Russia places hope on Smena-9 breeders


he path to the first Russian poultry crossbreed has not been without bumps along the way. The Sme- na-9 birds follow Smena-8 and Smena-7, both lines that were bred over the past few years and which

should have been on a par with imported breeding stock. However, neither of the lines has eventually made it to State registration, let alone commercial introduction. “Smena-9 is superior to the previous lines in almost all production parameters,” says Dmitry Efimov, director of the All-Russian Research and Technological Institute of Poultry Breeding of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The most recent cross- breed has already proven its effectiveness in field trials when compared to Ross 308. Poultry meat from Smena-9’s broilers promises to have better taste and health properties and the birds come at half the price compared to imported birds. “We bred our birds with improved product characteristics in mind. Egg production per breeder is 168 units. Live broiler weight on day 35 is 2,262 grams, which is 152g more than its prede- cessor, Smena-8,” Efimov told Veterinary and Life, the Russian State veterinary body Rosselhoznadzor’s official publication. “The broiler productivity index has leaped from 315 to 385 points. The average daily weight gain of the new crossbreed is 63.5 grams. Abdominal fat content was reduced from 1.4% to 1.2%. However, it is the taste that is likely to be Smena-9’s main competitive advantage”.

Harmonious growth According to Efimov it is the focus on harmonious bird devel- opment that makes all the difference in terms of taste. “From the outset of product development, we wanted not only to increase the birds’ ability to form pectoral muscles, but also their leg muscles and wings. We tried to make the bird larger and focus not only on the growth of the pectoral muscles.” Efimov adds: “It is important to understand that the taste de- pends on genetics. Our cross has its roots in genetic lines that guarantee delicious meat. For many years we have been con- ducting tastings and this fact has been noted by many who have tried our meat, even though the birds were on the same diet as the current birds.” That said, the scientists involved in the Smena programme have developed specific feed recom- mendations for their broilers, as different producers these days may have different goals. “Not all broiler production uses

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The Russian poultry industry has always been reliant on relatively expensive imports of breeding stock. Now that the new Russian broiler crossbreed Smena-9 is expected to be patented by the end of 2021, it hopes the end of foreign dependency is in sight. In ten years’ time Smena-9 could conquer the entire Russian market.

the same feed. We see feed that contains less protein, for in- stance, in organic production. In these conditions broilers will not gain weight as quickly, so a specific set of guidelines is needed,” Efimov says. As noted by Albert Davleyev, president of the Russian con- sulting agency Agrifood Strategies, the feed trials’ results look promising. “During the initial trial period it is important that the new crossbreed is tested at multiple production sites throughout the country to ensure the widest possible range of results. So far, the productivity index of the new breed is above 300 points and its key performance indicators are basi- cally comparable to the Ross 308 and Cobb 500”. According to Davleyev, the new crossbreed’s conversion ratio ranges be- tween 1.6 and 1.85, and the livability ratio is 92-98%, which are both good results. The cost of Smena-9 eggs should be lower than that of foreign ones since production is funded by

Based on the success of the field trials, Smena-9 is attracting a lot of attention from Russian producers.


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