebedin +



Tagil o



Lithuanian Red



Estonian Red



Byelorussian Red o



Kalmyk o



Kurgan +



Gorbatov Red o



Aulie-Ata +



Ukrainian Whiteheaded o



Estonian Black Pied



Carpathian Brown +



Polish Red o



Istoben o



Georgian Mountain *



Tambov Red +*



Bushuev +o



Suksun *



Mingrelian Red *



Yurino *



Estonian Native *



Ukrainian Grey *



Yakut *



Other breeds 1/

1 124


Total 69 078

o declining breed

* vanishing breed

+ new breed

1/ This includes breeds of foreign origin more recently imported, new breed groups resulting from their crosses with local breeds, and minor local breeds.

Purebred and crossbred (at least 7/8 blood) animals to be used for breeding, are entered in the State Herdbook for Cattle. Bulls must be at least of the elite class and their pedigrees must include data on their dam's parents and grandparents and sire's parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. To be registered in the herdbook, cows must be judged at least 1st class on the basis of the 1st lactation records, and their pedigrees must include dam's and sire's parents and grandparents. There are herdbooks for every breed described in the monograph except the local breeds.

The breeding farms have a financial interest in the registration of a large number of animals in the herdbooks because in this way the price of young stock for sale is increased.

There are 820 breeding farms in the dairy sector and 77 in the beef sector. On average, 32% of the total cow population are inseminated with semen from improver bulls and in the Baltic Republics up to 80%.

NOTE: On most farms cows are milked three times a day. Therefore, unless otherwise specified, milk yields quoted here refer to thrice-daily milking.

In this monograph the breeds are described in the following order:



Black Pied
Estonian Black Pied
Lithuanian Black Pied
Ukrainian Whiteheaded


Byelorussian Red
Estonian Red
Latvian Brown
Lithuanian Red
Polish Red
Red Steppe


Estonian Native



Gorbatov Red
Tambov Red




Swiss Brown
Carpathian Brown
Caucasian Brown




Kazakh Whiteheaded


Georgian Mountain
Mingrelian Red
Ukrainian Grey

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

Pied Dairy Breeds
BLACK PIED (Cherno-pestraya)

The Black Pied breed developed from crossing the local cattle in various areas with the Dutch Black Pied and East Friesian breeds. Pure breeding of Dutch cattle in Russia was conducted on only a small scale. The Central, Ukrainian, Siberian and other strains of Black Pied cattle were formed by absorptive and reproductive crossing.

The various strains of Black Pied cattle were approved as a planned breed in 1925. Therefore, some animals were imported from Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia and Lithuania during 1930-40 and distributed in various parts of the country. The imported sires improved milk production, feed conversion efficiency, and beef qualities. Five thousand head of the Dutch breed were imported during 1957-65. The production of the female ancestors of 107 bulls was 6-7000 kg of milk with butterfat content of 4.4-4.6%.

The Black Pied breed is noted for high milk production (the highest among the dairy breeds), good conformation and good beef qualities. Due to the high productivity, adjustment to machine milking, well-defined beef features and the ability to acclimatize, the population of this breed is increasing year by year. By the beginning of 1980 the number of Black Pied cattle in the USSR was 16 449 000 excluding the Baltic population. In numbers they are second (25.2%) among 50 cattle breeds in the country.

The Black Pied breed includes varied groups of animals, originating from different maternal stocks under different climatic and feeding conditions. The crossing of the local low-grade cattle - Great Russian, Siberian, Trans-Ural, Central Asian, Grey Ukrainian - with Dutch bulls started at different times. The basic aim was to form a breed adapted to many different regions but originating from a single foundation breed. This unified breed was recognized in 1959.

The Black Pied breed comprises five large populations: Central (Mid-Russian), Baltic, Ural, Siberian, and other zones, namely Ukraine, Byelorussia, Central Asia, and parts of Transcaucasia.

The animals of the Central group are the largest (live weight 550-650 kg), with a more compact conformation, relatively shortlegged and a good exterior appearance. This group is noted for the highest milk production (5500-6500 kg) with low butterfat content (3.6-3.7%).

On the other hand, the Ural strain is of a lighter, fine-boned solid type (500-600 kg live weight) with longer legs, less pronounced beef features, and high milk yield (5000-6000 kg) and butterfat content (3.8-3.9%).

The Siberian strain is an even lighter type (450-550 kg), with good milk yield (4500-5000 kg) and medium butterfat content (3.7-3.8%).

The remaining groups are intermediate between the three leading strains. The Baltic population is described separately under the headings Lithuanian Black Pied and Estonian Black Pied.

A network of selection centres was set up in the USSR in 1975. The Ail-Union Research Institute for Livestock Breeding and Genetics has become the centre for work with the Black Pied breed. It unites the breeding activities of the leading breeding stations and zonal institutions that deal with this breed. The main goal of this selection centre is to breed highly productive strains, types, herds, and lines of the Black Pied breed, by raising valuable sires for the A.I. stations, progeny testing them, storing semen of the improved sires, and using it for improving the great mass of the Black Pied cattle.

The comprehensive measures undertaken have made it possible to improve the productivity and the pedigree value of the Black Pied cattle in the working zones of the selection centres. The principal indicators of the activity of the breeding farms are the number and quality of the pedigree young stock produced and primarily of the sires. Realization in the last 15 years of this large-scale selection programme has allowed a new approach to line breeding of the Black Pied cattle. In the breeding herds, bulls are produced by intra-line assortative mating with the use of moderate inbreeding. In the commercial farms the breeding activities are confined to the rotational crossing of lines within the breed. This increases the productivity, viability and fertility of the offspring.

The successful use of selection to breed, assess and use the better genotypes assisted in the formation of highly productive herds of the national Black Pied cattle. The average milk yield of 11 100 cows of the leading herds surveyed in various regions of the RSFSR in 1984 was 5559 kg, with a butterfat content of 3.82%. The best breeding stations are as follows: Petrovski in Leningrad region (1080 cows, 6671 kg milk, 3.91% butterfat); Lesnoye (750 cows, 6604 milk, 3.89% butterfat); Petrovskoye in Moscow region (750 cows, 5630 kg, 3.94% ); Zarya Kommunizma in the same region (3150 cows, 5450 kg, 3.78%); Imeni Lenina collective farm in Tula region (1000 cows, 5480 kg, 3.90%).

The milk production of the champion Black Pied cows with a milk yield per lactation of over 10 000 kg and with a lifetime production of 90-100 000 kg points to the high potential of this breed. At the six base farms of the Ail-Union Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics alone over 100 cows with a milk production of 10 000 kg or more have been bred.

In Sverdlovsk region the milk yield of over 22 000 cows was 4800-5000 kg with 3.86-3.90% fat. At the leading breeding stations over 240 cows have a yield of 6500-7500 kg of including 206 cows with a yield of over 7000 kg.

The milk production of the best cows on the farms of the Ural area is as follows: Aida 220 (the record holder for lifetime production) produced in 13 lactations 117 720 kg of milk with a butterfat content of 3.75%, or 4415 kg of milk fat; she belongs to the stud farm No. 9 of Perm region. Cow Volga 3790, in her 3rd lactation produced 17 517 kg of milk with 4.20% butterfat; she was kept at Rossiya breeding centre in Chelyabinsk region. Gornaya 6329 at the same farm - 5th, 13 849 kg, 4.10%; Yagoda 6010 - 3rd, 13 146 kg, 3.93%.

The Black Pied breed accounts for the greatest numbers of champions with milk yields over 10 000 kg - 79 out of 212.

The breeding programme of the Black Pied breed aims to produce a type with a milk yield of 6.0-7.5 thousand kg, butterfat content 3.8-3.9%, live weight of cows not less than 600 kg, udder index of 43-45% and milk flow speed of 2.0-2.5 kg per minute by using Holstein-Friesian sires from the U.S.A. and Canada. By the beginning of 1985 the basic numbers of highly productive halfbreds were bred at the leading breeding centres namely: Lesnoe and Petrovski in Leningrad region, Zarya Kommunizma in Moscow region and at Imeni Lenina collective farm in Tula region. Valuable sires have been bred in these herds as well.

The best cows at the leading farms of the selection centre are united in the super-elite group. The milk production of these animals is 6.2-7.7 000 kg with a butterfat content of 3.99-4.27%. They are used to produce replacement bull calves.

The breeding establishments of this country have valuable sires. The milk production of their dams and of the female ancestors of their sires ranges from 6250 to 8300 kg with butterfat content 3.99-4.48%. The major suppliers of the replacement bulls for the breeding centres are the farms of Moscow, Leningrad, Perm, Chelyabinsk, and Sverdlovsk regions.

Bulls of more than 70 related groups and lines are currently in use; 45 of them are represented by small numbers of descendants and have only local importance. The sires of the lines Rikus 25415 (16.5%), Poseidon 239, and Oreshek 1 are widely used among the national lines. The descendants of the well-known Dutch bull Annnas Adema 30587 through the related groups of Keimpe 48326/43454 (21.7%) and Frizo Vouter 44116 (8.4%) have been widely distributed (30.1%).

Studies at the breeding station Lesnoye and at the breeding farm Torosovo in the Leningrad region have shown that selection has had only a minor effect on the frequency of specific erythrocyte antigens. This relative stability suggests that these polymorphisms are of adaptive significance.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

ESTONIAN BLACK PIED (Cherno-pestraya estonskaya)

The breed was developed by crossing the local cattle of Estonia with the Dutch Black Pied and the East Friesian beginning in the second half of the last century. Long-term inter se breeding of the crosses combined with selection for milk production led to the creation of a large group of Black Pied cattle with high milk yield but relatively low fat content. Since 1885 these cattle, named Estonian Dutch-Friesian, have been registered in a herdbook. To increase the fat content of the milk, bulls of high fat lines from the Netherlands have been used since 1930. In 1951 this group of cattle was renamed the Estonian Black Pied.

The characteristic features of these animals are: large size, compact conformation, strong skeleton, light, rather long head, deep and wide chest. The average live weight of cows is 500-600 kg; that of the bulls is 900-1000 kg.

In recent years 93 206 cows have averaged 3674 kg of milk with 3.84% fat; 10 604 cows registered in the herdbook averaged 4402 kg of milk with 3.96% butterfat; 48 000 cows at breeding farms averaged 4059 kg of milk with 3.83% fat; at the three best farms the cows averaged more than 5000 kg milk. Some cows of this breed produced over 400 kg of milk fat in a 305-day lactation. They have been raised at Vyandra state farm in Pyarnu district, at Estonia collective farm of Paides district and at Pydragu state farm in Rakvere district. Cow Kolli 1265 from Vyandra produced in her 4th lactation 13 927 kg of milk with 4.47% fat; Atsi 1802: 3rd, 13 580 kg, 4.39%; Luyva 1294: 4th, 12 965 kg, 4.26%; Stella 1302: 4th, 11 838 kg, 4.65%. The lifetime milk yield of 847 cows from 69 farms exceeds 50 thousand kg. The highest lifetime production was by cow Mirvik 1462 from Estonia collective farm: in 13 lactations she produced 106 016 kg of milk with 3.91% fat. Cow Layki 1144 in 15 lactations produced 91 565 kg of milk with 4.02% fat.

The breed includes 4 major lines.

The breed zoning plan for the republic envisages the extension of the habitat of the Estonian Black Pied. At the beginning of 1980 the total number was 208 000.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

LITHUANIAN BLACK PIED (Cherno-pestraya litovskaya)

The breed developed from crossing the local Lithuanian cattle with the Dutch Black Pield breed. The East Friesian and Swedish Friesian also participated in its formation.

In 1951 the Lithuanian Black Pied breed was approved as a planned one for this republic. It is bred at present in 25 regions of Lithuania. In 1980 the population of this breed was 740 000; it accounts for 57% of all cattle of recognized breeds in this republic.

The modern Lithuanian Black Pied cattle are characterized by a wide barrel and a strong constitution. There are animals with clearly pronounced dairy, intermediate, and dairy-beef conformation. The live weight of pedigree heifers is 513 kg and that of mature cows is 553 kg. The optimum live weight of cows on breeding pedigree farms is considered to be 600 kg or more.

These cattle are early maturing; the young stock are noted for their rapid growth rate and good feed conversion. Intensively raised calves reach a weight of 380-420 kg by the age 17-18 months. At the best farms the live weight of young stock reaches 433 kg. On performance test steers reach the weight of 450-480 kg by the age of 15 months; average daily gain is 1050 g, and feed conversion efficiency is 6.6-6.8 feed units per kg gain; dressing percentage is 58-59.

The milk recording results' point to the high productive potential of the Black Pied Lithuanian cows: on 64 farms the annual milk yield averages 4000 kg; on 4 farms it is 4500 kg and in 2 farms it is 5000 kg per cow. The most productive animals within the breed are as follows: 9246 cows with milk yields over 5000 kg, 1251 cows with over 6000 kg, 179 cows with 7000 kg and more. The record holders of the breed are the cows Yava 6297 (3rd, 11 201 kg, 4.08%), Tserke 6163 (4th, 10 229 kg, 4.01%), Lele 6269 (4th, 9167 kg, 4:78%).

A highly productive herd with high butterfat content of milk has been formed at Vilnius stud farm. The average milk yield for this herd in recent years has been 5428 kg with 4.19% fat.

Dutch cattle have considerably influenced the genealogical structure of the Lithuanian Black Pied cattle: initially the best Dutch sires were founders of most lines. Then the creation of their own lines began. In 1979 six new stud lines and four related groups accounted for 42.4% of the cows kept at the breeding farms and for 65.4% of the bulls that belong to the breeding establishments. The butterfat content of the milk of the Lithuanian Black Pied cows is increasing along with the proportion of animals belonging to the new lines and related groups. The female descendants of the best founder bulls of the new lines and related groups have displayed a high milk production - a yield of 5881-6624 kg with 4.19-4.42% fat.

Further improvement of the Black Pied Lithuanian cattle aims at the increase of milk yield, better milk quality and adjustment to twice-daily machine milking. The selection programme envisages the differentiation of the breed into conformational types and specialized lines. Side by side with pure breeding it is planned to use the gene pool of the related British Friesian breed.

The genetic analysis of the breed using blood groups has shown that the degree of homozygosity is low (6.3%), which points to a high heterogeneity of the breed and great potential for improvement.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

AULIE-ATA (Aulieatinskaya)

The creation of this breed started in 1885 in the Aulie-Ata district of Kirgizia. The local Kazakh cattle were crossed with the Dutch Black Pied breed and the crosses were bred inter se. The crossbreds gradually spread to other regions of Kirgizia and Kazakhstan and to some areas of Uzbekistan. They were recognized as an official breed in 1950. Planned breeding of Aulie-Ata cattle began in 1935 when collective breeding farms and state breeding stations were set up; local cows were initially crossed with East Friesian bulls and the crosses were raised under improved conditions of feeding and management.

Modern Aulie-Ata cattle are well adapted to the local natural and climatic conditions; they can easily withstand hot weather, can be kept on mountain pastures, and they are more resistant than imported breeds to theileriosis and piroplasmosis.

In conformation the Aulie-Ata resembles Dutch cattle: the body is long, with a light head, small horns, and thin neck with few wrinkles. The top line (withers, back and loin) is level with slightly raised rump. The udder is medium in size and cup-shaped. Coat colour is mainly black, frequently with white spots on the abdomen, udder, lower chest and legs; light grey animals are also observed. The average measurements of mature cows are as follows (in cm): withers height 128.8, chest depth 69.2, oblique body length 153.0, heart girth 186.2, cannon bone girth 18.7 (National Herdbook, vol. 4). The average live weight of mature cows at breeding farms is 480-510 kg; the heaviest cows weigh 575 kg. The live weight of mature bulls is 810-960 kg; the maximum weight is 1160 kg.

In one of the best herds, that belonging to the breeding centre at Pobeda collective farm in Chimkent region of the Kazakh Republic, there are three conformational and performance types: narrow-bodied dairy (31.4%), wide-bodied dairy (38%), and dairy-beef (30.6%). The types differ in both external and internal characteristics - in both live weight and milk and beef productivity. Under the same conditions of feeding and management the most productive mature cows are those of the wide-bodied dairy type; their milk yield is 20.5% higher than that of the narrow-bodied dairy cows. They also have more regular lactations. The wide-bodied dairy cows weigh 33 kg more than the narrow-bodied type. The reproductive ability of the wide-bodied cows, measured by the average calving interval and service period, is also higher. For farms of the "whole milk zone" in the south of the Kazakh Republic preference should be given to wide-barrelled dairy animals as the most productive, the largest and having the best food conversion.

The average milk production of mature cows, as recorded in the National Herd-book (vol. 4), is 3735 kg, with fat content of 4.01%.

The most productive herds of Aulie-Ata cattle in recent years are as follows: The herd of Jambul sugarbeet state farm of the Kazakh Republic: the milk yield of mature cows there reached 4971 kg, with fat content of 3.82%. The herd at the 22 Partsyezd collective farm of Jambul region which averaged 4157 kg of milk and 158 kg of milk fat in 1979. In 1982 in the herd of V.I. Lenin collective farm of Jambul region the average was 3806 kg of milk and 146 kg of milk fat. In 1983 the breeding farm of Pobeda collective farm of Talass region of the Kirgiz SSR with 705 head of cows had an average yield of 3636 kg of milk and 136 kg of fat.

Aulie-Ata cattle fatten well. When fattening on pasture without additional feeding the daily gain of steers is up to 1 kg. The dressing percentage is 52-56; for some animals it is up to 60. The beef is tender, very tasty, highly nutritious.

The breed includes 6 blood lines and 2 related groups. Its numbers at the beginning of 1980 were 265 000 head.

The most valuable features of this breed are as follows: adaptation to the ecological conditions of the breeding zone, high vitality and strong constitution. To preserve and better use this genetic resource it is necessary to improve the economic basis of the breeding farms, to intensify the techniques of selection, to set up an adequate bank of frozen semen of the best sires of the breed. The major breeding aim is to increase milk yield and fat content and to improve the conformation and beef qualities. To help with this programme it will be expedient to use the blood of related breeds - the Dutch Black Pied and the Holstein.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

ISTOBEN (Istobenskaya)

The breed was established in the former Vyatka province (now Kirov region) by crossing the local Great Russian cattle with the Kholmogory, Swiss Brown, Dutch and East Friesian breeds. The development of dairy husbandry in this region was aided by a good feed base (from flood lands in the alluvial plains of the Vyatka and Moloma rivers), the near-by markets for selling dairy products and organized butter-making. The breed was named after the settlement of Istoben where a large creamery was set up; the best herds were concentrated in its vicinity.

The importation of the Kholmogory and Swiss Brown breeds began late in the 19th and early in the 20th century; later the Yaroslavl breed was imported. During 1936-37 there was an infusion of East Friesian blood. Nevertheless, crossing of the local cattle with the above-mentioned breeds was quite limited and had no major effect on the productivity of the local herds. During selection the major emphasis was placed on fat content.

In 1935 the National Herdbook of the Istoben cattle was opened. The breed was recognized in 1943.

The animals of this breed have clearly-defined dairy features; their constitution is strong and conformation compact. The head is somewhat coarse with a long face. The chest is deep and long but not wide enough; the ribs are well sprung, flat with a large distance between them. The withers are narrow and medium in height. The back and loin are long enough; the rump is long and fairly wide at the hips but narrow at the pinbones. The legs are frequently wrongly set; cow hocks and knock knees as well as bowed hind legs are occasionally observed. The musculature is poorly developed. Common defects are as follows: narrow chest, sway back, sloping and narrow rump, wrongly set legs. Coat colour is mostly black or black-and-white (up to 70%), sometimes (about 25%) red or red-and-white. The udder of most cows is cup-shaped and medium in size.

Istoben cows on the best farm (Kirovsk Lugobolotnaya experiment station 1976) have the following measurements (in cm): withers height 129, chest depth 70, chest width 49, width at hips 51, oblique body length 162, heart girth 190, cannon bone girth 18.5. The live weight of newborn calves is 26-30 kg; that of cows is 430-480 kg and of bulls 720-790 kg.

According to the results of the 1981 evaluation the average annual milk production of pedigree animals (mature cows) was 3107 kg, and the fat content was 3.83%. The best breeding herd of the Kirovsk Lugobolotnaya experiment station produced earlier (in 1976) 4238 kg of milk with 3.96% fat. The best cows in this herd produced during their best 305-day lactation 5990-6286 kg of milk with 4.05-4.15% fat. The 1200 cows at the 50-letiye SSSR breeding state farm in Orichevsk district of Kirov region averaged, in 1983, 4023 kg of milk and 156 kg of butterfat.

Some Istoben cows have reached a record milk yield. The cow Beluga KlO-64 during her 6th lactation produced 8127 kg of milk with 4.07% fat; over 12 lactations she produced 53 278 kg of milk with 3.90% fat. Fara K10-1315 produced 8366 kg of milk with 4.98% fat.

Istoben cattle have satisfactory beef qualities.

The structure of the breed comprises 6 major lines.

The valuable features of this breed are its good adaptation to the local ecological conditions and resistance to infectious diseases. Cases of leucosis among Istoben animals are 20 times less than among the Black Pied breed.

The number of Istoben cattle on 1 January 1980 was 106 000 head.

Numbers have decreased because these cattle are not competitive compared with the leading dairy breeds.

In accordance with the long-term plan of Istoben cattle breeding in Kirov region a conservation herd was established in Istobenski breeding state farm in Orichev district. The main purpose of this farm is to produce valuable bulls of the tested lines. The major technique is outbreeding; moderate inbreeding may be used within lines followed by line crossing.

To proceed with the breeding of the approved lines of this breed, a bank of deep-frozen semen of the 24 best sires representing the leading lines is being set up.

With complete diet feeding the Istoben breed can be rapidly improved by crossing with the related Dutch breed.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

KHOLMOGORY (Kholmogorskaya)

The Kholmogory breed was formed in Kholmogory and Archangel districts of Archangel region. It is the oldest and one of the best breeds in the country. Even in the 17th century Kholmogory cattle were noted for their fast rate of growth and high milk production. The development of cattle breeding in the alluvial plain of the Severnaya Dvina river was aided by the available flood plain meadows and pastures with legume-grass mixtures. Excellent pastures in the summer and liberal feeding with high quality hay in winter were the bases for developing such valuable characteristics as the large size, harmonious conformation and high productivity. The local residents attached much importance to the correct methods of raising the young stock by hand nursing not by suckling; they used special methods of feeding, management and milking of the cows. The first selection of the animals was performed by the Kholmogory peasants as far back as 250 years ago. A considerable economic outlet for the Russian cattle products (butter, beef, tallow, leather) in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries gave a new impetus to the local peasants to develop dairy and beef cattle breeding.

According to the available historical data the Kholmogory breed had been formed long before foreign cattle were imported into Archangel and the adjacent areas. Kholmogory cattle had been exported beyond the boundaries of their initial habitat in 1693, 1713 and 1728 before they were crossed with foreign breeds. Highly productive Kholmogory cattle were used in various parts of the country for improvement of the local cattle. This intensive export resulted in the decline of the Kholmogory cattle husbandry.

First attempts to improve the local Kholmogory cattle by crossing with the Dutch breed were undertaken in 1725, but there are no data available on the numbers of the imported cattle and their influence on the local cattle breeding.

During 1765-1898 cattle from the Netherlands and from Holstein were imported in small numbers into Archangel province. According to Reznikov during that period 137 head of cattle, including 62 bulls, were imported. Nevertheless, the proportion of imported Dutch cattle was very low: in Kholmogory and Archangel districts the cattle population varied at that period from 19 to 23 000; the percentage of cows varied from 52.3 to 72.3.

It is difficult to define how great the influence of the imported sires on the Kholmogory cattle was. In a monograph entitled "Kholmogory cattle" by A.A. Vityugov (Archangel 1928) and in the work by F.I. Reznikov under the title "New Data on the History of the Kholmogory Cattle" (Archangel 1949) it was stressed that the influence of foreign breeds on Kholmogorys was slight.

Studies of Kholmogory cattle in 1911-12 (A.A. Kalantar) and in 1921-24 (A.A. Vityugov) showed that there are several basic and transitional types within the breed. They differ in conformation and productivity.

In 1913-14 inspecting associations, cooperative dairy plants and mating stations were set up in the breeding zone of the Kholmogory cattle. The National Herdbook of the Kholmogory breed was started in 1927; in 1934 the state breeding station was established. They assisted in the breeding work with Kholmogory cattle by classification and selection of the animals, control of the raising of the replacement young stock, and identification of valuable animals.

In 1936-37 on some farms a single cross with sires of the East Friesian breed was used to improve milk yield and conformation. The butterfat content of the crosses was considerably lower than that of their purebred Kholmogory parents; therefore crossbreeding was halted and the crosses were deported from the principal breeding zones of Kholmogory cattle.

Good acclimatization of the Kholmogory cattle in various parts of the country encouraged their distribution to many republics, areas and regions. At present Kholmogory cattle are bred in 24 regions and republics, mainly in Archangel, Vologda, Kirov, Moscow, Kalinin, Ryazan, Kaluga, Kamchatka regions and in the Komi, Yakut, Tatar and Udmurt ASSRs. Each region or republic has its own specific climatic and feed conditions. The Kholmogory cattle are well adapted in those different geographical areas and show high milk production and such qualities as early maturity, hardiness, strong constitution and resistance to disease. In milk production, among the national cattle breeds the Kholmogory cattle are second after the Black Pied. Kholmogorys are not as productive as the imported breeds but the main reason for this is the low level of feeding and management and insufficiently intense selection and use of sires. In each region where the Kholmogorys are bred there are outstanding animals which are the founders of the lines, related groups and progenies. These animals should be used for pedigree activities on a wide scale.

By the beginning of 1980 the total population of Kholmogory cattle was 2 407 000.

The constitution of these cattle is strong and conformation is compact. The prevailing colour is black-and-white; less frequently it is black, red-and-white or solid red. These cattle are large; the legs of the cows are upstanding and the body is long. The head is refined and of medium size. The neck is thin. The chest is deep but not wide enough, with a small dewlap. The back and loin are level. The rump is wide, slightly raised. The hindquarters are wide. The skeleton is well developed. The legs are" correctly set. The udder is medium in size; most cows have an udder with equally developed quarters. The teats are usually cylindrical. The hide is medium thick and elastic. The muscle development is satisfactory.

The basic measurements of mature cows (in cm) are: withers height 133-135, chest depth 70-72, oblique body length 160-162, heart girth 196-198, cannon bone girth 19-20. The defects of the conformation are: narrow chest, sloping and roof-shaped rump, legs incorrectly set. Pedigree Kholmogory cattle are well developed. According to volumes 25 and 26 of the National Herdbook (1982), the average live weight of mature cows is 570-590 kg, varying from 480 to 810 kg; the live weight of mature bulls is 820-950 kg, going up to 1170 kg.

Kholmogory cattle are early maturing and have a high milk yield. The milk yield of 370 mature cows registered in volume 25 of the National Herdbook was 5394 kg and the butterfat content 3.93%. The average milk production of 949 mature cows registered in volume 26 of the National Herdbook was 5259 kg ranging from 3313 to 8901 kg. The butterfat content was 3.70-4.79%. The record holders for milk production are as follows: Khana 19 - 5th lactation, 8889 kg of milk, 3.93% fat; Khvoinaya 8 - 3rd, 7350 kg, 4.15%; Khartchevnya 30 - 3rd, 7000 kg, 4.57%; Tsavashka 8090 - 6th, 8010 kg, 4.06%.

In 1983 the highest yields were at the educational and experimental farm of the Kazan Veterinary Institute (Tatar ASSR): the average annual milk yield per cow was 4583 kg of milk and 178 kg of fat; at the breeding station of the Zavet Ilyicha collective farm (Moscow region): 4746 kg of milk, 179 kg of fat. The highest production was displayed the same year by cow Gusenichnaya 682 SH-10510 from Kholmogorski state breeding farm in Archangel region: in the 5th lactation she produced 9804 kg of milk with 3.95% fat and 387.2 kg of fat.

Breeding work with this breed is aimed at the intensive exploitation of its genetic potential in adaptivity and productivity.

The study of the genetic characters of the Kholmogory cattle from various ecological zones by the erythrocyte antigens has shown that one antigen was 10 times more frequent in the herd of Polyarny state farm in Krasnoyarsk territory, than in the herd of Lesnye Polyany breeding centre in Moscow region. The authors are inclined to explain the genetic differences between the populations by a specific gene profile and by the adaptive purpose of some alleles (but other explanations are possible).

The Pechora Type of the Kholmogory Breed

The original Pechora cattle developed in north European Russia (the Komi ASSR) were notable for their adaptability and high milk fat content - 4.0-4.2%. But with these valuable features they had low milk yields. For this reason they were crossed with the Kholmogory breed (1930-47). Later the improved Pechora cattle of desired type of the second and third backcross generations were bred inter se. In 1972 these cattle were given an official status and called the Pechora type of the Kholmogory breed. These cattle produced on the breeding farms of the Komi ASSR are highly productive. For instance, over several years the reproductive state farm Novi Bor produced on average over 4000 kg of milk per cow. Record holders include: Skala 5th lactation, 7343 kg, 4.17% fat; Ajda 4th, 6681 kg, 4.05%; Nauka 5th, 8355 kg.

Animals of Pechora type also have good meat characteristics inherited from the original Pechora cattle. On the natural pastures (without supplemental concentrates) young cattle have a daily weight gain of over 1 kg for a consumption of 6.5-7.0 food units.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

TAGIL (Tagilskaya)

The breed was formed in the Central Urals. The centre of its breeding is Nizhny Tagil and the adjacent districts of Sverdlovsk region. The developing steel and other industries, accompanied by the population growth and higher demand for food, encouraged the improvement of animal husbandry in the Urals. Early in the 18th century, the local people began to breed cattle, selecting for use the best yielding cows with high butterfat content of milk and the bulls by the production of their mothers. Good grasslands and keeping the cows outdoors even in cold weather (-20 to -30 C) assisted in the creation of a valuable dairy breed, hardy and adapted to the severe climate of the Urals. Until 1862 Kholmogory sires were used to upgrade the local cattle. For the two decades that followed no systematic improvement measures were undertaken. After 1882 a few Yaroslavl bulls were used for crossing, but they had little effect.

Early in this century the Tagil cattle began to be crossed with the Dutch breed. This resulted in a better constitution and higher milk yield but caused a decrease in butterfat content. According to some reports, Swiss Brown and Tyrolean cattle were imported in small numbers but their effect was not great. Overall, only two breeds, namely Kholmogory and Dutch, had an improving effect on the Tagil cattle. The popularity of the Tagil breed increased after the cattle exhibition in Nizhny Tagil in 1905 at which the average milk yield of the cows exhibited was 2931 kg and the butterfat content was 4.83%. Thereafter Tagil cattle were in great demand and they were exported in great numbers to the neighbouring districts of west Siberia, to east Siberia and even to Kamchatka.

During the following decade the Tagil cattle were intensively mated to the Dutch breed which resulted in a considerable decrease in the butterfat content of their milk. To preserve a valuable property of the Tagil cattle, that is the high butterfat content, the Dutch sires were replaced by purebred or crossbred Tagil bulls.

Since 1917 the improvement of Tagil cattle has been carried out by the husbandry association set up in Nizhny Tagil; since 1933 this work was done by the State breeding station, and later it was performed at breeding stations.

In 1930 the Tagil breed was officially approved as planned breed for improving cattle in some regions of the Urals and Siberia. In 1931 the first volume of the National Herdbook was published. Late in the 1930s experiments were undertaken at some state farms to cross the Tagil cattle with the East Friesian. The Tagil-East Friesian cattle group was formed; it was noted for high milk production and high butterfat content. The population of Tagil-East-Friesian cattle in the vicinity of Sverdlovsk later became a part of the Black Pied breed.

The colour of the animals is diverse; nevertheless black and black-and-white predominate (47-48%); red and red-and-white are also common.

Tagil cattle are subdivided into three types: Tagil-Dutch, mainly of black-and-white colour; Starotagil (old Tagil) with a somewhat coarse and short deep head showing the influence of Tyrolean and Swiss Brown cattle in the past; the standard type of the second half of the last century, uninfluenced by Dutch cattle, with prevailing red-and-white colour.

The animals of the first type have a lighter skeleton, long head, long body, wide hindquarters, normally shaped udder, correctly set legs. The standard type animals are characterized by fairly heavy and long head and neck, pointed withers, not very deep chest but with a considerable dewlap, level back, capacious belly, wide, long and often sloping rump with a roof-like shape, high tail head, strong medium-long legs. The hind legs are frequently bowed or sickle-hocked. The udder is fairly large, with a good excess of skin. The teats differ in size.

The measurements of the cows (in cm) are as follows: withers height 129.5, chest depth 70.9, oblique body length 158.3, heart girth 187.5, cannon bone girth 19.2 (the National Herdbook, volume 12, 1980).

The constitution of the animals is strong and conformation is compact. The size of the animals is medium. The live weight of newborn calves is 28-32 kg; at the age of 6 months they weigh 160-190 kg. The live weight of cows averages 460-500 kg; that of mature cows registered in Volume 12 of the National Herdbook (1980) is 552 kg (going up to 705 kg). The average live weight of bulls older than 3 years is 836-942 kg. The largest animals reach the weight of 1 000-1 120 kg.

The beef qualities of the Tagil breed are considered to be satisfactory. The dressing percentage of yearling steers is 54; at the age of 17 months it is 58%. Feed conversion is 5.6-7.2 feed units per kg live-weight gain.

The milk yield of cows on the best commercial farms is in the region of 3000 kg; in pedigree herds it reaches 4500-5000 kg. The average milk yield of the cows registered in Volume 12 of the National Herdbook was 3989 kg, with 4.29% fat. The most productive cows of the Tagil breed produce 7323-7805 kg of milk in 305 days with 4.12-4.31% fat.

The record holder of the breed, cow Amazonka 474 is kept at Savinski state farm in Perm district. She produced in 305 days of the 6th lacation 8243 kg of milk with 4.36% fat. Her production per 100 kg of live weight was 1540 kg of milk. In 10 lactations she yielded over 60 000 kg of milk. Cow Lyustra 367 of the same farm produced, in 305 days of the 4th lactation, 7252 kg of milk with 4.31% fat, or 1250 kg of milk per 100 kg of live weight. Cow Rodinka 351 produced in the 5th lactation 10 222 kg of milk with 3.97% fat; Marta 46: 8th lactation, 9367 kg of milk, 4.10% fat; Dorogaya: 6th lactation, 9040 kg, 4.15% fat.

In butterfat content the Tagil cows are second only to the Gorbatov Red breed. The average butterfat content is 4.0-4.2% and some cows have 5.0-5.4%. The herds with the highest butterfat content are on farms of Perm and Sverdlovsk regions, where cows with butterfat content of over 4.0% account for 18-25% of the herd. The protein content is 3.3-3.6%. At the breeding farm of Tagil cattle at Trifanovskoe breeding centre of the Ural Agricultural Research Institute in Sverdlovsk region 1019 cows produced in 1983 an average of 4264 kg of milk and 167 kg of milk fat.

Due to the shape and function of the udder the Tagil cows are suitable for machine milking: udder index varies from 40.7 to 45.2%. At the farms of the service zone of Kamyshlov state breeding station 31% of the cows have a tub-shaped, 59% have a cup-shaped, and only 10% have a spherical udder. The speed of milk flow is 1.22-1.67 kg per minute.

These commercial properties and biological features of Tagil cattle allow them to be considered one of the best national breeds.

Tagil cattle are distributed in Sverdlovsk (46%), Perm (36%), Kurgan (5.8%), Chelyabinsk (4%) and Tyumen (0.2%) regions and in the Udmurt ASSR (8%). The total number has decreased by 13% during the last decade and now stands at 599 000.

The most valuable features of Tagil cattle are the high butterfat content of their milk, high milk production, good beef qualities, complete adaptation to the specific natural and economic conditions of the Ural region and resistance to disease.

The cattle breeding plan envisages the growth of Tagil cattle numbers and their improvement by intra-breed selection and by introduction of the blood of related breeds to improve conformation, to increase milk production and adaptability to industrial technology.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

UKRAINIAN WHITEHEADED (Belogolovaya ukrainskaya)

The breed was formed late in the 18th century in the districts of Zhitomir and Korosten in the Ukraine by crossing the local Polesian cattle with Groningen bulls. In the Netherlands the Groningen Whiteheaded cattle were bred as a beef-and-dairy breed, whereas Ukrainian Whiteheaded were selected to form a dairy breed.

At present these cattle populate Kiev, Zhitomir and Khmelnitski regions of the Ukraine. On 1 January 1980 they numbered 230 000.

The colour of the breed is red or black but always with white head, frequently with dark spectacles around the eyes. Some animals also have a white udder, abdomen, lower legs and switch.

The cattle are of medium size with a deep but narrow chest. The head is light, small, bony; the neck is long. The musculature is poorly developed; the skeleton is thin. The development of the udder is satisfactory; it is of medium size with properly placed teats; many cows have rudimentary teats. The skin of the udder is medium thick, with sufficient "reserve"; it is covered with thick, fine hair.

The basic measurements of mature cows (in cm) are as follows: withers height 127.1, chest depth 66.4, chest width 39.5, length of the barrel 151.1, chest girth 182.4, cannon bone girth 18.6.

The constitution is strong and the conformation compact. The live weight of bulls over 3 years old averages 743-807 kg; the record figure is 1100 kg. The live weight of 4-5-year-old cows is 445 kg; the record figure is 700 kg.

The milk yield of mature cows registered in the National Herdbook, vol. 6, 1975, was 3815 kg with 3.74% fat. According to the 1981 evaluation the average yield of pedigree cows was 2770 kg of milk with 3.55% fat. At the best breeding farms, Antoniny in Khmelnitski region and Komsomolets Polessya in Kiev region, the average was 4500-4800 kg.

The most highly productive cows yield 6-7000 kg of milk in a 300-day lactation: Gitara 332 - 9th lactation, 7736 kg milk, 3.72% fat, 287.7 kg fat; Gornyachka 9133 -3rd lactation, 6270 kg, 3.90% fat, 244 kg fat. The record milk yield belongs to cow Orbita - 7th lactation, 12 393 kg milk, 3.40% fat.

The greatest number of highly productive cows belong to Antoniny breeding centre in Khmelnitski region of the Ukraine.

The breed comprises 8 major lines.

A valuable feature of these cattle is that they are nutritionally undemanding. They possess a high feed-conversion efficiency. Among the 1st and 2nd calvers the most productive are the animals with a live weight of over 550 kg. Ukrainian White-headed cattle are well adapted to the local conditions and resistant to diseases.

The major defects of the breed are the low fat content (3.6-3.8%, varying from 3.3 to 4.65%) and that it does not fully meet the requirements of specialized dairy complexes.

It is expedient to further improve Ukrainian Whiteheaded cattle by crossing them with the related Groningen breed.

The conservation of the germ plasm of this breed, in accordance with the long-term plan for cattle breeding in 1980-90, will be done by forming conservation herds at the best farms.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

YAROSLAVL (Yaroslavskaya)

The breed was formed in the 19th century in the territory of the former Yaroslavl province as the result of isolation and long-term inter se breeding of the local variety of the northern Great Russian cattle with selection, under conditions of improved feeding and management. The excellent meadows and pastures in the alluvial plains of the Volga, Sheksna, and Mologa rivers contributed to this process. The increased demands for cattle products of the local urban population and the development of butter and cheese industries late in the last century also favoured the formation of this breed. Animals of the Dutch, Tyrolean, Angeln, Simmental, Allgau and Kholmogory breeds were imported into the Yaroslavl province at different times in small numbers. However, these breeds had little effect on the formation of the Yaroslavl breed since the exterior of these cattle differs considerably from that of the imported breeds. Besides, after 1882-83 there were no cattle importations into this region; hence there is no basis to consider their influence on the Yaroslavl breed.

The greatest emphasis in the formation of the Yaroslavl breed was placed on the development of the dairy characters and less importance was attached to their conformation. This resulted at first in the defects typical of the Great Russian cattle e.g. angular barrel, narrow chest, short sagging hindquarters with poorly developed muscles, wrong stand of the hindlegs. After 1917 the breeding work with the Yaroslavl breed was conducted by the recording associations and peasant breeding stations who faced the problem of improving the conformation of the animals and increasing their productivity.

In 1924 the Provincial Herdbook was started; later it was replaced by the National Herdbook. By 1940 four volumes of the National Herdbook had been published with 12 000 registered animals. Since 1933 the breeding work in the collective farms was conducted through the system of State breeding stations.

Typically, Yaroslavl cows are black with white head, abdomen, lower legs, and switch and with black spectacles around the eyes. The muzzle is dark. Animals of red, solid black, red-and-white or black-and-white colour are less frequent. Considering that cattle colour has no effect on their productivity, no emphasis is placed on it and animals of all colours are entered in the herdbook. Nevertheless, in the pedigree breeding areas black white-headed animals prevail because of customer preference for the typical colour.

Yaroslavl cattle have a somewhat angular conformation and well-developed mid-barrel. The head is light and bony with a relatively small distance between the horns. The horns are medium thick and medium long, light in colour with dark tips. The neck is thin, of medium length and with small wrinkles. The dewlap is not large; the withers are pointed, projecting slightly above the topline; the loin is straight; the hindquarters are almost square but slightly sagging. The mid-part of the barrel is long; the abdomen is capacious. The skin on the barrel is elastic, thin, stretching easily. The legs are not long. The skeleton is usually thin and poorly developed. The udder is well developed; the teats are cylindrical, the front ones widely spread but the back ones sometimes close together; rudimentary teats are frequent. The skin on the udder is thin, covered with soft, thin hair; there are folds of skin at the back.

Bad set of the legs is rarely observed in pedigree animals. Cow-hocked hindlegs are usual. Such defects as sagging hindquarters, pointed rump and bowed hindlegs are very infrequent. With unsatisfactory raising of the young stock the following defects may later appear: narrow chest, hollowness behind the shoulders, poorly developed muscles of the back, loin and rump.

The basic measurements of mature Yaroslavl cows are (in cm): withers height 127-129, chest depth 68-70, chest girth 183-186, oblique body length 155-157, cannon bone girth 17.8.

The live weight of the calves at birth is 28-32 kg. With intensive raising the steers reach a weight of 170-180 kg by the age of 6 months.

Formerly Yaroslavl cattle had a low live weight and a number of conformational defects due to insufficient feeding. Improved feeding and management increased the live weight of cows. According to Volume 17 of the National Herdbook (1979) the live weight of bulls 3-years-old and older is 804-844 kg (maximum 960 kg). The animals are large and long. The average live weight of cows is 483 kg (maximum 649 kg). The live weight of cows on pedigree farms is 500-580 kg; that of the bulls is 700-800 kg.

The Yaroslavl cattle have for many years been noted for high milk yield and especially for high fat content. The average yield of the mature cows registered in Volume 17 of the National Herdbook (1979) was 3943 kg (maximum 6855 kg). The butter-fat content averaged 4.14%, varying from 3.98 to 5.19%.

By the beginning of 1941 there were over 20 record holders in the Yaroslavl region with milk yields ranging from 6000 to 11 700 kg. Cow Zolotaya produced in the 4th lactation 9267 kg of milk with 4.15% fat. Her lifetime milk yield was about 80 000 kg. Cow Marta produced in the 5th lactation 11 690 kg of milk. The highest daily yield in the USSR, 82 kg, was produced by cow Vena, in a 300-day lactation she produced 8438 kg of milk with 4.0% fat.

Cow Boyarka produced a record yield: 5th lactation, 8795 kg, 4.11% fat. Some cows had high yields for a number of lactations. Thus the annual average milk yield of cow Tainaya for 17 lactations was 4218 kg of milk.

The best herds of Yaroslavl cattle are as follows: the breeding centre of Gorshikha collective farm in Yaroslavl region, Svetoch breeding centre in Ivanovo region and Sheksna collective farm in Vologda region. In the first herd the average milk yield in 1983 was 4697 kg and of milk fat 221 kg; in the better years it reached 5020 kg and 4.60% fat. According to the catalogue of highly productive animals (1983) the highest milk yield was in the herd of Svetoch breeding centre, which averaged 4260 kg of milk and 163 kg of milk fat.

This leading pedigree establishments have bulls with highly productive female ancestors. Zhitomir 181 is the son of a cow that yielded 7464 kg of milk at 4.39% fat or 327.7 kg of fat; Granit 775: dam gave 7281 kg of milk, 4.43% of butterfat, 322.5 kg of fat.

The animals of this breed are early maturing: at Gorshikha breeding centre the average age of heifers at first calving is 2 years and 5 days. Some heifers are mated at the age of 14 months and calve at the age of 23.5 months; in the first lactation they average 3900 kg of milk with 3.6% fat. The live weight of cows reaches 530 kg.

The strong constitution of cows ensures longevity and the ability to increase the milk yield; many animals are highly productive and fertile up to the age of 15-20 years.

High fat content of the milk of Yaroslavl cows is combined with a considerable protein content (3.5-3.6%) and dry matter content (13.6%). The cheeses made from the milk are noted for high quality.

Under intensive raising the beef and fattening qualities of the Yaroslavl cattle are satisfactory: the animals produce carcasses of a sufficient weight and their dressing percentage is 52.7; the beef is tender and tasty.

The breed comprises 15 lines and related groups.

The most valuable properties of this breed are rich milk, high milk yield, resistance to tuberculosis, brucellosis, infectious mastitis and leucosis, high response to better feeding and management.

The Yaroslavl cattle are bred in Yaroslavl, Ivanovo, Vologda and Kalinin regions. The total population in 1980 was 927 000. It is expedient to improve the feeding at the leading breeding stations and to improve the selection so that these cattle could meet the requirements of modern industrial technology.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

Red Dairy Breeds
BYELORUSSIAN RED (Krasnyi belorusskii skot)

In the course of their history Byelorussian Red cattle were repeatedly improved by infusion of the blood of the superior related red breeds. During the last 100 years the blood of six breeds was used, namely: Angeln and German Red at the end of the last and early in this century, Polish Red and Danish Red in the twenties and thirties, and Estonian Red and Latvian Brown in the fifties of this century. The blood of Danish Red cattle is currently being introduced again.

A study carried out in Grodno region in 1948-49 proved that it is expedient to breed the Byelorussian Red inter se. They are of a single type, adapted to the local ecological, climatic and feeding conditions, and undemanding as to feed. They respond to improved feeding and management by increased milk production and high fat percentage.

The breeding of these cattle was carried out at the Vasilishkovskaya animal husbandry experiment station. In 1967 volume 1 of the National Herdbook of the Byelorussian Red breed was published.

At present, Byelorussian Red cattle are found in all regions of the Byelorussian Republic; however, they are commonest in Grodno and Minsk regions. In 1980 they numbered 429 000. The exterior of the Byelorussian Red cows is characterized by the following features. The head is medium long, not wide, with a long face. The poll is pronounced. The horns are of medium size. The neck is thin and of moderate length. The withers are not sharp, occasionally divided. The chest is of medium depth, wide enough. The back is level, slightly narrow. The loin is long and level, of medium width. The mid-part of the body is well developed. The abdomen is capacious, not drooping. The rump is level, slightly raised. The hindquarters are of medium length and width, with protruding hips. The legs are comparatively thin, bony, not long, correctly set. Sometimes legs are splayed or bowed. The udder is medium in volume, glandular, cup-shaped or roundish. The teats are cylindrical, of medium size. The skin is thin, elastic, mobile. The skeleton is light and strong. The musculature is moderately developed. The conformation is harmonious and compact; the constitution delicate. The colour is red or rust-red of various shades.

Many animals are noted for their longevity, while maintaining normal reproduction.

Body measurements (in cm) are as follows: withers height 128.7, chest depth 68.6, oblique body length 158.3, chest girth 189.8, cannon bone girth 19.4 (National Herdbook, vol. 1, 1967). The average live weight of mature cows is 420-500 kg (maximum 530 kg); that of the bulls is 750-850 kg (950-1000 kg maximum).

The potential of the modern Byelorussian Red cattle has not been completely realized. The average milk yield of the stock evaluated at the breeding farms in 1981was 2557 kg with 3.69% fat; at the best farms it was 3053 kg with 3.62% fat. In the herd of Vasilishkovski breeding centre in Grodno region the average milk yield in 1982was 2507 kg with 3.73% fat. In recent years several groups of cows of this herd and of Shchuchin experimental station averaged 4514 kg of milk with 4.08% fat. In her 4th lactation cow Vyetv 2016 produced 5986 kg of milk with 3.91% fat and 3.70% protein; Malta produced, in her 3rd lactation, 6056 kg of milk with 4.55% fat; Volna produced, in her 4th lactation, 5906 kg with 4.85% fat.

Beef and fattening qualities of Byelorussian Red cattle are satisfactory: under favourable conditions of feeding and management the young stock display a high growth rate and early maturity.

The breed comprises 6 basic lines and 23 families.

To preserve these cattle conservation herds have been set up and a bank of frozen semen of the best sires of all basic lines has been established.

The breeding programme for the improvement of Byelorussian Red cattle aims at the following parameters for the purebreds: the live weight of mature cows should be 500-540 kg, the milk production per lactation should be 4.5-5.0 thousand kg with fat content of 4.0-4.2% and protein content not less than 3.6%.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

ESTONIAN RED (Krasnaya estonskaya)

In the middle of the last century the local Estonian cattle were crossed with the Angeln breed. Later to improve the crosses Danish Red animals were used. The aim was to form a breed with high milk yield and high fat content. The first Estonian Red animals were entered in the herdbook in 1885.

The animals of this breed have a strong constitution. The head is medium in size, with fairly short and narrow forehead. The neck is of medium size. The chest is often narrow and of medium depth. The withers and back are level; the rump is wide and of medium length. The legs are of medium length and correctly set. The skeleton is fairly strong. The udder is of medium size, glandular. Coat colour is light or dark red; that of the bulls is darker. Body measurements (in cm) are: withers height 127.5,chest depth 70, chest width 45.5, oblique body length 157.9, heart girth 195.5,cannon bone girth 18.3. Better cows have a wide barrel with a solid skeleton and muscles.

The live weight of calves at birth is 31-33 kg; cows weigh 450-550 kg (maximum 780 kg); mature bulls weight 800-900 kg (maximum 1000 kg).

The milk yield of 164 900 evaluated cows was 3456 kg with 3.92% fat. The production of Estonian Red cattle at 77 breeding farms is as follows: average milk yield per cow 3784 kg, fat content 3.98%, protein content 3.30%. In 12 high producing herds the average milk yield per cow during a 305-day lactation amounts to 4127-5029 kg, and fat content is 3.90-4.18%. There are 25 record holders in these herds: including cow 5338 - 5th lactation, 9610 kg milk, 4.14% fat; cow 4519 - 7th lactation, 8554 kg of milk, 4.47% fat; cow 2431 - 2nd lactation, 7806 kg milk, 4.65% fat.

Improvement of the Estonian Red cattle is being carried out by pure breeding and by crossbreeding with the Danish Red and the Angeln. The new type with Angeln blood should have the following performance: milk yield not less than 7000 kg with 4.0% fat, milking rate 1.9 kg per minute, live weight of cows over 600 kg.

According to the census the total population of the Estonian Red breed in 1980 was 492 000. This breed accounts for 63.3% of all cattle in Estonia.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

LATVIAN BROWN (Buraya latviiskaya)

The breed began to be formed in the middle of the last century when Angeln cattle were imported into Latvia to improve the local, low-productive cattle. The crosses had a higher milk yield but lower fat content. At the end of the last and early in this century Danish Red bulls were imported and used on the Angeln crosses and on the local cattle. The long-term breeding of the crosses inter se with systematic selection for milk yield and fat content ensured the development of highly productive cattle. Since 1885 the best animals were registered and the first herdbook was published in 1911.

In 1947 the breed was given a new name - Red-Brown Latvian. By 1980 numbers had reached 1 417 000 head.

These cattle vary in colour from light-red to dark-red. The head, neck and legs are often darker. They have a strong constitution. The head is small, light and moderately long. The skeleton is light, chest deep, body long, rump slightly raised, udder usually well developed. The best herds have marked dairy features.

The basic measurements of mature cows (in cm) are: withers height 129.6, chest depth 71.1, chest girth 193.3, oblique body length 163.7, cannon bone girth 18.0 (National Herdbook, vol. 29, 1983). The live weight of mature pedigree cows is 520-560 kg and that of bulls is 750-850 kg, going up to 1000 kg.

The milk yield of purebred Latvian Brown cows is high. The average milk yield of the mature cows recorded in Volume 29 of the Herdbook (1983) in their best lactation was 4537 kg and the fat content 4.28%. The average yields of the nearest female ancestors of the bulls recorded in Volume 29 of the National Herdbook were 5970-6036 kg of milk and the fat content was in the range 4.38-4.73%.

The champion milk producers are: Nadze 8977 - 8457 kg milk with 3.93% fat; Yetse 6320 - 8170 kg, 4.21%; Grieta 4915 - 8113 kg, 4.26%; Roya 5212 - 8021 kg, 4.10%.

As a genetic resource for Latvia, Latvian Brown cattle are of primary importance: they account for 99% of all cattle in this Republic. The breed includes 4 major lines.

In the improvement of Latvian Brown cattle much importance has been attached to line breeding. In 1979 a new breeding line was tested and approved; it was named BL-1 (Brown Latvian No. 1). The number of the BL-1 line is over 50 000 head. This line is being developed in four branches by the assortative mating of sires to cows from the best families and by periodical moderate inbreeding. The major selection herds belong to the breeding centres Vetsautse, Sigulda and Sarkanais Octobris.

The BL-1 cows are noted for their harmonious conformation. The udder is large, glandular, usually cup-shaped or spherical with equally developed quarters (average index is 45%). The milk yield of the cows in the selection group is 5287 kg; fat content averages 4.16%, and protein content 3.45%. There are many champions in this line; they combine high yield with increased fat content: Undra 6088 - 4th lactation, 9298 kg milk, 4.75% fat, 3.84% protein: Baka 3469 - 4th, 8544, 4.82%, 4.05%; Dalasa 4044 - 8th, 10 106, 3.76%.

The Latvian Brown breed of cattle is being improved with the aim of increasing milk yields to 5000 kg with the same fat and protein content and to meet the requirements of the industrial methods of cattle management.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

LITHUANIAN RED (Krasnaya litovskaya)

The breed was formed early in this century by improved feeding and management of the local Lithuanian cattle, assortative mating and mass selection and crossing with the improved breeds: Ayrshire, Angeln, Dutch, Danish Red, Swiss Brown and Shorthorn. The crosses were selected for milk production.

Most animals are of clearly defined dairy type. Basic measurements of the pedigree cows (in cm) are as follows: withers height 126, oblique body length 157, chest width 43, chest depth 69, chest girth 188, cannon bone girth 19. Coat colour is red. The average live weight of cows is 470 kg; those in the herdbook weigh 520 kg and bulls 750 kg.

The young stock of the Lithuanian Red breed are noted for their rapid growth rate, good food conversion and high carcass quality. When intensively fattened, steers weigh 413 kg as yearlings and 503 kg when 15 months old. Up to the age of 15 months one kg of gain requires 5.32 feed units. The dressing percentage is 58.6 and proportion of meat 81.6%. The average daily gain of steers from 6 to 15 months of age is 1032 g.

The milk yield of 83 500 mature cows was 3362 kg with 3.69% fat; 2700 cows at pedigree farms produced 4337 kg with 3.87% fat. The record holders of the Red Lithuanian breed are as follows: Sloga 35 - 7th lactation, 10 754 kg milk, 4.20% fat; Zhabine 1355 - 4th, 10 242 kg, 4.33%; Gerve 1246 - 6th, 10 196 kg, 4.09%.

The breed consists of 18 lines and related groups.

The best bulls are kept at Pasval, Shaulyai and Vilnius breeding centres. The average milk yield of the nearest female ancestors of these bulls ranges from 6346 to 7210 kg and the fat content is 4.39-4.72%.

The Lithuanian Red breed is found in 18 districts in the north and northeast of the Lithuanian SSR. In 1980 the total population was 567 000. Up to 10 000 head of young pedigree stock are exported annually to the Kazakh, Uzbek and other Soviet republics.

The programme for the improvement of Lithuanian Red cattle, along with pure breeding, envisages the use of Danish Red and Angeln bulls to form high butterfat lines.

Blood group analysis has shown that the homozygosity rate is fairly low (6.8%). It points to a high heterogeneity of Lithuanian Red cattle and to a great potential for improvement by accumulating the useful genes.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

POLISH RED (Krasnaya polskaya)

The breed derived from the local cattle of Poland and western Ukraine. In the early 20th century they were improved by crossing with the Angeln and Danish Red and, since 1956, in the USSR with the Latvian Brown, Estonian Red and Byelorussian Red. The greatest impact in terms of the increase of production was of Angeln and Danish Red cattle.

The total population of the breed in 1980 was 183 000. It is found chiefly in the western Ukraine, namely in Volyn region and, to a lesser extent, in Ternopol region and is being improved at Olykski breeding centre in Volyn region.

Polish Red animals have a delicate constitution and a compact conformation. The colour varies from light yellow to brown; most typical is light to dark red, or cherry-red with lighter markings. The horns are light in colour; the bulls have short and thick horns of medium size. The head is medium in size, not wide enough. The back and loin are straight, usually narrow. Some animals have a sway and wedge-shaped back. The rump is narrow, frequently wedge-shaped and sloping. The udder is medium in size, glandular, cup-shaped. The fore-legs are strong, properly set; sometimes they are knock-kneed or bow-legged. The skeleton is thin. The skin is thin and hard. The hair cover is thick and short. The hooves are dark in colour.

The basic measurements of cows are (in cm): withers height 124.4, chest depth 64.2, oblique body length 145.4, chest girth 174.6, bone girth 16.9. The live weight of pedigree cows is 450-480 kg.

The milk production of mature cows recorded in Volume 1 of the herdbook is 3782 kg with 3.96% fat.

The characteristic features of the Polish Red breed are the compact conformation, undemanding feed requirements, resistance to disease, high fertility and high milk fat percentage.

The breed consists of 25 lines and related groups.

The breeding programme includes the improvement of reproduction in the purebred local-line animals, setting up of conservation herds at the better breeding farms, and forming a bank of frozen semen of the major line sires. On commercial farms cows are mated to bulls of related improved breeds - Danish Red and Angeln.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

RED STEPPE (Krasnaya stepnaya)

There is no single view on the origin of Red Steppe cattle. It is known that it was formed as a local breed in the middle of the 18th century. One group of investigators see the origin of Red Steppe cattle as linked with the movement of settlers from various areas of Germany to the south of the Ukraine. They assume that the founders of these cattle were the Franconian, Brown and other German breeds. There are also references to a Tyrolese and Polish Red origin. Another group of investigators believe that the common type and productivity point to a link between the Red Steppe and the Angeln and Red Trondheim breeds. Some experts think that the East Friesian breed considerably influenced its formation. But there is no doubt that the local cattle in the south of the Ukraine, especially the Ukrainian Grey, played a considerable part in the formation of Red Steppe cattle. This is the basis for the statement that the Red Steppe are of local origin.

Late in the last century, to improve the exterior, beef qualities and milk production, the crossing of Red Steppe cattle with foreign improved breeds was started. After the 1917 Revolution breeding farms and the State breeding stations for Red Steppe cattle were set up. Of great importance for the improvement of this breed was the establishment of the herdbook in 1923. The experience of several individual farms in selecting and propagating the best animals of this breed was summed up and their work was centralized.

At present, the majority of Red Steppe cattle are in Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Crimea regions. Other areas of concentration are western Siberia and Kazakhstan.

In conformation Red Steppe cattle are considered to be of a dairy type; they have poorly developed muscles and low live weight. The head is light, moderately long. The neck is long, narrow and bony; the dewlap is usually undeveloped. The chest is fairly flat and not deep. Forequarters are commonly poorly developed. The withers are pointed; the back is long and fairly level; the loin is well developed. The rump is not well developed; some animals have sloping and pointed hindquarters. The legs are strong and straight. The udder is of medium size, glandular, proportionally developed, with loose skin.

Coat colour is red of various shades from light to dark. Some animals have white markings on the lower barrel, legs, abdomen, dewlap and udder. The bulls are usually darker in colour than the cows. The basic measurements of mature cow are (in cm): withers height 128-132, chest depth 68-71, heart girth 184-190, oblique body length 155-160, cannon bone girth 18-19.

The live weight of calves at birth is 30-34 kg; that of mature cows is 480-520 kg (maximum 700 kg) and bulls weigh 750-850 kg.

The Red Steppe cattle form a population of animals adapted to a specific environment, namely the markedly continental climate in the south of the Ukraine. It is the most numerous breed in that Republic (5.4 million).

After the end of the Second World War three zonal types, namely: Zaporozhye, Donetsk, and Crimean were formed within the breed. The Zaporozhye type have high milk production; the Crimean type cows combine high milk yields with high fat content; the Donetsk animals combine high milk production with high live weight.

One of the leading breeding farms that deals with the breeding and improvement of the Red Steppe breed is the Diktatura breeding station in the Donetsk region. On 1 January 1983 the farm had 2180 head of cattle, including 800 cows. The cattle are characterized by heavy weight, harmonious conformation and ability to increase milk yields to meet the requirements of machine milking. The average daily gain of the young stock exceeds 700 g. By the age of 18 months the heifers reach a live weight of 380-400 kg. In the last decade the milk yield has been constantly increasing: in 1982 the herd average was 4678 kg of milk. In Dzerzhinski state farm in the Crimean region milk yield in 1983 was 4037 kg with 4.02% fat.

Volume 84 of the National Herdbook of the Red Steppe cattle (1983) contains the data on 563 purebred animals, including 424 cows. The average 305-day milk yield of these cows was 4385 kg with 3.94% fat. Milk yields vary from 3383 to 8375 kg and fat content from 3.70 to 5.31%.

The book of high producing Red Steppe cattle (1982) reported data on 2018 record holders that produced during 305-day lactations more than 6000 kg of milk with fat content of 3.7% or more. The majority of high producing cows were raised and milked at the breeding farms Kirov in Zaporozhye region, Diktatura in Donetsk region, Chervony Shakhter in Dnepropetrovsk region, Ventsy-Zarya in Krasnodar territory, Shirokoye in Crimea region and Karagandinski in Karaganda region.

During the last 50 years, 14 record holders have been recorded with milk yields of over 10 000 kg in a 300-305-day lactation. The average milk yield of these cows was 10 354 kg with 3.69% fat; the average live weight was 612 i.e. 1691 kg of milk per 100 kg live weight. There were 32 record holders with milk yields of 9000-9999 kg. The unbeaten prize winner is cow Moroshka 201 from Karagandinski farm with 12 426 kg of milk and 3.82% fat; cow Burya 6070 from Proletarski Borets . collective farm in Zaporozhye region produced 10170 kg milk with 4.0% fat and 407 kg fat.

When comparing the red breeds by the proportion of the 10 most widespread B-alleles of the blood groups, the Red Steppe and Danish Red breeds are found to be similar. They have four common alleles (BO1Y1D', BO1, BP' and Y2Y') out of the basic ten. Yet, Gorbatov Red cattle have a large number of B-alleles that are not observed in Danish Red cattle. This allele range is the result of involvement of the other breeds that participated in the formation of the Red Steppe.

The Red Steppe cattle population consists of 24 lines (1193 bulls).

The improvement programme plans to improve the constitution of Red Steppe cattle in all breeding zones, to increase size, milk production and fat content and to improve the technological characteristics.

Animal genetic resources of the USSR

SUKSUN (Suksunskii skot)

The formation of the Suksun cattle began in the second half of the 19th century and it is linked with setting-up of a copper-smelting plant in the settlement of Suksun in the former Perm province. Favourable conditions of feeding, the use of Danish Red animals for crossing with the local cattle and strict selection of the offspring from the best cows helped to form the Suksun cattle as an individual population. By the end of the 19th century these cattle were noted for good milking qualities and high butterfat content. Early in the 20th century Danish Red and Angeln sires were imported again for crossing. Later (1933-38) the Suksun cattle were influenced by the Red Steppe, Latvian Brown and Estonian Red breeds.

The modern Suksun cattle have a high frequency of BO1Y1D' and Y1Y' blood antigen alleles. These are characteristic of the Danish Red and Latvian Brown breeds.

At present, Suksun cattle populate Suksun, Perm, Ordyn, Kishert and Uin districts of Perm region. The principal breeding zone of this breed is the Suksun district where these cattle are approved as a planned breed. During the last two decades the number of the Suksun cattle has declined from 49 000 head to 20 000.

The modern Suksuns have strong constitution and compact conformation. The head is light; the neck is medium long; the chest is deep, but often narrow; the back and loin are level and wide; the rump and hindquarters are usually level, sometimes slightly raised; the body is moderately long; the skeleton is medium strong; sickle-hocked legs are frequent. The muscles are not well developed. The hide is thin and elastic. The udder development is satisfactory: 9.8% of first-calf heifers have a tub-shaped udder, 76.8% have a cup-shaped one, and 13.4% have a spherical udder. Coat colour is usually red of various shades.

The conformation of the cows at Suksunski breeding state farm is characterized by the following measurements (in cm): withers height 129.3, chest depth 66.1, oblique body length 155.3, heart girth 203.6, cannon bone girth 20.7.

The average live weight of cows is 480 kg; that of bulls at the age of 3-4 years is 768 kg; 5-year-old and older bulls average 922 kg. Bull calves weigh 30-32 kg at birth, heifer calves 27-28 kg.

Experiments have shown that the most desirable type of Suksun cows is wide, deep and compact. The milk production of such cows is higher, the lactation curve is more even and the quantity of milk fat per 100 kg of live weight is higher.

According to the 1982 evaluation mature Suksun cows (5160 head) had a milk yield of 2162 kg with 3.71% fat. The milk production per 100 kg of live weight was 522 kg. The conservation herd of 1226 cows at Suksunski breeding state farm in Perm region in 1982 averaged 2528 kg of milk with 3.88% fat. The limited number of animals in the herd results in an increase of inbreeding which has an adverse effect on their production: an increase in the inbreeding coefficient of 1% results in a decrease in milk yield of 21 kg per lactation.

The genetic potential of Suksun cattle is illustrated by the milk yields of the best cows: Knyazhna 4588 - 4th lactation, 8875 kg milk, 3.96% fat; Bomba 970 - 3rd lactation, 7070 kg milk, 3.97% fat; Groza 18 - 4th lactation, 6423 kg milk, 3.98% fat; Yedinstvennaya 2052 - 4th lactation, 6048 kg milk, 4.59% fat.

In 1966 a group of 36 cows with average butterfat content of over 4% and an average milk yield of 4100 kg was selected on the selection farm Suksunski. Under the improved feeding and management conditions the next year the cows averaged 5260 kg of milk with 3.84% fat. The milk production increase over one year was 28.3%. Later the numbers of selected cattle at the farm increased to 90-100 head, but feeding became rather worse. Nevertheless, during the period that followed, the milk production at this farm has been stable at the level of 3.5-4.5 thousand kg per cow, which exceeds the average figures at this establishment by 500-1000 kg.

The most valuable characters of Suksun cattle are as follows: adaptation to the severe climatic conditions of the Central Urals, high resistance to many hazardous diseases (tuberculosis, leucosis, etc.), compact conformation.

Suksun cattle consist of three genealogical lines: Kazakhstan 1371, Lebed 1507, Yeruslan 267 and two related groups: Tur 55 and Tir 66. The founders of the first three lines carried the genes of the Latvian Brown and of the local cattle, and the latter two have the genes of the local cattle and the Danish Red. In recent years the bulls of the Estonian Red breed have become widely spread: along with the sires of the Tir 66 related group they represent the genealogical line of Danish Red bull Loke 4323. The first calf heifers from the related group of Tir 66 at Suksunski pedigree state farm, where the animals of all lines and related groups are concentrated, boast the best milk yield, that is 3002 kg of milk with 3.93% fat.

The unique germ plasm of the Suksun cattle is currently concentrated in Suksun district of Perm region. A store of deep-frozen semen of sires of all lines has been established at the All-Union Institute for Livestock Breeding and Genetics. Outbreeding with line rotation is being used. These measures will ensure the conservation of the genetic variety of this small population with no danger of inbreeding depression. Suksun cattle should be selected according to the same plan as Danish Red cattle treating the Suksun breed as their Ural branch.

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