June 6, 2007


USDA: Russia's 2007 milk output seen to increase by 3 percent, dairy herds remain stable



The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has predicted Russia's milk production this year to increase by 3 percent to 32.0 million tonnes, up from 31.1 million tonnes in 2006. The number of dairy cows is also seen to slightly jump from 9.90 million heads to 9.91 million heads this year, the USDA report says in its "Russian Federation Dairy and Dairy Semi-annual Report".


For the first three months of 2007, Russian milk production has mounted 2 percent with private households accounting for 44.2 percent of the total production. Productivity per cow rose in 2006 to 3.60 kilograms from 3.32 from the year earlier. The calf crop rose 4 percent but losses also increased to 2.4 percent.


The increase in milk production was largely credited to the National Priority Project for Agriculture headed by Agriculture Minister Aleksey Gordeyev. Gordeyev confidently said Russian milk production will soar by 20 percent on household farms within two years. To achieve this, Russian authorities are now permitting imports of Canadian and Polish pedigreed cattle.


The Russian Ministry of Agriculture believes the country does not need to raise the size of its dairy cattle flock but focus on increasing milk productivity per cow. It is estimated that Russian dairy cattle are producing 50 percent of their genetic potential. Per cow productivity has increased to 3,603 kilograms in 2006 from 3,320 kilos in 2005 the ministry says local milk output should be at least 4,000 litres per cow for the sector to be competitive. Currently, calf crop is at 75 percent, one of the lowest in the world. The crop increased by 4 percent in 2006 and totalled 78 calves per 100 cows, but still posted a simultaneous loss of 2.4 percent which opposed much of the gain.


Despite a foreseen increase, the USDA says management improvement is needed as per-cow efficiency is low.  Russia's milk consumption last year still lagged behind the recommended level as milk supplies are lower than demand.


For more of the USDA report, please click here.