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Development trends in animal production and livestock breeding in Ukraine - M. I. Baschenko, VP. Burkat

M.I. Baschenko1, V.P. Burkat2

1) Breeding and progress Association, Tscherkassy, Ukraine
2) National Federation for Animal production, Kiev, Ukraine

In Ukraine cattle production predominates in the livestock sector and keeping dairy cattle is the most important activity in animal husbandry. Eight million cattle are kept for a population of 52 million people. In the social sector of the agricultural economy the cattle breeds which are being kept consist of 34.5 % Red Steppe cattle and Red cattle, 36.3 % Black and White (Friesian), 23.9 % Black-and-White x Simmental Crossbred cattle, 3.6 % Lebedina cattle and 1.7 % representing other breeds. The cattle breeding sector in Ukraine is renown for its activity in creating hybrids. Over the last 15-20 years the Ukraine Red-and-White and Blackand - White dairy cattle were bred and currently breeding activities are on Red and on Brown cattle. Specific beef cattle were bred with the new Ukraine beef and Wolynik cattle.

The main breeding principle used in Ukraine is based on the importation of exotic sire breeds to be used on local dams. This was the basis for the establishment of the Ukraine Redand - White cattle, as a rule this results of a crossing with Simmental dams and Holstein sires; the same technique was also used to create the Black-and-White cattle from original local Black-and-White and imported Holstein sires. The Holstein gene level in both breeds ranges between 65 and 80 %, the milk potential ranges between 6500 and 8000 kg (3.7 - 3.9 % fat, 3.2 - 3.4 % protein).

The Red dairy breed is bred out of the Red Steppe cattle (Dam line) with Angler cattle, Red - Danes and Holstein cattle. The Brown dairy breed is bred on the bases of a local Lebedan cattle and the Brown Calpack cattle crossed with imported Brown sires. The dairy potential of this breed ranged between 6000 - 7000 kg milk per lactation.

The Ukraine beef cattle were bred out of Simmental, the Grey Ukraine cattle and Charolais as well as Kianina. The Wolynik cattle have been improved by the Black-and-White as well as Anglers and Limousin. With adequate feeding both breeds can reach a daily gain of 1300 g. At 15 to 18 months of age their live weight ranges between 450 to 650 kg and the dressing percentage is between 60 to 62 %. By the year 2005 it is expected, that Ukraine will have 4 - 4.5 million dairy cattle and 2 million beef cattle.

Breeding activities with regard to the creation of new combined breeds and the improvement of existing breeds is concentrated in six Breeding Centres.

The considerable yield improvements in dairy cattle which was experienced during the last years was only possible through the genetic introduction of gain traits from high yielding breeds, namely from Holstein cattle. The creation of new high yielding breeds dates back to the 70’s. In that period a large number of breeding stations were established to concentrate on the creation of combined breeds based on gains brought in by imported Holstein.

Performance recording and breeding value estimation were introduced in Ukraine.

Currently the BLUP system is used for the estimation of breeding value. The selection was based on interbreed breeding values, on the transfer of selected germ plasm, and on the use of new technologies such as embryo transfer and embryo splitting. As to the efficiency performance recording and breeding value estimation procedures, the breeding organization also introduced the standardized approval of ftmctional efficiency and a government export annual service was established. All together breeding decisions are made on the basis of milk recording and functional efficiency of animals. The breeding system is also concerned with the supervision of the recording process, the breeding value estimation and the final selection of high performing sires, as Elite bulls, to produce the next generation. The breeding organization is also considering problems of cattle rearing and feeding, as well as the organization of production economics.

This breeding program should prepare a new type of dairy cattle; Holstein herds are controlled by a performance unit. Elite herds are the spearhead of production: it reaches 9124 kg at the breeding centres, 8001 kg in the reproduction herds, 6790 kg at the breeding farms and 7367 kg with the Ukrainian farmer in the Vinicha area.

What is typical is that in the Ukraine cattle breeding sector most of the herds are part of the socialist sector: namely 80 %, with herd sizes between 500 and 1000 cows per herd. These farms are the most important milk producers and the zootechnical research is concentrated on the socialist sector of the animal husbandry industry.

It is anticipated that animal breeding research in Ukraine will continue to use high performing sires of European and American cattle breeds and to implement highly efficient western breeding technologies.

Also the beef cattle breeding sector will use high yielding germ plasm (Breeding stock, embryos, semen) of classical high performing beef cattle breeds such as Anglers, Limousin, Piedmonte, Charolais, Simmental Beef from the USA, Fleckvieh from Germany and Austria and others). Gene pools of these breeds are available in the Ukraine.

Breeding efforts in pig production in the Ukraine are aimed at the improvement of existing breeds and the creation of new genotypes through cross breeding. Sow lines of Large White, the White Ukraine Steppe Pig, the Mielgoroda Steppe Pig and Large Black are mated with sire lines of the Ukraine and the Poltaver Meat Pigs (Combined breeds), with Landrace, Duroc, Welsh and special meat lines. During the last five years the Ukraine and the Poltaver Meat Breeds, interbreeds and combined types of Large White and Landrace Pigs as well as a new combined pig breed have been recognized.

The new genotypes show a high stress resistance, combined with superior meatiness and excellent meat quality.

Regional breeding programs were using a three " teer" breeding pyramid system integrating the breeding farms to which belong to the categories of nucleus-breeding stock and propagation market oriented fattening.

The improvement of the existing genotypes and the creation of new ones is based on the related utilization of breed effects important for dam and sire lines.

The performance recording system, which is compulsory for all pig farms integrated in this breeding program is based on the real performance at 200 kg, the reached daily gain, back fat at the level of the 6.‘h - 7.‘h rib and the reproductive performance of sow herds. These records are also used for progeny testing of male and female breeding stock.

Breeding improvement activities of other breeds require the continued utilization of germ plasm from Welsh and Large Black breeds (Great Britain), Duroc (Czech Republic), and Hampshire (USA). The implementation of such breeding programs should be based on experiences of other countries in which breed improvement programs have already been implemented to attain highest economic return and to fit in with existing market conditions.

Sheep production in Ukraine is based on fine-wooled breeds, coarse-wooled breeds and Karakul sheep.

All Ukraine sheep breeds possess an excellent constitution, a high fertility (140 - 204 %) and a good performance ability for meat, milk and wool production. The rich Ukraine genetic sheep breed sources compete well with the breeds in other countries. However little is known internationally about the performance abilities of the Ukraine sheep breeds.

Improvement strategies in the Ukraine are based on the identification of superior rams and their maximum propagation.

The sheep breeding centre "Genetical OVEC" follows a work program up to the year 2005 which aims at maintaining natural genetic resources, at establishing nucleus flocks of international top sheep breeds, at implementing a breeding program for sheep fitting the existing production systems in the Ukraine, and at performance recording and quality recording of all sheep products: wool, mats, milk, skins, cheese. Another activity of this sheep breeding centre is the education of the breeding experts required for the implementation of the Ukraine sheep breeding programs.

Breeding strategies of the breeding programs in Ukraine are being developed with the participation of international breeding activities and organizations, such as INTERBULL (established at the Swedish Agricultural University in 1992). International cooperation will assist in importing the best international genetic resources, in organizing and implementing efficient breeding programs. It offers also the possibility of participating in self help organization of livestock production sector such as farmers associations and producer groups now concerned with improving breed performance and production efficiency.

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