Productivity of Agricultural Animals

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Productivity of Agricultural Animals


the quantity and quality of production characterizing a single animal during a specific period (day, month, lactation period, year, lifetime). Productivity is determined by heredity and depends on features of a given animal, as well as of species, breed, and age. Genetically conditioned productivity can be attained only under favorable conditions of feeding and maintenance.

Milk yield is transmitted by heredity through the lines of both parents. It is higher in cows of milk and milk-meat breeds than in cows of meat-milk and meat breeds. After parturition, the daily milk yield of a cow gradually increases. The peak of milk production occurs in the second or third month of the lactation period; the yield then gradually decreases. With age, the milk yield of cows and mares increases, reaching a maximum after the birth of the fifth or sixth offspring. Sheep and goats attain maximum milk yields after the birth of the third or fourth offspring; milk production then begins to decrease.

The milk yield of cows per lactation period ranges from 600–2,000 kg (meat breeds) to 4,000–5,000 kg (dairy breeds). The highest yield recorded was 20,630 kg. The average lifetime milk productivity of cows is 20,000–30,000 kg; the record lifetime yield was more than 140,000 kg. Goats of dairy breeds yield 450–550 kg of milk per lactation period, sheep up to 500 kg (Ostfriesland breed), horses 1,000–3,000 kg, camels 750–2,000 kg, and buffalo 800–1,200 kg.

The meat productivity of animals is evaluated according to the rate of maturation (the age at which the animals attain optimum preslaughter condition), liveweight, and dressed weight. With good care and intensive fattening, bulls at 1½ years weigh 400–450 kg, pigs (fattened for meat) by the 180th to 210th day weigh 95–100 kg, lambs by six to eight months weigh 40–50 kg, broiler chickens by the 60th day weigh 1.5 kg, and turkeys by the 90th to 100th day weigh 3.5–4.0 kg. Cattle have a dressed yield of 55–65 percent, pigs 75–80 percent, and sheep and goats 45–55 percent.

The wool clip from ewes of fine-wooled breeds weighs 5–8 kg, with a pure wool yield of 25–55 percent. The largest clip recorded weighed 30.5 kg. The wool clip from coarse-wooled ewes is 1–4 kg, with a pure wool yield of 45–70 percent. The average weight of the down obtained from down breeds of goats is 0.3–0.5 kg. Fine-wooled and semifine-wooled breeds of sheep (and those crossed with coarse-wooled breeds) yield packer hide. Coarse-wooled and semicoarse-wooled breeds yield sheepskin suitable for apparel, and fur-bearing breeds raised for offspring yield lamb pelts.

The egg productivity of domesticated fowl is evaluated according to the quantity of eggs laid per year and their weight. Chickens of special laying breeds and lines yield 220–250 eggs per year; the highest recorded yield was 360 eggs. Ducks yield 120–180 eggs per year, turkeys 100–150, geese 50–80, guinea fowl 90–100, and quail 250–300. Chicken eggs weigh 50–60 g, turkey eggs 100–110 g, goose eggs 100–180 g, guinea fowl eggs about 45 g, and quail eggs 8–10 g.

A bee colony produces 100–150 kg of honey per season, of which 30–50 kg are marketable.


Spravochnik zootekhnika, 3rd ed., parts 1–2. Moscow, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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