There is a new trend in the consumption of a Canadian-produced commodity. The demand for fodder by dairy cattle has risen steadily in response to an explosion in China’s dairy industry. As a result of the tainted-milk scandal of 2008, “15% of China’s dairy cows were lost as financially ruined farmers sold their cows for meat”. In an effort to rebuild the dairy industry and make it viable, Chinese producers have been importing dairy cows by the boatload and building high tech, American style factory farms. In fact, “since 2009 China has become the world’s most important buyer of dairy cows to the extent that some farmers in Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay exporting their prize heifers worry that China could go from consumer to rival in the global milk market”.
Because Chinese dairy cows have been only half as productive as their American cousins, the most effective way for China to improve their lagging milk production is to replace their herds. In an effort to promote the growth of their own dairy industry, China has implemented a complete overhaul of their farming practices. Backyard farms are being replaced with government approved “group facilities known as cow hotels that are more easily monitored by inspectors and large producers are benefiting from government subsidies and tax incentives.
Factory farming lends itself to China’s limited grazing land. Cows that remain indoors in a controlled environment with controlled feeding produce more milk than their grazed counterparts. The dramatic growth of China’s dairy industry has been a boon for Canadian producers of alfalfa-the feed of choice for top producing dairy cattle.
Barr-Ag has expanded our production of alfalfa hay to try and keep pace with the increased demand for this newly expanding Chinese market. We have been hosting Chinese producers for the past couple of years that are interested in viewing our production sites and compacting facilities. If you are interested in learning more about our non-GMO alfalfa hay, timothy hay or coming to Barr-Ag for a tour, please contact us.
Barr-Ag’s head office is located east of the Canadian Rocky Mountains at 5837 Imperial Drive, Olds, Alberta, Canada, T4H 1G6. Please visit our website or call or write if you would like to speak with us. We can be reached by telephone at: 403 507 8660 or by email at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
China Grows Its Dairy Farms With a Global Cattle Drive by Alex Frangos/The Wall Street Journal