April 2nd, 2012
I first saw an article about this yesterday, but by the time I’d gotten home after an unusually tough bout with Beijing traffic and had been relieved of sole-charge childcare duties I was too exhausted to do anything with it. But when it showed up in my inbox the second day in a row, I thought it might be worth a second look.
It starts with a bland statement about modernisation, concentration and scaling being three trends of the dairy industry, then gets to the point:
Not long ago, Mengniu’s Beidawa Modern Farm in Wuqiang County, Hengshui, Hebei imported 3400 New Zealand dairy cows, raising the quality of the milk.
According to the article, construction of this farming project began in April 2011, and it includes a milk processing plant that can handle 600 tons of high grade milk and 360 tons of ordinary milk each day and 3 high-standard farms with ten thousand cows each.
Wow. Ten thousand cows on each of three farms. That’s either some serious exaggeration or when they said “scaling” they meant “orbital”.
Unfortunately, that’s about all that grabs me in that article. But it’s not the first time I’ve come across news of New Zealand dairy cows being imported to China, and on both occasions, improving the quality of the milk produced has been the key motivation. I’ve also noticed that Fonterra’s China partners like to play up the clean, green, 100% pure New Zealand connection in their advertising. And this strong Chinese demand for clean, safe food is an opportunity New Zealand really should be grabbing with both hands and both feet and milking (yes, intended) for all its worth. Just try and keep the horrid, cow-shit-clogged state of our lowland waterways a secret…