Farm, Livestock

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Farm, Livestock


in the USSR, a subdivision of an agricultural enterprise, engaged in the raising of agricultural animals and the production of animal products; an organizational form of nonprivate livestock raising.

A livestock farm may be part of a larger division within the farm, such as a section, integrated brigade, or production unit, or it may be an independent production unit itself. The farm has livestock housing, auxiliary buildings and structures, engineering and equipment structures, and roads and other lines of communication. The nature and layout of the structures depend on the size of the farm and the requirements of the particular breeds and groups of farm animals. For example, a large dairy farm will have cow sheds, a milking plant, an artificial insemination center, a calving section with a preventive medicine area for calves, a feed shop, haylage and silage trenches or silos, buildings and shelters for feed storage, administrative buildings and housing, and other auxiliary buildings and structures. Livestock farms have machinery and equipment to mechanize their production processes.

Agricultural animals are tended by farm workers with specialized occupations. Feed crop production is organized by specialized brigades and teams for feed crop production or by tractor-fieldwork brigades. Establishing highly productive, irrigated pastures near a livestock farm helps bolster feed resources.

History. The first livestock farms were established as part of the early sovkhozes. They were an important factor in the founding of similar farms on kolkhozes, which benefited from the experience already gained on sovkhozes and which bought breeding stock from them. The establishment of livestock farms on sovkhozes and kolkhozes was of great importance to the economy. The resolution of the June 1934 plenum of the ACP(B) On Improving and Developing Livestock Raising noted that commodity livestock farms had become the foundation for developing livestock raising, improving the quality of livestock, and increasing market output.

For a long time, the livestock farms established were relatively small, and they were planned with various production specializations. The farms grew in size as the material and technical basis for the kolkhozes and sovkhozes grew stronger and production specialization and concentration intensified. This process was accelerated by the decisions of the March 1965 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the resolutions of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU in 1971, and the decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR of Apr. 16, 1971, On the Development of Output of Animal Products on an Industrial Basis. Prompted by these decrees, sovkhozes and kolkhozes are expanding and rebuilding existing livestock farms and constructing large, industrial livestock units with a high level of mechanization, progressive animal management systems, and modern production technology. The decisions of the Twenty-fifth Congress of the CPSU in 1976 and the decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU of June 1976 On the Further Development of Specialization and Concentration in Agricultural Production on the Basis of Interfarm Cooperation and Agricultural-Industrial Integration envision further intensification of specialization and a transition of animal husbandry sectors to an industrial basis. Such actions will gradually raise the level of organization of production and labor on the livestock farms closer to the level of industrial enterprises.

Planning. The effficient location of livestock units on a farm ensures minimum expenditures for transporting feed, hauling products and organic fertilizers, and transporting service personnel. Therefore, when the building site for a livestock farm is chosen, consideration is given to the location of crop fields and pastures, water sources, roads, livestock trails, and population centers. In order to meet the requirements for protecting the environment from contamination, livestock farms are allocated sections of land suitable by virtue of their natural and veterinary-hygiene conditions.

The procedures followed for erecting structures depend on the projected production quantity and the particular farm technology. Blocks of buildings are typical of large industrial units; pavilion-type buildings are constructed on small livestock farms. The former are more efficient; the built-up area is reduced, the length of utility lines and roads is less, and capital investment per head of livestock is lower. Livestock structures are situated at lower elevations than the residential and other buildings. Livestock farms are fenced off and planted with greenery; hygiene and disinfection facilities are set up at the farm entrance.

Farm types. Livestock farms are subdivided into breeding and market farms. The former are designed to improve the herds of the market farms, which are concerned with the output of livestock products. Kolkhozes and sovkhozes establish livestock farms according to the parent enterprise’s specialization—for the production of milk, beef, pork, mutton, wool, eggs, or other products. As specialization of cattle raising intensifies, combination livestock farms with complete herd cycles are being supplanted by specialized dairy farms for milk cows and unweaned calves. Other specialized farms raise replacement stock for milk herds or raise and fatten calves beyond replacement needs. Swine farms with complete cycles of pork production are being supplanted by breeding units that specialize primarily in producing and raising young pigs to an age of four months and by farms for fattening pigs. There are also highly specialized livestock farms in other sectors of animal husbandry.

Size. The size of a livestock farm is determined by the volume of gross or market output and the number of animals. In practice, planners determine the optimum sizes of livestock farms in order to guarantee the highest possible profitability. Optimum sizes for dairy farms range from 200–400 to 600–1,200 cows, depending on the natural-economic zone. Herd-replacement swine farms should have 100–600 primary breeding sows. Farms for fattening swine have 10,000–16,000 hogs at one time. Swine-breeding farms should have 100–200 primary sows. The optimum size for market sheep farms ranges from 2,000 to 24,000 sheep.

Livestock management. The various methods used in the management of livestock depend on production technology, climate, and economic conditions, such as the availability of feeds. On large industrial dairy farms, cows may be kept on tether or untethered—in groups, on deep bedding, or in box stalls. Cows are grouped according to the period of lactation, amount of daily yield, and physiological condition; this makes it possible to use milking machines productively and to organize controlled feeding. Replacement heifers at specialized livestock farms are kept according to their development during different growth phases: in individual stalls for heifers up to three months old; in group stalls for stock between the ages of three and nine months; and, after nine months, as other animals are kept on dairy farms. The size of the group depends on the age of the heifers and the degree of mechanization of work processes. Young animals raised for meat are usually placed in individual stalls until the age of three months, then kept untethered in group stalls until 12 months. In the final fattening stage the animals are placed untethered in groups on slatted floors or in open feed lots with shaded areas. Swine management is organized according to age groups and with due regard for the physiological condition of the livestock. Nursing sows and their litters are put in individual stalls with separate feeders. Weaned animals, replacement animals, and fattening hogs are kept in groups in stalls; the size of the group is determined by the age of the animals, the method of feeding, and other factors.

Methods for keeping sheep, horses, and fur animals depend on the special characteristics of production technology, climate, and economic conditions. Poultry at poultry farms are kept in cages and on the floor.

Organization of labor. The principal form of labor organization on livestock farms is the permanent production brigade. Animal husbandry brigades may tend different groups of animals of the same breed or a single group of animals, or they may perform all jobs related to caring for the animals. On large swine farms, production and labor are organized by shops according to the arrangement of animal groups by shops. On sheep farms the animals are distributed by flocks, which are tended by brigades of shepherds. Within the brigade, labor is organized in two ways: on small farms, one worker takes care of a specific group of animals; on industrial farms, several animals are assigned to a group or team of workers. Employees on livestock farms are paid according to their qualifications, the amount of work done, and the amount and quality of output.

Mechanization on livestock farms encompasses the transportation, preparation, and distribution of feeds; the management of water supplies and the watering of livestock; milking; the primary processing and treatment of milk; sheep shearing; egg gathering; and the removal of manure from livestock buildings and transportation to disposal areas. Tethered cows are milked in stalls or at milking machines; untethered cows and cows kept untethered in box stalls are taken to milking plants and milked by stationary group machines, such as the Elochka, Tandem, and Karusel’ models. Cows are milked twice daily at mechanized farms, which ensures efficient use of milking machines and raises labor productivity. Stationary mechanized equipment or tractors may be used to distribute feed and remove manure. Large livestock farms with integrated mechanization of work processes have electrically powered, automated milk production lines that are interconnected and coordinated for productivity. The lines handle the milking of cows and milk processing, the preparation and distribution of feed, the removal of manure, and other operations.


Materialy XXV s”ezda KPSS. Moscow, 1976.
Problemy agrarnoi politiki KPSS na sovremennom etape, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1975.
Organizatsiia i planirovanie proizvodstva v sel’skokhoziaistvennykh predpriiatiiakh. Moscow, 1974.
Organizatsiia proizvodstva v sovkhozakh i kolkhozakh. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Some of the highest tariff rates could be imposed on farm, livestock, energy and automotive products.
After college, he built a career as a writer for a variety of farm, livestock and dairy technology magazines.
Sadly, the course won't be available any more, now that the number of land-based courses have been slashed and the farm, livestock and equipment sold off.