Agricultural Institute, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, Agricultural Academy, 1373 Sofia, Bulgaria
(Manuscript received 5 December 2022; accepted for publication 15 May 2023)
Abstract. The purpose of the present study was to establish the economic performance of sheep farms of the Local Stara Zagora breed. Production and economic results of three private farms in southern Bulgaria were studied for 2022. Data were obtained from the farmers after filling in questionnaires. Sheep have been raised in stall-pasture system with grazing period lasting from March to November, and stall period from December to February, and one lambing per year. Revenues, costs, profit (BGN) and profitability (%) on the farms were calculated. Revenues from the sale of milk were estimated to account for 39% of gross production, and subsidies – 24% of total revenues, on average. Feed costs accounted for 56% of total costs on farms. Farm 1 and farm 3 yielded low profits estimated at BGN 8.90 and BGN 6.28 per ewe, respectively, while farm 2 operated at a loss of BGN -33.61 per ewe. Therefore, farms’ survival is at risk, and due to increasing prices of feed, energy, labour and fuels they may not stay viable in the future. In such small sheep populations maintaining instead of targeted selection is performed and particular results in improving the level of the main selection traits cannot be expected. Measures for improving nutritional management and feed efficiency are considered fundamental for the future sustainability of the breed and also adequate support must be provided to maintain the population size in the future and its conservation as valuable genetic resource in the country.