The Kalmyk, famous horse-breeders in their nomadic past, are now returning to their half-forgotten traditions of horse-breeding. There are twenty-eight stud-farms in the republic where they raise thoroughbred horses of Akhaltekinskaya, Donskaya, Budennovskaya breeds. Kalmyk thoroughbred racers take part in important competitions showing excellent results and are in great demand both in the home and foreign markets. Koumiss (fermented mare's milk) is used for medicinal purposes.
Sheep breeding is a traditional specialization of cattle-breeding in Kalmykia. They raise fine wool, semi-fine wool and astrakhan (caracul) sheep. Recently they have also started to breed Kalmyk fat tail sheep which fit in the ecological system of the Kalmyk steppe in the best possible way. In the Soviet period Kalmykia was one of the leading suppliers of wool and meat in the Russian Federation.
Spacious flat plains of Kalmyk steppes are good grazing grounds for horses, cows, sheep, camels, saigas. Beef from Kalmykia, known as 'marble meat' for its thin strips of fat, is valued for its excellent quality.
Kalmykia with most of its territory covered with a dry steppe, semidesert, but nevertheless, they raise good crops of wheat, barley, rice, corn, oil plants here.