The Udmurt traditionally were agriculturalists; in 1897, 98.4 percent were peasant famers. The three-field rotation system and other systems, such as the more primitive slash-and-burn method, were then used. Under the Soviet system, farming was collectivized and mechanized with the main crops being rye, oats, wheat, barley, and buckwheat. Cattle raising and beekeeping were important secondary activities, and in suitable regions hunting, trapping, and fishing supplemented agricultural activities.
The region of the Udmurt is rich in iron, slate, copper, peat, sand, and other mineral resources. Industry, largely developed in the Soviet era, is concentrated on the production of steel and goods for local consumption.