Agricultural Institute – Stara Zagora is located in Central Southern Bulgaria, 8 km southeast of Stara Zagora. It originates from the Livestock Depot near Stara Zagora, established in 1898. It is the successor of the first institute of animal husbandry, established by a decree of Tsar Boris III from 16.02.1942. We can say that this is the beginning of animal science in Bulgaria.
In its centuries-old history, the Institute and its associates have made significant scientific and social contributions in the field of breed formation and maintenance of the genetic structure in the field of cattle, sheep, and poultry. The result of the activity and efforts of the scientific team in the institute is the creation and improvement of the Bulgarian brown, black-and-white cattle, the Thracian thin-wool, and Synthetic dairy breeds of sheep, for which the Institute is the owner of certificates.
A research team from the Agricultural Institute developed and implemented in the 1990 system for assessment of the genetic value of cows and bulls from the national population on the productive and linear-descriptive traits, according to the methodological achievements in the countries with developed cattle breeding. Due to this, the breeding estimates obtained in our country are comparable to those of the countries with developed animal husbandry. Since 1996 Bulgaria is a member of INTERBULL and ICAR with a significant contribution of the research associates of the Institute. The Agricultural Institute has been established as a reserve for conservation and improvement of Bulgarian cattle, sheep, rabbits, and poultry, and the aim is to generate the new potential for effective genetic structuring of populations through the application of modern selection methods.
The Institute keeps flocks of cattle breeds – Bulgarian brown, Bulgarian black, and Simmental, as well as sheep breeds – Charolais, Thracian fine-woolen, and local. The main activity of the Institute is the preservation of the gene pool of cattle, sheep, and poultry breeds. During the difficult years of the transition period, only the country kept its flocks of cattle, sheep, and poultry. Despite the difficulties, the team maintained the only one until the 2003 beef herd in Bulgaria of the Ile de France breed. In 2003 for the first time animals of the breed Mouton Charolais from France were imported to Bulgaria.
In 2002, the Agricultural Institute started the industrial breeding of broiler rabbits with the import from Italy of 600 mothers of White New Zealand and California breeds. In the process of creation are output lines of hens from the three productive directions – egg-laying, broiler, and general use, as well as output lines for obtaining broiler turkeys.
The elite animals raised at the Agricultural Institute, cattle, sheep, poultry and rabbits, have served to create hundreds of private farms throughout the country. Only here can farmers get the help they need to design, build, and renovate the existing building stock. The Agricultural Institute develops research projects for the production of quality livestock products in accordance with EU requirements and to support agricultural producers in the field of cattle, sheep, poultry, and irrigated agriculture.