Posted by Feedstuffs

When one compares the rural areas in China with rural areas of the U.S., you don’t see a lot of similarities. But the Asian culture is quickly beginning to realize it needs to make its dairy farms more efficient if they are going to meet the demands of a growing population. During the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s (PDPW) annual meeting in Madison, Wis., James Su Hao of East Rock Limited explained how the Chinese are looking to the U.S. for ideas and expertise in helping their own dairy sector evolve.

Hao’s company specializes in bringing American engineering to the Chinese dairy industry. He says traditional dairy farms in his country have always consisted of several cows that grazed freely in grassy areas or on roadsides, but modern operations are now being constructed, where cattle are housed in free-stall barns and milked in parlors.

“Chinese dairy managers are slowly learning how to get more production out of their cows by using better feeding and animal care methods,” Hao said. “As a result, the Chinese government is paying people to build better facilities, which is vital to meeting the dairy nutrition needs of our people.”

Feed availability is one of the largest obstacles that most Chinese dairy farm managers are dealing with. Since most fields are only a couple of acres in size, farms need to find many small suppliers in order to get enough feed for their livestock.

Manure management is also a concern. Since the people don’t own their own land in China, spreading manure on the ground is not common. That means the risk of groundwater contamination is much higher.

Hao says most of the milk produced on Chinese dairy farms is used for fluid beverages. Although a lot of it is processed into yogurt and cheese for pizza.

PDPW executive director Shelly Mayer says Hao was invited to draw attention to the shared responsibility dairy producers have to provide pure, quality milk for consumers worldwide.

“Health and food safety concerns in China have reinforced for the U.S. dairy industry how important it is to maintain trust in our products,” Mayer said. “It’s something we as producers take very seriously, and building trust does not stop at any border.”

East Rock has become one of four top enterprises in Chinese dairy facility development. He was one of five keynote speakers at PDPW’s 20th annual conference, which drew nearly 1,400 producers and industry professionals from 26 states and four countries.