Improving the Productive and Health Efficiency of the Chinese Dairy Industry

Principal Investigator: David Galligan, Professor of Animal Health Economics

Co-Principal Investigators: Jim Ferguson, Professor of Nutrition; Zhengxia Dou, Professor of Agricultural Systems

Lead School: School of Veterinary Medicine

Penn Partners: School of Veterinary Medicine (New Bolton Center, Department of Clinical Studies)

Chinese Partners: Inner Mongolia University; Zoetis

Other Partners: Wu Nutritional Consulting (Oxford, PA), Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence, Walmoore Dairy Farms (Chatum, PA)

Project Background

Over the next 35 years, food production must almost double to meet the growing needs of the world population which is estimated to exceed 9 billion by 2050 with 1.4 billion living in China by 2030. In addition to population growth, the emerging affluence and urbanization as well as changing dietary patterns will dramatically increase the demand for dairy products and greatly challenge current dairy production practices in China. The strategy in practice so far to meet the growing demand has been to increase cow numbers with only modest increases in milk yield per animal, resulting in production and environment inefficiencies. In contrast, western dairy development strategies have promoted improvements in yield per animal, allowing for a massive reduction in national cow numbers (from 25 million in 1950 to 9 million today in the US) while doubling total milk production. This strategy has dramatically reduced environmental nutrient pollution per unit of milk as evidenced by the lowering methane emission on a unit milk basis. China's current production per cow and thus methane release per unit of milk is comparable to 1950s US production levels.

This project focuses on developing an integrated training program for upper level dairy managers over a three year period with three specific focus areas: Year (1) Nutritional Production Efficiency, (2) Reproductive Efficiency, and (3) Animal Health and Milk Quality.