Domestic livestock resources of Turkey
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Water buffalo are an ancient component of Turkey’s domestic livestock resources. Commonly referred to as the Anatolian buffalo the animal is part of the Mediterranean group which includes Syrian, Egyptian and Southeast European animals. Once quite numerous, there have been drastic reductions in their numbers since the 1970s due to intensification of dairy activities, agricultural mechanization and changing consumer preferences. The main areas of distribution are in northwest Turkey in the Marmara and Black Sea Regions. Buffalo are kept in small herds by livestock and mixed crop–livestock farmers. Milk is the main product, meat is largely a by-product of the dairy function and provision of the once-important draught power is now a minor output. Buffalo milk is used to prepare a variety of speciality products but output of both milk and meat is very low in comparison to cattle. Conditions of welfare and health status are not optimal. Internal parasites are a constraint on productivity. Some buffalo are being used for conservation grazing in the Black Sea area to maintain optimal conditions for bird life in a nature reserve. Long neglected by government there are recent activities to establish conservation herds, set up in vitro banks and undertake molecular characterization. More effort is needed by government to promote buffalo production and to engage the general public in conservation of their national heritage.
KeywordsGenetic diversity Production systems Animal products Disease Conservation
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