Meat production is one of the main sectors of the agricultural industry in Russia. But at the same time, it is also called one of the most problematic and complex sectors of Russian agriculture. For example: the profitability of grain production in our country in 2006 was over 25%, and the profitability of milk and beef production was no more than 20% and 15%, respectively. Moreover, according to the estimates of domestic and foreign experts, to ensure sustainable development of production, the minimum level of profitability should be 25%. However, after 2006-2007, the situation in Russian livestock farming began to improve slightly, which is associated with the implementation of the national project in the agricultural sector and with the implementation of the agricultural development program for 2008-2012, developed on its basis. One of the favorable results of the implementation of this program is the expansion of the number of livestock buildings (due to the construction of new ones, reconstruction and reconstruction of existing ones).
Gradually, the livestock industry begins to attract an increasing number of domestic and foreign investors. Although many of the problems in it are still relevant and need to be addressed. This should also be considered when starting a business in this industry. So, for example, experts note the insufficient development of the machine-technological park of livestock breeding, the low level of mechanization and automation, as well as the high level of depreciation of fixed assets, which in total leads to high costs. In fact, many farms have been operating since Soviet times. Over the course of these several decades, they practically did not update their funds; they still use old equipment and machinery with a high level of wear. In addition, all these industry structures operate separately from each other. The problem of the low level of integrated integration of primary producers of meat, grain, bank capital, feed industry enterprises, large industrial groups, retail chains, meat processing enterprises, etc. negatively affects the profit of each of these participants. Cattle meat production is not very profitable. An additional minus is that in our country there is an extremely small number of specialized cattle and insufficiently high level of development of the breeding base. The weaknesses include extremely weak state support (especially in comparison with countries with developed livestock) and an insufficient level of development of the meat market infrastructure.
In the segment of meat production, beef has the greatest weight, which is now obtained mainly through the sale of cattle of dairy and combined breeds. A small part is made up of specialized meat breeds. Unlike dairy and combined, meat breeds have well-developed muscles and belong to the wide-bodied type. These include the following breeds: Shorthorn, Hereford, Aberdeen Angus, Kalmyk, Kazakh white-headed, Charolais and several others. The live weight of a meat breed cow is an average of 550-600 kg, and that of a calf is 900 kg. Under good conditions of keeping and feeding, young meat breeds are characterized by intensive growth. At the age of one year, he has a live weight of about 350-400 kg. Each breed has its own slaughter yield (on average 50-55%).
The meat of cattle, which includes beef and veal, has excellent taste and nutritional qualities, so it is in great demand among consumers. Beef and veal are significantly different in composition from lamb and pork. Beef has an optimal ratio of protein to fat. It contains less cholesterol and more beneficial amino acids, fatty acids and minerals. Therefore, beef has a higher nutritional value compared to other types of meat. Its digestibility is about 95%.
The morphological and chemical composition of beef depends on the age, degree of fatness and breed of the animal. For example, the content of muscle tissue in the carcass of cattle can be from 42 to 68%, fat from 10 to 30%, bones from 13 to 20%, and connective tissue from 10 to 14%. The taste qualities of meat are due to a number of organoleptic indicators, which include smell, color, juiciness, tenderness. The tenderness of meat directly depends on the percentage of connective tissue, fat in muscle fibers and between them. Such an indicator as juiciness is determined by the content of intramuscular fat in meat and its moisture capacity. The color of meat is affected by the amount of myohemoglobin and its decomposition products in muscle tissue. For this reason, the meat has a pale pink color in young animals, the meat is light in dairy calves, and dark in adult animals. The ratio of protein and fat in high-quality meat is about 1: 1 - 1: 0.7 (that is, the protein content is 18-21%, and fat is 12-18%). By chemical composition, meat of adult cattle has the following indicators: protein (17-20%), water (59-66%), fat (11-3%) and ash (1%).
The volume of meat production and its quality directly depends on the breed and type of cattle that is used. As mentioned above, special meat breeds are characterized by a higher maturity, high feed payment and increased slaughter yield (up to 65% and even more). Although many dairy and dairy-meat breeds with appropriate care and intensive cultivation are slightly inferior to specialized breeds in terms of meat productivity. Another important factor affecting meat productivity is the age of the animals going for slaughter. For example, calf carcasses contain more connective and bone tissue, but muscle tissue in young animals is still underdeveloped. As livestock grows, this ratio gradually changes in the opposite direction, as muscle and adipose tissue develops. Intensive growth of muscle and bone tissue lasts up to 1-1.5 years, and after that the growth of adipose tissue is enhanced. Therefore, for the production of beef, young animals are intensively fattened up to 15-18 months and only then slaughtered. During this period, intensive growth of animals is observed, and the cost of feed for growth is relatively low. The meat productivity of cattle directly depends on the type and level of feeding. If the animal does not receive a sufficient amount of food, then this negatively affects the growth rate. In addition, the fattening period in this case is lengthened, and the feed consumption per 1 kilogram of growth increases significantly. For intensive rearing of young animals, the feed consumption is 7-9 kg of feed units per 1 kg of growth and 100-120 g of protein per feed unit.
However, it is worth considering that some livestock specialists consider the feed unit an obsolete unit of measurement and argue that it does not reflect the nutritional value of the feed. In the diet of bulls for fattening and rearing, about 70-75% should be plant feed, and the weight of specific concentrates should not exceed 25-30%, since otherwise the meat becomes fatter and the cost of feed increases sharply.
The quality of meat depends not only on the age and breed of the animal, but also on its gender. For example, it is known that non-castrated gobies, when abundantly fed, grow faster than other animals and at 15–18 months outnumber heifers by 15–20% and 10–12% more than neutered gobies. All this must be taken into account when compiling the livestock population.
Cattle meat productivity is one of the most important characteristics to be guided by. It is estimated by live weight, precocity and feed consumption per 1 kg of growth. In turn, the absolute and relative increase in live weight act as indicators of precocity. After slaughter, meat productivity is estimated by carcass weight, fatness, carcass morphological composition, slaughter yield, meat chemical composition and taste. Fatness is determined by physique, deposition of subcutaneous fat and muscle development of the animal by viewing and palpating on various parts of the animal’s body. Muscle development is assessed by density to the touch and visual inspection. Livestock farms sell livestock based on live weight or slaughter weight, age, gender and fatness in meat processing plants. Slaughter weight is the weight of a dead animal without a head, internal organs, skin and legs (front to the wrist and back to the hock). Meat productivity is determined by the slaughter yield - the percentage of slaughter carcass weight to live slaughter weight.
Beef production is divided into four main stages. The first, which is called "milk", lasts from birth until the animals reach the age of six months. During the first six months, animals receive milk feeds and gradually become accustomed to eating coarse, concentrated and succulent feeds. Calves are kept in groups in separate cells. The second period, which is called the "post-dairy", lasts from 4-6 months to 7-12 months. At this time, the animals are at the stage of intensive growth and are actively building muscle tissue. The third stage is called "growing" and lasts from 12 to 15 months. During this period, bone and muscle growth continues without fat deposition. Animals are preparing for "intensive fattening", which is the fourth stage of production and lasts from 15 to 18 months. It is at this stage that the accumulation of fat occurs, high weights are obtained, and the animals are brought to a high live weight. The most intense muscle tissue gains in livestock are observed from 4-6 to 15-18 months. At 16-18 months with a sufficient level of feeding, the live weight of young animals reaches 450-500 kg. The structure of the diet of animals for fattening in theory is as follows: 30% - roughage, 40-50% - succulent feed and 25-30% - concentrates. In practice, this ratio is often violated by reducing the amount of roughage and succulent feed and increasing the proportion of concentrates.
There are two options for the production of beef - with a full cycle or with partial. In the first case, the animals at the cattle-breeding enterprise go through all technological periods (dairy, rearing and fattening), and in the second case, gobies of 6-8 months of age with a live weight of about 160-200 kg are acquired, which are then reared and fattened. Production time in the latter case is significantly reduced. As you know, the period from birth to six months when growing young animals is not only the most difficult, but also the most expensive.
There are also two main ways of keeping livestock - tethered and untethered. In the latter case, animals are kept on a deep litter, in enclosed spaces, in boxes with solid or trellised floors (the most optimal variant of loose housing), in open areas with awnings, in machines or in cages. When keeping animals on a leash, they are placed in separate stalls with an automatic watering and feeding trough. This method is the most modernized: manure is harvested not by hand, but by means of scraper conveyors, and feed distribution takes place with the participation of mobile vehicles.
When considering cattle breeding as a business, it is impossible to name even the approximate amount of minimum costs. It depends on a huge number of different factors: the location of the economy, livestock, specialization, etc. But you can name and even evaluate the approximate importance of the main components of such production, which determine its effectiveness. This is the feed base (50%), the effective organization and management of technological processes of reproduction and fattening of animals (25%), the genetic potential of livestock (25%). The Russian livestock industry is lame in all three areas. The most expensive of the main cost items are considered feed. For example, the cost of feed in the production of milk is about 50-60%, and in beef cattle, they increase to 70% or more. In most farms, the total amount of coarse and succulent vegetable feed in the diet of animals is constantly decreasing, as a result of which prices for beef are rising. At the same time, the cost of pasture feeding of animals is 2-3 times lower than the cost of keeping and feeding at a stall. The best option for organizing a livestock enterprise is the development of farm production. The share of peasant (or farm, as they are called) farms is steadily growing in the structure of the livestock of cattle. True, their specific gravity is still quite small - it amounts to no more than 6%.
So, the main expenses of livestock farming include: the purchase of production facilities and equipment, the purchase of young animals, capital construction and / or reconstruction of premises, the purchase of machinery, the purchase of feed, and wages for working personnel. The difficulty is that investors are not yet ready to invest in this industry. Although in our country only three regions of the Russian Federation are able to provide themselves with beef at the level of current consumption. However, the volume of beef consumption per capita over the past year decreased by 5% compared to the previous year and amounted to about 14.5 kg. At the same time, Russian producers provided the population with beef in the amount of about 1.5 million tons. What is the reason for such an unfavorable situation? In addition to all the above-mentioned problems of the industry, investors are scared away, first of all, by the long and costly beef production cycle. By standards, the average growing period is 180 days (six months). The average duration of rearing is 210 days (seven months), calves fattening - 150 days (five months). A long production cycle, high risks, high costs, low profitability (especially compared to other livestock industries), laboriousness, and the presence of strong competition from Western producers - all these factors significantly reduce the attractiveness of the beef production business.
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