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Little known, but promising for further breeding work, the Alatau breed of cows was bred on the border of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in 1950. The beginning of the breeding of the Alatau breed was laid back in 1904. Then it was not even purposeful breeding work, but timid attempts to improve the aboriginal Kyrgyz-Kazakh cattle by crossing them with Swiss bulls. Active selection work began in 1929, and the breed was approved in 1950. Today the total livestock of the Alatau breed is more than 800 thousand cows.
History of the breed
The local cattle, which lived in a mountainous area on the border of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, had high endurance, the ability to quickly gain weight on pasture and good adaptability to habitat conditions. But these were very small animals: the cows weighed less than 400 kg. The disadvantages were also low milk yield - 500 - 600 liters per lactation. The merit of this livestock population was the high percentage of fat in the milk. Also, the cattle were late ripening.
To improve the productive characteristics of the Kyrgyz-Kazakh cattle in the first half of the twentieth century, more than 4.5 thousand heads of Swiss cattle were brought to Kyrgyzstan, and 4.3 thousand heads of Swiss cattle were brought to Kazakhstan. The Swiss cattle have adapted well to the conditions of the highlands in the hot region, and the offspring obtained from local cows and Swiss bulls have improved their productive characteristics.
In order to further improve milk productivity, the Swiss-Kyrgyz hybrids were crossed with bulls of the Kostroma breed, which at that time were bred in the Karavaevo breeding plant located in the Kostroma region. Crossbreeding made it possible to accelerate the creation of the Alatau breed and to increase the milk yield, fat content and live weight of livestock. Ultimately, in 1950, the breed group was approved as an independent breed.
Description of the Alatau cattle
Cattle are dense in constitution, with strong bones. The head is large, rough, with a long facial part. The neck is short, of medium thickness, with a low exit. The withers are long and wide. The topline is not perfectly straight. The sacrum is slightly raised. The ribcage is deep and wide. The ribs are barrel-shaped. The chest is well developed. The croup is wide, short and straight. Legs are short, well set, well apart. The udder is round, with cylindrical nipples. In cows, the milk veins are well developed.
The color of most (about 60%) of the Aletau cattle is brown.
- drooping or roof-like croup;
- markings on the front legs.
Alatau cattle have very good meat characteristics. The weight of full-aged queens is from 500 to 600 kg, of bulls from 800 kg to 1 ton. Under the condition of castration, the daily weight gain of young oxen can reach 800 - 900 g. The average slaughter yield of meat from a carcass is 53 - 55%. Output from the carcass of an ox after fattening - 60%. The quality of the beef is high.
Dairy characteristics of this breed of cows vary greatly depending on the lines and breeding plants. The usual milk yield in farms is 4 tons of milk per lactation. In the Alatau breed, there are 9 main lines, in which the average milk yield is 4.5-5.5 tons of milk with a fat content of 3.8-3.9%. The live weight of the cows of these lines is about 600 kg.
The direction of selection of the Alatau cattle today
Work on the breed continues. The aim of further breeding is to increase the milk yield and the percentage of fat in milk. In addition to simply selecting the best individuals, breeders add the blood of other cattle breeds. A new line of Alatau breed with the blood of Jersey cows has already been created. The milk yield in this line is 5000 liters of milk with a fat content of 4.1%.
It was decided to abandon the use of American-born Swiss bulls in favor of red-and-white Holstein. Representatives of the Alatau breed are acquired in Mongolia, creating a new Mongol-Alatau cow of the meat and dairy type.
Advantages of the Alatau cattle
Among the advantages of the breed, first of all, it should be noted good milk yield and one of the highest indicators of milk fat content in the world. Cattle of this breed are also beneficial for beef production, as they can quickly gain weight on pasture. Disease resistance is another trait inherited from local Kyrgyz-Kazakh cattle.
Reviews of the owners of Alatau cows
Kalmurat Tuleberdiev, pos. Chychkan
Our region in Kyrgyzstan is one of the leading in the number of Alatau cows. This cattle is well adapted to the conditions of our mountains and foothills. In addition, it is able to eat plants growing on salt licks. In large farms, it is bred for milk, and private owners are more for meat. But no one refuses ayran either.
Nazar Kamalov, pos. 10 years of Kazakhstan
Plowed fields are almost everywhere around our village. There are few opportunities for private traders to graze livestock. Our Kazakh Alatau cow helps us out. She is able to graze where the sheep are. But the milk is different from the sheep. It's good for cheese. And you need to drink cow. And butter, too, must be made from cow. So thanks to the Soviet authorities for this cow.
Alatau cattle could be beneficial for keeping by private owners in the Crimea, Krasnodar or Stavropol Territories. But due to the remoteness of the breeding areas, the acquisition of this cattle can be beneficial only for large farms. If large industrialists are interested in Alatau cattle, then gradually these cows will spread to private farmsteads. In the meantime, the entire mass of livestock is concentrated in 3 regions of Kyrgyzstan: Tien Shan, Frunzenskaya and Issyk-Kul, and in 2 Kazakh regions: Alma-Ata and Taldy-Kurgan.