Federal Office for Agriculture and Food

sheep on a field Skudde Skudde, the smallest indigenous sheep Source: www.oekolandbau.de, BLE, Dominic Menzler

Red List updated: About 71 percent of indigenous farm animal breeds are endangered

The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food has published the Red List of endangered farm animal breeds for 2018. Presently, 55 out of the 77 indigenous farm breeds of the equine, bovine, porcine, and caprine species have been identified as being at risk. The most endangered poultry breed is the Dominikaner chicken.

Since the last survey in 2013, and thanks to efficient conservation efforts, stocks of the Pinzgauer cattle and of the sheep breed Merinolangwollschaf could be stabilised while stocks of the smallest indigenous sheep, the Skudde, have decreased.

Due to the good development of the stocks and despite falling milk prices in 2015, the Pinzgauer cattle has been classified in a lower Red List risk category. Likewise, stocks of the cattle breed Deutsches Schwarzbuntes Niederungsrind saw an increase, especially in Lower Saxony’s grassland regions. This breed yields less milk than high-performing dairy cows, but it produces more meat. In view of low or highly volatile milk prices, higher income for beef, coupled with payments for endangered breeds, can stabilise farm incomes.

Different trends concerning sheep and pig breeds

The development of the sheep breed Merinolangwollschaf which mainly prevail in Thuringia, can be considered a success story. The number of breeding rams of this breed has increased to 86 in 2015. Accordingly, the Merinolangwollschaf has been listed in a lower risk category. As, by contrast, stocks of the Skudde have seen a nationwide decrease, this sheep breed had to be categorised as being endangered.

The total number of breeding pigs listed in herdbooks is declining. But increasingly successful regional marketing efforts have induced slight increases in stocks of the pig breed Bunte Bentheimer and German Saddleback pig breeds.

Livestock breed diversity: vital for the future of agriculture

Every few years, the BLE regularly publishes its Red List of indigenous farm breeds to inform about recent developments concerning these breeds. The base for that are the numbers of breeding animals for each breed bred in Germany collected by the BLE. Based on these figures, the farm breeds are classified in one of four threat categories.

More information (in German): https://genres.de/index.php?id=151

Date of issue: 2018.03.22