Dairy in China 2.5

Continuing from earlier today:

I wanted to show pictures of an incredible Chinese buffet breakfast from our hotel. I could figure out what most of it was, but not everything. I only sampled a few items, but they were all great. Here are some pics:

Soups vegetables, eggs, and meats (American style)

Some interesting juices.
Fruits. Everyone needs polar bears at breakfast…
More goodies
Today’s breakfast vegetables

Remarkably, that is not all. But you get the idea. I suggested to my host, Kai, that we skip farms today and just eat breakfast all day. I should add that the vegetables here do not have the slightly oily taste that one might find with “Chinese food” in the US. One downside is that good coffee seems to be a bit hard to come by, though. I’ll live.

Last night we went to a hot pot restaurant. I am told that the original hot pot was created by a Mongoloian leader one day right before heading to battle. They didn’t have time to properly prepare a meal so he said, “…throw it all in the pot.” So it began.

From left to right: Dong Hong Wei, a very tired me, Huang Kai, and Liu Yong Bo. In China the family name is written before the given name, e.g., Bennett Jim. Kai and Hong Wei work for Merck Animal Health China. Liu Yong remains a mystery to me since he speaks no English, and I no Mandarin. He drives the car but I think he might have something to do with Merck too. In the center of the table is the hot pot. It is a large pot filled with simmering water and some vegetables for seasoning. Underneath is a large gas burner. Every table has a propane canister underneath. Looks like it could be a little dangerous. Also, smoking in restaurants seems to be OK here too; I am no longer unused to that. Notice the plate of mushrooms, the plate of cabbage, and one of side pork (unsmoked bacon), I think. There is also frozen tofu and spicy beef plus some kind of beef balls. Each of these is thrown in the pot and fished out when cooked. There are also tofu noodles and some kind of Spam-like beef that do not get cooked in the pot. Hot water is served as a beverage; the first time someone asked me if I wanted hot water I had no idea why I would want it. We also had a brand of Chinese beer called “Snow”. One thing that seemed incongruous was the giant screen behind us, and I mean giant, playing “America’s Got Talent” with no sound and Mandarin subtitles. I though the sound was kind of the whole point of the show…. We had great food, great fun and a great time.

I know now you probably want to hear more about Chinese dairies . At the moment we are heading to another farm. Hopefully it’s one will let me take pictures, though I am told it is common to prohibit them. From my time here it is clear that , A, there are lots of people to work, and B, labor is pretty cheap, so running a dairy with one FTE per 20 cows can make sense. I asked about robotics was told they were not common on Chinese dairies, which makes sense. I think the labor situation makes it easier to keep farms so neat and tidy. Yesterday we saw people sweeping, raking, and even tilling some areas around the buildings. Everything is very clean, including the cows.
The feed situation is quite interesting too: large square bales of alfalfa with paper wrapping proclaiming “the gold standard”, smaller bales, in a form I have not seen before of oat hay from New Zealand, some other kind of brownish hay that I did not recognize, wheat hay or straw, not sure which, in large bales, and bags and bags of concentrates. I was surprised to see soybean meal in bags on a 5,000 cow dairy. Corn silage is grown here, and one farms grow corn for grain. The only fields I see are winter wheat. Irrigation seems to be common.

Sorry, I think I just made a really large caption. Blogging is new to me; I’ll try to do better. More later…

Thanks for reading, following, or whatever else people do with blogs.

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