Sheep breeding has been a common farming activity at all times. Specially grown, breeding specimens often became a source of pride for owners. As in the rest of the world, it is profitable to engage in sheep breeding in Russia. After all, this type of small cattle can give wool, meat, milk. It is quite easy to take care of it - the construction of corrals does not require large investments, and pasture can be stored throughout the warm season.
The direction of development of sheep breeding is directly dependent on consumer requirements. With the beginning of the use of cotton fabric, sheep's wool ceased to be in its former demand. It's all to blame for the final cost of products made from these materials. However, for the same reason, the industry tends to stabilize, as prices for sheep's wool are rising.
In order for sheep breeding in Russia to remain at an acceptable level, it needs support at the state level. The prospect of a policy of domination of our own products is evident - the demand for products obtained from these animals will grow. Their use in the medical, cosmetology and modeling fields is also visible.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
In our time, the preferred direction is fine-wool breeds. The wool from them turns out to be soft, delicate, light and warm.
The number of sheep in Russia
Until 2019, the number of small ruminants in Russia has been gradually decreasing. From 22.6 million in 2016 to 20.6 million in 2019.
Fig. 1. The number of sheep in Russia in 2001-2018. and forecast for 2019
But, as you know, this category includes two types of animals - sheep and goats. There is no detailed data on the quantity of each species separately - Rosstat does not carry out such calculations. However, the estimated number of sheep is 91.5%.
It is interesting that for 2019-2025. there is a whole strategy to increase the number of small ruminants.
In this case, the sheep take the leading role. Since 2015, 400 Dutch Texel animals have been brought into the country. They were distributed among certified farms, to which a special requirement is put forward - an increase in the number of heads by 200 per year. These sheep are raised under the same conditions as domestic ones. At the moment, the growth is gaining momentum.
Each small ruminant farm belongs to one of two sectors:
- Commercial. It accounts for about 53% of the total number of animals. In this sector, sheep are raised for business purposes. Any agricultural or farm enterprise is commercial.
- Private. Such farmsteads, in which sheep are kept, are common throughout the country. Farmers raise animals for their own needs and are not registered as entrepreneurs.
In recent years, there has been a slightly larger increase in the number of sheep in the commercial sector. But this is due to the spread of interest in the products that these animals can provide, and the registration of new entrepreneurial farms by farmers.
The sheep breeding area is quite extensive. However, for each direction in which commercial animal husbandry is developed, there is its own region with certain climatic conditions. In mountainous regions, coarse wool and meat and dairy products prevail.
Areas with a mild climate, such as the Volga region, are mainly occupied by semi-fine wool rocks. Due to the presence of juicy pasture, the wool is of excellent quality. Subjects of the country located in Siberia give preference to meat products. There are large areas, which positively affects the maintenance of the sheep population.
Domestic sheep breeding constantly conducts breeding work, since it is necessary for breeding new, more profitable, from the point of view of the consumer, sheep breeds. In general, this industry is self-sufficient - therefore, there is no need to import any new breeds from abroad.
The breeding register of Russia is distinguished by the presence of the following sheep groups:
- coarse-haired (Edilbaevskaya, Tushinskaya, short-fat-tailed Tuva, Romanovskaya, Lezghin, Karachai, fat-tailed Kalmyk, Buryat, Andean and Agin breeds);
- smushkovo-dairy (karakul breed);
- semi-fine wool (Tsigay, North Caucasian, Gorno-Altai, Soviet meat and wool, Texel, Kuibyshev, southern and Tashlin meat breeds);
- fine-wooled (Stavropol, Soviet merino, Sala, Manych merino, Kulunda, Caucasian fine-wooled, Trans-Baikal fine-wooled, mountainous Dagestan, Grozny and Volgograd breeds).
How much small horned meat was produced in Russia
Mechanization of the processes of keeping small ruminants and the production of meat from them made it possible to increase the production of mutton. In 2019, a little over 7,300 tons of meat were produced. At the same time, an annual growth of this indicator is predicted by 2-3% per year.
However, the three leading regions in which sheep meat is produced have remained unchanged over the years (the figures indicate the percentage of the total state volume):
- Stavropol Territory (12%);
- Republic of Kalmykia (9.3%);
- Republic of Dagestan (7.3%).
Fig. 2. Production of sheep meat in Russia in 2019
Lamb import to Russia
In recent years, there has been a drop in imports of sheep meat to Russia from other countries. Since 2008, when 17.2 tons of mutton were imported into our country, a regular decrease in the import of this product has been recorded. According to Rosstat, in 2019 this figure was approximately 3.7 tons.
Livestock raising in general (as well as sheep breeding in particular) is gaining popularity among farmers in our country. Therefore, experts predict in the future Russia's self-sufficiency in the meat of these animals at the level of 98%. It should also be mentioned that an increase in the production of mutton makes it possible to export it to the external market, which leads to an improvement in the economic situation of the country.