Dairy in China #1

By Jim Bennett, DVM

I just arrived in Beijing, China to do so consulting on Chinese dairies, and to train Chinese veterinarians in mastitis control and dairy production medicine. Though I am dog tired from the long journey, I am excited to be here and I can’t wait to see what dairy in China is all about. Right now I am on a high speed train, 330 km/hr or 330 mph, not sure which, heading for a city whose name I cannot pronounce about an hour away. My gracious host, Kai, tells me that there are about ten million dairy cows in China. Most are in the northern provinces, since it is too hot in the south. Dairy is relatively new here; it followed the opening of the county in the 1970s and 80s. As a result, Chinese do not eat a lot of dairy, though younger people may drink milk and eat cheese, according to Kai. Pizza is popular.

There are no cattle vaccines in China. This is not because disease is absent, but because the government does not allow them. Apparently chicken and pork are a higher priority than cows and milk. All land in China is owned by the government, but most farms are private. Farmers pay for using the land.

Well, we are off, gliding across the countryside in comfort. I will report more details soon. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment or ask questions.

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