The Agricultural Institute- Stara Zagora owns certificates for Bulgarian Brown cattle breed since 1981, Bulgarian Black-and-White cattle breed from 1991, and Trakia Merino sheep breed from 1974.
The main activities of the Agricultural Institute are the protection of the gene pool of cattle, sheep and poultry breeds as well as introduction of specialized breeds for meat and milk production. During the difficult years of the transition to market-oriented economy, the Institute kept its flocks of different animal species. Regardless of the difficulties, the team keeps and rears cattle from the Bulgarian Black-and-White and Brown Bulgarian breeds. Ten years ago, the Ile de France sheep flock of the Institute was the only one in the country. In 2003 for the first time in our country were imported animals from the Mouton Charollais breed from France. These two flocks were and are at the heart of the emerging meat-type sheep breeding in Bulgaria. The Institute rears the only Trakia Merino sheep flock in the country, declared threatened by extinction. The Agricultural Institute holds almost 100% of the chicken gene pool in the country. Here is located the only breeding turkey farm in Bulgaria.
In 2002, the Agricultural Institute- Stara Zagora began the farming of broiler rabbits with the import of 600 New Zealand White and Californian does from Italy.
In recent years, a large part of research activities is focused on the adoption and application of modern methods for analysis of genetic diversity of cattle, sheep and poultry populations reared in Bulgaria.
A new direction in the research work of the Agricultural Institute is the production of quality and safe foods in the context of increasing shortages of natural resources and climate change challenges; studies on greenhouse gas emissions (CH4 and CO2) from different feed and feed additives used in ruminant nutrition in different production systems, and increasing the capacity of ecosystems for adaptation to climate changes.
Another priority area during the last few years is the use of non-traditional feed and feed supplements to produce products of animal origin with higher concentrations of omega fatty acids.
A significant part of the studies is devoted to the use of probiotic substances as substitutes for antibiotics in domestic livestock farming.
A relevant part of scientific subjects is the determination of the economic efficiency of animal food production, analysis of the factors that affect it, and the role of the sector in rural development and employment. Genetic, biological, technological and economic factors are studied to set sustainable breeding objectives in different productive animal farming areas.
In the area of plant breeding, efforts are focused on assessment of the risk of water deficiency and extreme ambient temperatures in growing meadow and fodder crops and on the introduction of new technological solutions and systems for their control as well as to study the possibilities for increasing energy efficiency in the production of concentrate from cereal crops by applying new bioproducts during their cultivation.
The research work of the Agricultural Institute- Stara Zagora has always been of an applied nature, closely related to the needs of the practice, which determines its important place and significance in the future.
The Agricultural Institute develops scientific projects to produce quality livestock products in line with EC requirements and to support farmers in the field of cattle, sheep, poultry farming and irrigation agriculture.
The performance of modern and up-to-date scientific research would not be possible without the modern laboratory base available to the Institute.
The Agricultural Institute has a base and a research center for training and education of farmers in the field of breeding, feeding and rearing technologies, dairy and fodder production.
At The Agricultural Institute, elite cattle, sheep, rabbits, hens and turkeys are grown to serve as original lines for creation and maintenance of hundreds of private farms across the country. The Institute is a sought-after partner in creating cattle and sheep farms as well as improving the genetic structure of existing cattle and sheep herds.