1. How much is available?
According to Rosstat, for the period from January to November 2016 agricultural enterprises of the Russian Federation produced 13.8 million tons of raw milk, which is 2.1% more than during the same period of the previous year. For 11 months of 2016 milk yield per 1 cow amounted to 5428 kg, which is 4.2% more compared to the same period last year. At the same time, the number of cows at agricultural enterprises of the Russian Federation as of December 1 decreased by 1%.
According to Ekaterina Zakharova, leading analyst of "The Russian Dairy Research Center", the increase of milk production will continue. "In 2017, this trend will continue, we will see a small increase in milk production at agricultural enterprises and the significant increase in production in the sector of private farms along with the growth of the number of cows," said Ekaterina Zakharova.
2. How much is needed?
Alexander Tkachev within the framework of the Government hour said that Russia can provide itself with milk. "For full self-sufficiency with milk we need to increase the production of milk by 5-7 million tons. This means that we will have to build about 800 dairy farms by 2020 ", - said Alexander Tkachev. In addition, the Head of the Ministry noted that to date, 4 million tons of milk is imported from Belarus, about $2 billion is spent on this.
According to Vladimir Mymrin, Doctor of biological Sciences and the honored worker of agriculture of the Russian Federation, the deficit of raw milk in Russia is 8 million tons.
However, Mikhail Mishchenko, the Director of "The Russian Dairy Research Center", in his comments to The DairyNews, speaks about the importance of parallel development of processing capacities. "An important task at the moment is the displacement of imports, and this is possible only through the replacement of imported cheese, butter, milk powder with domestic products. To achiieve this we need to build our own processing facilities and simply increase the volume of raw milk is impractical," – said the expert.
According to "The Russian Dairy Research Center", the volume of processed milk in Russia in 2015 made 16.9 million tons. Thus, in some regions there is an imbalance between the production of raw milk and processing capacities.
The most deficient region in the volume of raw milk for processing enterprises has become Moscow region, where the difference between local milk production and processing amounted to 455,7 thousand tons in 2015. At the same time on the territory of Moscow region there are 74 milk processing plants. As a result, the region is experiencing a significant shortage of milk, even though in 1987 the volume of milk production in the region amounted to 1974 thousand tons. In 2015, milk production in Moscow region amounted to 585,9 thousand tons. From the standpoint of availability of raw milk Altai region (-579,5 thousand tons), Krasnodar region (-954 thousand tons) and Leningrad region (-558,6 thousand tons) are also deficient.
The processors themselves point at the shortage of raw milk. "In Tula region there is little milk, we purchase raw milk in the neighboring regions", - said Viktor Ermakov, Deputy General Director of "Tula dairy plant" at the workshop "From farm to counter". According to Viktor Ermakov, milk to the plant comes from 28 suppliers.
According to the "Rating of industrial consumption of milk in the regions of Russia" prepared by the "The Russian Dairy Research Center", dairy industry in many regions is underdeveloped. Among these regions there is the Republic of Tatarstan, where the production of raw milk in 2015 amounted to 1171,9 thousand tons and the volume of processing is 795 thousand tons. As it is noted in the Ranking at the end of 2015 the number of dairy enterprises declined by 6% to 2174.
From the point of view of industrial consumption according to the "The Russian Dairy Research Center" the balanced regions are the Republic of Udmurtia, Voronezh region and Sverdlovsk region. In these regions there is balance between local production of milk and its processing.
If large milk processors complain of the deficit of milk, domestic cheese-makers face an acute problem of suitability of milk for cheese making. One of the cheese-makers of Moscow region in the comments to The Dairy News said that he is forced to purchase milk of the right quality in Kaluga region. Maria Koval, the founder of the "Dairies of Maria Koval" in an interview with The DairyNews said she plans to solve this problem by breeding cows of Yaroslavl breed.
Oleg Sirota, the owner of the cheese factory "Russian Parmesan" in an interview with The DairyNews also told about his plans to establish his own milk production. "While there is no barn, iw won’t be possible to make right Parmesan," - stressed Oleg Sirota.
4. Management and technology
4.1 Increase: production or number of animals?
Expert opinions regarding ways to achieve the growth in milk production were divided. Industry Association "Soyuzmoloko" in September published a "Program to improve the efficiency of breeding dairy cattle," which is based on the increase of production of milk by increasing performance of the cows. At the same time the target values of the Program indicate a decrease in the number of milking cows from 7.3 million heads in 2015 to 5.3 million heads by 2020.
Galina Safina, Deputy Director of the Department of animal husbandry and breeding of the Ministry of agriculture of Russia, answering a question of the correspondent of The DairyNews, noted that the document needs revision. "We need to be strong and patient, and make a little change in the parts regarding to crossing and to creation and development of the pedigree base of dairy cattle", - said Galina Safina.
According to Mikhail Mishchenko, this Program will lead to "the concentration of production, reduction of subjects receiving state support."
"When herd management is properly constructed the annual increase in the population should be approximately 5%. It is important to provide animals with forages and housing conditions, and to ensure the implementation of these. That is, the annual growth of milk production without the development of milk production may be very well created without any additional funding. And if we work on the milk yield, the growth may accelerate," said Mr. Mishchenko.
According to Vladimir Mymrin, the main obstacle in achieving parameters of food security in milk is also the lack of growth of cattle population. Victor Madison, candidate of biological Sciences, in contrast, believes that domestic livestock farming must increase the performance of cows.
4.2 Importing or rearing?
Most of the experts interviewed by The DairyNews talk about the feasibility of using imported genetics. "I think that to increase the number of animals without importing cattle will be difficult because we have a lot of problems with reproduction. We can renew the herd but it will be difficult to increase it. Again, it all depends on the scale, to increase it by 1% is one thing to increase it one and a half to two times is hardly possible," - said Elena Stafeeva, Executive Director of Non-commercial partnership "Union of cattle breeders of the Urals," in the comments to The DairyNews.
The opposite opinion was expressed by Vladimir Mymrin. "Internal resources are not enough, and buying cattle abroad, as the practice of previous years showed, carry a high risk for veterinary reasons. Up to 80 percent of purchased cattle leaves the herd within two years– this is not the path to follow," - said Vladimir Mymrin. The expert explains this situation by the decrease of the longevity of cows. "One of the main reasons for this situation, in our opinion, is the disproportionately high level of foreign genetic material in the form of massive import of deep-frozen semen of sires without proper scientific assessment of its quality to the customs territory of country," added Mr. Mymrin.
Mikhail Mishchenko believes that genetics should not become a goal. "We have large uncultivated area, and we can grow extensively for a while, just to increase the number, and then to develop the genetics" – stressed the Director of "The Russian Dairy Research Center".
Kharon Amerkhanov, Director of the Department of animal husbandry and breeding of the Ministry of agriculture of Russia said that the possibilities of the country allow selling 130 thousand heads of purebred pedigree cattle in the commodity sector. "Since 2006, 10 years have already passed, we have imported genetic material in the form of pregnant heifers, a little more than 25 thousand heads. Then the specific weight of pedigree herd was smaller. We were able to sell not more than 30 thousand heads of pedigree cattle. Today we can sell up to 130 thousand heads of purebred pedigree cattle from the pedigree in the commodity sector. This year we have sold about 90 thousand heads," said Kharon Amerkhanov.
Also Kharon Amerkhanov said that at the end of November a zero rate on import of pedigree cattle will start to operate. For those farmers who brought cattle in the transition period, the payment will be reimbursed.
Experts and market participants, interviewed by The DairyNews, agree on the necessity of state support for increasing the number of cattle, explaining that by the long payback periods of such projects.
4.3 Are local reeds needed?
"In my understanding, there are no pure Yaroslavl and Kostroma breeds today; they are all bred with Holstein breed. Maybe there are breeding farms where these breeds are preserved, but this is a small herd of pedigree animals, that is usually not adapted to the industrial production of milk," said Elena Stafeeva.
Sergey Savin, Director of development and sales of “Alta Genetics Russia” has the similar opinion. "With regard to local breeds, the economic benefits can be provided by the breeds which gained mass popularity in the world and are suitable for our climatic conditions. For these animals standard protocols of housing and equipment have been already developed, i.e. we are working rather than "reinventing the wheel", - said Mr. Savin.
According to Mikhail Mishchenko, local breeds can be successfully used in cheese-making. "Yaroslavl breed is well-suited for the development of cheese-making, because with minimal maintenance costs it allows obtaining the maximum indices on fat and protein," – said the Director of “The Russian Dairy Research Center”.
5. Is self-sufficiency real?
According to Elena Stafeeva, the main achievement of the industry over recent years is the change of the approach by the specialists. "Technologists actively use the experience gained in European countries, the USA, Canada. We have access to imported equipment and machinery, which are actively used. There is an understanding of how all these processes should be made in reality. A lot of modern livestock farms, which receive good results have been built," - said Elena Stafeeva.
As an example of successful cattle-breeding complex Sergey Savin marked Agrocomplex "Dmitrova Gora". "As far as I know, they are going to fill the new farm also at the expense of locally reared cattle. Farm is working with advanced genetics and achieved excellent results. In the end, they get the young stock, adapted to the conditions at their production site and by the genetic potential they are not worse than imported animals," - said Sergey Savin.
"In recent years, increasing of milk yield of cows is associated with technological factors such as feeding and improving of housing conditions for all age groups. The effect of genetic improvement of a livestock of cows, primarily due to a major renewal of herd sires on the national stations for artificial insemination is undeniable," - said Vladimir Mymrin.
Thus, the task of the Ministry of agriculture for self-sufficiency in milk is another ambitious initiative, the success of which will depend on the proper mechanism for its implementation. Specific measures have not yet been identified at the time of publication of the material. Recently, the Director of the Department of animal husbandry and breeding of the Ministry of agriculture of Russia Dzhambulat Khatuov said that the Agency is conducting a regional analysis of the state of the industry and efficiency of state support. It is expected that the Department will complete the study of this problem by March next year.
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