REGINA — Kazakhstan hopes to become a major force in the world of beef with help from Canada.
“We say that Kazakhstans are the biggest beef eaters in the world, next to the wolves,” said Dauren Matakbayev, general manager of the Kazakhstan Hereford Association.
The association was created in 2011 after 25,000 head of Hereford, Angus and Simmentals were imported from Canada, the United States and Australia to improve the quality of native livestock. The purebred society was set up to emulate associations in Canada.
“The chairman of the Hereford society imported cattle from Canada and he copied all the systems,” Matakbayev said during Canadian Western Agribition, which was held Nov. 23-28 in Regina.
The Kazakhstan government also launched a new farm program, which allowed them to import cattle of any breed to improve local herds.
“Our government tells us there is no need to create a new bicycle, just bring the bicycle here,” he said.
Matakbayev was a part of a large group touring Canadian farms, feedlots and events such as Agribition to study the systems here and adapt them to eastern European conditions.
“We are trying to understand what is more suitable for ourselves, how can we increase our productivity, what is our future going to be like,” he said.
There are two million head of native Auliekol and Kazakhstan White-Faces, which are a Hereford cross with local cattle.
British cattle are favoured because the eastern European environment is similar to Western Canada, and they can adapt to almost any climate.
Kazakhstan grasslands are plentiful, and the average herd is 1,000 head.