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Scientists pro- duced 179,000 hatching eggs at the Smena breeding and genetic centre in 2020, and pro- duction can be ramped up.


the State, he reports. But: “Timing is critical,” Davleyev stress- es, explaining that tests and the nationwide introduction of a new breed will take several years. The risk is that its perfor- mance parameters may become outdated by the time it is launched on an industrial scale given that other genetic com- panies are also constantly improving their breeds.


Commercialisation Based on the success of the field trials, Smena-9 is attracting a lot of attention from Russian producers. According to Efi- mov, Russian scientists have placed the Smena-9 breed on several broiler farms in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Sverdlovsk Oblast and the Adygea Republic for production trials. The tests were done in commercial poultry houses and on standard feed ra- tions to compare Smena-9 with Ross 308 birds. All the Rus- sian poultry farms taking part in the field trials reported posi- tive production performances of the new crossbreed. “We have been contacted by several dozen companies already. They were all keen to have our birds but we are not yet ready to hatch and deliver in large volumes. You have to understand that we are scientists. Our objective is to develop a cross- breed. It’s like a book, we have written it, and the next task is to duplicate it. Someone else needs to turn on the printing press,” Efimov effuses. The researcher envisages a bright future for Smena-9. “In theory, all Russian poultry farms could switch to the new crossbreed in 7-10 years. But the more important task in the short term is to get production up to speed, raising it to 15% of Russian broiler production by 2025. We are very hopeful that the market will be in our favour, especially because Smena-9 is 25-50% cheaper than the imported crossbreeds”. And Efimov is even considering an international debut. “It speaks for itself that we will be using our crossbreed in the


26 ▶ POULTRY WORLD | No. 3, 2021


Russian territory but I also see prospects to export the breeding stock. Efimov believes Smena-9 could be successful in Kazakhstan, where poultry farmers are struggling to ramp up production. Alongside this, there are bright prospects for selling the new crossbreed to Belarus, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and other countries primarily in the post-Soviet region. “My dream is to become completely independent of imported breeding stock – in both chicken and turkey meat and egg production. I want our country to achieve a break- through in this direction so that we do not have to kowtow to foreign countries to get their [breeding] products,” says Efimov. When asked directly by Poultry World, the scientists declined to specify when and at what price the new crossbreed would emerge on the global market. National production of the Smena-9 bird is likely to expand soon. Scientists produced 179,000 hatching eggs at the Smena breeding and genetic centre in 2020. Dmitry Vosnesensky, agricultural minister of Moscow Oblast indicated that the regional authorities are considering the reconstruction of poultry houses in the vil- lage of Toporkovo for the new crossbreed production. That would involve a fivefold increase in hatching egg production at one site. A State subsidy will also be provided to build a new breeding farm in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Galina Bobyleva, general director of the Russian Union of Poultry Farmers Rosptitsesoyuz, said in April 2020. Russian poultry farmers are keen to work with the crossbreeds of Russian origin but the numbers available are still insufficient. As soon as they become available, Russia will begin to switch to Smena-9, says Bobyleva.


Predictably lower costs Russian analysts have underscored that the domestically-pro- duced crossbreed will lead to a more predictable cost struc- ture for Russian poultry farms. As the Russian poultry industry is almost completely dependent on imported genetic ma- terial at the moment and because all contracts are in euros, currency exchange rates make life difficult. In 2019, Aviagen controlled 45% of the genetic material market in Russia, with two breeds: Ross 308 and Ross 708. CobbVantress reportedly accounted for 35% of the market with Cobb 500 and Cobb 700, with a significant share held by Hubbard. “The produc- tion performance of the domestic crossbreed Smena-9 is comparable to that of the Cobb and the Ross breeds which currently dominate the Russian market. Switching to a do- mestic crossbreed could help Russian producers stabilise production costs which would therefore make them less de- pendent on exchange rates,” says Andrey Dalnov, director of the Russian leading bank Rosselhozbank’s analytical depart- ment. Dalnov believes that the Russian crossbreed would also help to improve the epizootic situation. He noted that the risks of spreading dangerous diseases, including bird flu, are relatively higher with imported foreign genetic material.


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